The Real Thing

Lads,

Hope this finds you well.
I spent three wonderful days at the Juventus pre-season camp in a mountain town located in the western Alps, called Bardonecchia.  There were more than 7,500 fans each day and this year the club had even charged admission! At any rate, I was able to attend 6 training sessions and a full game – the first for the players after a week of training. Coach Antonio Conte – a former Juventus and Italian National Team player – made his team go over and over passing patterns and attacking schemes with static balls and no opposition in order to imprint certain movements into the muscle memory of his players – I was impressed … and surprised about coach’s meticulous and detailed application to “endless” repetitions. At the same time, I was relieved … repetitions is the key to learn anything and seeing professional players focusing so much and for so long on what may seems tedious and boring, reinforced and validated my ideas and coaching style.
Here are some pictures:

Juventus - Pre-season camp, friendly match vs Val di Susa

Left to right: Krasic, Lichtsteiner, Quagliarella, Pazienza, Sorensen, Chiellini, Buffon, Pirlo, Marchisio, Grygera, Matri

Claudio Marchisio just scored a goal.

Striker Fabio Quagliarella

Quagliarella had scored 8 goals in the first four months of the season last year, before he tore his ACL in January. After six months from surgery, he is fully recovered and ready to go.

 

 

After the Juventus camp, I traveled a few hours to visit the training camp of Napoli in another sections of the Alps mountains for the last two days. Coach Mazzarri is one of the most innovative and inventive coaches in the Italian Seria A.  Today, I definitely came away with some good ideas …. here are two picks:

Coach Mazzarri directs his players during a warm up jog

Coach Mazzarri emphasized quick ground passes, intensity, and rhythm when proposing attacking schemes. Everything was geared to constant movements off the ball and everyone’s involvement during possession, transition, and non-possession.

 

Coach Mazzarri and Marek Hamsik

Activities involved speed of play with the ball traveling rapidly between players, north-south possession with ground balls, number forwards in the attack, and maintaining supporting shape – triangle – in every area of the field.

 

I am on my way to watch AC Milan train and if possible, finish the week with AC Roma, where Luis Enrique from Spain just got the Head Coaching job after two years with the FC Barcelona “B” Team,  before I take off on a sailboat across the Mediterranean Sea.

30 days left ….

Coach G.

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