I accepted an offer to coach at a recent youth training camp in Croatia organised by Futsal Week. I like to get involved in coaching when I can and I am always looking to extend my knowledge and experience. The opportunity to work in a beautiful location with great people was one I wasn’t going to turn down.

The camp was open to participants between the ages of 16 and 20 from around the world and attracted people from Italy, Spain, USA and Croatia. The players had daily training sessions, matches and a tournament alongside other organised activities. Apart from myself there were Mico Martic (Head Coach of Finland & Croatian Champions Alumnus as well as FIFA Instructor), Matija Capar (Player for Alumnus & Croatia, you may remember him for his late goals against Spain & Czech Republic in UEFA Futsal EURO 2014) and Marko Simurina (Former Croatian International) as coaches. We also had a special visit from Ukraine Captain Maxym Pavlenko.
The Group 2014

The Group 2014

During the week we worked on basic individual techniques in defence & attack, pivot play, team defence, movements off the ball and transitions. These topics were all tailored to the players’ needs and ability. The standard of coaching was excellent and it was great to see the improvements in the players in the short time we were together. In the friendly matches and tournament they demonstrated some excellent futsal, despite only knowing each other for a few days.
We did not only want to improve their futsal and these camps are important and invaluable for the players’ personal development. There were great friendships formed with their diverse backgrounds not being a barrier. I really enjoyed the company of the players and everyone got on really well together. One of the highlights was a fun 3v3 tournament with participation from the coaches. Despite (or because of) me pulling out all the skills in my locker, my team somehow managed to finish in last place!
3v3 Tournament

3v3 Tournament

The camp was held in Zadar, which is a city located on the picturesque Croatian coast by the Adriatic Sea. The accommodation was located next to a marina and just 1 min walk from the beach so that was where I spent most of my free time. As a group we had a trip to the historic city centre where we went swimming in the crystal clear waters next to the Sea Organ, which creates musical sounds from the waves. It is a great city that I recommend everyone to visit.

In Zadar's Historic City Centre

In Zadar’s Historic City Centre

We have already discussed about next year’s edition and I would strongly recommend it to any youth players. It is incredible value and provides an unforgettable and enriching experience. I am sure everyone who attends will learn something that makes them a better player and, knowing from my own experience, spending time in another country with different people is very rewarding. I don’t know of anywhere else providing an experience like this in the world. It would be great to see even more players there in 2015.

Next up for FUTSAL WEEK is a youth and senior tournament they are hosting in August at the spectacular Visnjik Sports Venue in the same city of Zadar. With teams from around the world coming it is sure to be another exceptional futsal event and is still open to entries. I won’t be able to attend as I have commitments with my club where I will begin next season’s preparations this week but look forward to hearing all about it.

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