How our coaches adapt physical conditioning to 8-a-side football
How our coaches adapt physical conditioning to 8-a-side football

Six Yellows Academy coaches make up the workgroup on movement skills, which meets weekly

Villarreal’s work in youth football stands out in all areas, such as nutrition or technical and tactical aspects, but now also in the field of physical preparation thanks to the workgroup on movement skills formed by six coaches from the Yellows Academy just over two years ago.

Fitness coaches Cristian Sánchez (Cadete Roda), Rafa Melchor (Alevín A/Benjamín A), Álex Marqués (Alevín A Roda/Benjamín A Roda), Jaume Rigo (Alevín B/Benjamín B) and Iván Gil (Alevín B Roda) and goalkeeping coach Carlos Saura (Alevín A/Benjamín A) are the members of this group that meets one day a week to continue implementing the model of physical preparation at an early age, such as 8-a-side football.

Sedentary lifestyles and the pandemic, the raisons d’être

It is no secret that children’s sedentary lifestyles are the order of the day. Children are playing less and less football and other sports in the street, and video games and television are taking precedence over other leisure options. For this reason, the aim is to “bring the park or the street back to the pitch, which is what children have been losing, through fun activities for them,” as Cristian Sánchez explains.

Moreover, the pandemic exacerbated this worrying trend in children’s development and that is when they realised that a change was needed. “The work group was born during the pandemic because the work we were sending the boys was almost all conditional and we saw that there were certain deficiencies, not only in the movements on the pitch, but also during the pandemic because they didn’t do those exercises well,” adds the coach from Benicàssim.

This lack of conditional skills was not at odds with the quality of the Submarine’s promising young players. “Even in the first line teams, at a coordination and motor level, they were not trained nor did they have a movement according to their development in the sport. On a technical-tactical level, the boys had a lot of resources, but not on a conditional level because there was no physical preparation figure in the club”, underlines Rafa Melchor, who also points out that the most important thing is that: “They listen a lot to how they have to accelerate, decelerate, turn, change direction, jump or land”.

From a dream to reality

After overcoming the months of confinement, this group of coaches wanted to continue implementing this model, which was already beginning to show results, and the club accepted their proposal. “The coordinators asked us how we could develop this because it was an interesting way for the boys to continue improving from a motor point of view and we developed it among the fitness coaches,” says Álex Marqués.

And the fact is that once this kind of physical preparation has been established in the 8-a-side football teams, the boys’ autonomy will be key in the medium term. “It’s about educating the kids on how they have to move and that they move a lot through games, especially in the early stages, and from U9s onwards, we teach them how to do certain exercises to improve their technique and when they move on to 11-a-side football they already have this advanced work and can enter the gym,” says Jaume Rigo.

On the other hand, Iván Gil, who also practices with none other than the Mini Submarine in LaLiga SmartBank, explains that “We also detected that there was a very early specificity because they only play football and we wanted them to introduce certain movements that would enrich their motor development without leaving that specific football work.”

Thus, both sedentary lifestyles and early obesity are being combated by the Yellows Academy thanks to this group of coaches who decided to invest part of their time in improving the performance of the young footballers.