Revolutionizing Youth Basketball Development at Barcelona’s Sports City: The New Model for Success

Revolutionizing Youth Basketball Development at Barcelona’s Sports City: The New Model for Success

It is any afternoon in Barcelona’s sports city and a good bunch of children appear in the pavilion, most of them tall, some in a hurry, but all of them are very polite because when entering the facilities they approach the workers to shake their hands. , a greeting before going through the locker room and the hardwood, before playing basketball with his team. Well, more than his team, his group. Because the management of the Barça quarry, directed by Álex Terés and Alfons Alzamora, technical secretary and coordinator of Barça youth basketball, decided to change the model two years ago in the tireless search for Gasoles and Navarros.

Methodological turn. Given the seductive capacity of having the best in the region and beyond, until two years ago the youth players put on the shirt, trained with their team and easily beat almost any rival. “This perverted one of the values ​​of sport; “You won without giving your maximum effort,” resolves Terés, always linked to basketball and Barça, even though a few years ago, in the middle of the pandemic, he was in the NBA, in the Sixers, to analyze how to carry out the planning of the games. players from the time they are drafted until they make the first team. So upon his arrival at La Masia it was decided to change the model with the idea of ​​enrolling the boys in higher categories.

A child does not belong to a team or category but is in one of the three groups: Barça Atlètic, Cadet or from Infant to Mini. All of them have their coaches and coordinators, supervised by Terés and Alzamora. “It is what adapts to the reality of the club, the method is particularized. We mix players and avoid the traditional team concept because this way the kids train with other high-quality players, which helps their development because it makes effort a habit; and they compete in higher categories, a resistance that stimulates,” says Terés. Josep Cubells, head of the area and vice president of Barça, adds: “This increases competitiveness. The little ones always have bigger and better companions. In addition, this way they have more minutes on the court and avoid easy games that do not pose a challenge.”

Prioritize the player. Not playing as a team has a negative impact. “Of course we lose something by not using the traditional format,” Terés accepts; “But we accept the consequences, such as not having so many automatic mechanisms, which would make us play better or perhaps win more. But that is not the important thing because we want to train players and not teams.” They are kids who double the game almost every weekend, since a child A, for example, can participate in his category or in the two cadet categories. “We notify families two weeks in advance because it is a complicated puzzle,” says Terés. “With this format, you can give predominant roles depending on who they compete and play with, and that way you see how they respond and no one can hide,” Cubells adds.

Training together in groups, on the other hand, does help define a style. “They train the same, under the same philosophy, to find a way of playing in which offensive, defensive and transition tactical elements progressively appear with a rich diversity that allows learning. Strengthen the basics,” says Terés; “But not all teams play the same because each one must adapt to the characteristics of its players and not the other way around because we seek to improve the player and not the team.” A sudoku that also affects coaches, who also rotate categories or players in games. “Technicians must know that this is different from the rest; “There are kids here who are very talented or who have left their family for basketball, and this is different from dealing with kids from a neighborhood team,” Terés resolves.

Wide radar. Before each season, Terés and Alzamora meet with each child and set the objectives. “But it is impossible to know where they will arrive in advance, since some mature and others do not…” explains Terés. That is why quarterly meetings are held (November, February, April and July) to see their development, in addition to planning personalized training sessions. Some will continue standing at the club, others will have to leave. But there will always be talent and players because Barça’s radar is planetary. “There is no geographical limit on the part of the club. But there are areas that we neither reach nor receive reports. Other times, the agents alert us and we ask for videos. But we are not satisfied with highlights and since the club makes the scouting service available to us – an international scout and several local scouts – we cover it in person.”

Now in La Masia there are 18 boys with various nationalities. “one from South Sudan, one Spaniard, three from Mali, one from Burkina Faso, one from Senegal, one from Switzerland, one from Italy, one from Turkey, two Lithuanians, one Serbian…”, lists Terés, who clarifies: “ Those in Africa are reached through campuses that they organize. Let’s go and see if his potential fits us.” Quite a journey for such young boys. “Suddenly, your life changes a lot and that is why we have a full-time psychology service. But it is the same for an African as for a Serbian or a Lithuanian, it is a roller coaster.” Cubells, confident in the youth team’s commitment, points out: “We are making an investment for talent identification, also for club identity and economic sustainability. “The commitment to local kids is very important for the project.”

Education. All the kids from La Masia go to León XIII school. “Notes are one of my obsessions,” Terés slips. “The boys are not basketball players yet and we are very on top of their studies, we hold meetings with the tutors and I know each one’s grades.” And those who do not work as hard off the court as they do on it are punished without being able to play for some time. “Their real training is in the classrooms, and this basketball thing is an uncertainty even if you are a god at 13 years old. That’s why they are punished,” Terés emphasizes; “but not by failing or passing, but by the attitude, the effort…”. Likewise, they can also be penalized for lateness. “It is a way to generate corrections in their behavior. Sometimes they are punitive measures and other times explanatory to ensure that they have habits, that they understand that Barça is one way. And sometimes it is difficult if the countries where they come from punctuality is not something important.”

Gasols and Navarros. “Our job is to train the kids from below and when Roger [Grimau] Look down, don’t see a cliff,” explains Terés, proud because the junior has qualified for the Next-Gen Final Four two years in a row, where players like Dame Sarr and Kasparas Jakucionis stand out, who have already had some minutes in the first equipment. Cubells takes the floor: “We want Navarros and Gasoles to come out…, the way is for the base players not only to be anecdotal but also reinforcements. That is the aspiration with the change and I am very much in favor of not waiting too long to see if they are valid.” Although Terés adds: “Jumping to the Euroleague at 18 is very difficult, but it is possible. We feel super demanded and challenged to achieve it.” That is why they reached an agreement with Força Lleida -LEB Oro with ACB aspirations-, so that they can finish forming before the final leap. “There is no money that a player trained in the house can pay, as long as he has the competitive level,” closes Terés.

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2024-04-22 05:30:38
#Barcelona #search #Gasoles #Navarros #Basketball #Sports

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