Foreword I – Paulo Autuori

To preface a book by acknowledged experts and researchers in soccer such as Israel Teoldo, Júlio Garganta and José Guilherme is not an easy task.

As Júlio Garganta often says, soccer is played with ideas; well-played soccer is played with good ideas; poor-played soccer, with bad or sometimes no ideas at all. This insight by itself provides us with a taste of the rich content developed by the authors throughout this book.

The passion that distinguishes almost everything that is involved with soccer is something fantastic. However, when the central topic is the game, the subject deserves to be considered with the perception of how complex playing is. That is precisely what the authors do. To the extent that the book offers an immersion into the complexity of the tactical dimension, the more attractive the subject becomes. That reminds me of Constantin Brancusi, when stating that “simplicity is complexity resolved”.

Therefore, the great deal is to produce ideas that enable the development of an atmosphere that facilitates the generation of solutions for playing simple, but also with quality and effectiveness. Also, everything is developed within logic. The internal logic of the game, logic of comprehension. Logic that does not intend to be different, and therefore it is. And it is different because, even in an extremely competitive environment, there is still plenty of space and importance to reflect upon and preserve throughout the entire process, the social, anthropological and philosofical aspects, which are so important when it comes to dealing with people.

It is also different because, when coming up with “the game/training back to the players”, implicitly, does not neglect the importance of soccer games practiced in public areas, such as streets, vacant lots, beaches, etc. In this aspect, one of the core ideas refers to the typical freedom of this recreational practices, in which participants are allowed to play the role of the “real owners of the game”, not only by emulating their idols, in an attempt to reproduce their body and gestural expressions, but also to do so in a scenario of endless creativity.

Within this environment, children and teenagers used to learn how to play the game through playing, as they picked up its spirit and played every possible role, thus developing their motor and coordinative skills, as well as their cognitive, perceptual, attentional and decision-making aspects. All this is translated into a “game-specific knowledge”, and is expressed in a natural, spontaneous, ludic and creative manner, becoming captivating and resulting in the vaunted passion for the “ball game”.

This is how, in an up-to-date context, with great sensibility and within the big picture in which the game is incorporated, the authors manage to convey in this work a deep knowledge regarding the development of the skills necessary to its practice.

Based upon systemic thinking, they show that a team is something different from its players, who cease to be isolated parts to become a unit along with the others and thus acquire a new expression.

By potentializing training and the different forms of assessment, Israel Teoldo, Júlio Garganta and José Guilherme propose a new way to effectively prepare players and specially the team, raison d’être of the game itself.

Through the interactions, permeated by intentions (behaviours), players and teams are capable of materializing the ideas originally proposed. Thus, they become capable through the broad repertoire, which is systematically acquired and applied in training sessions. Besides, they are encouraged to reflect upon what to do in the different moments or phases of play, thus being allowed, within certain contexts, to make more appropriate decisions to the different demands and as effectively as possible. Therefore, we understand that “training makes the game, which justifies or validates training”. (J. Garganta).

These are some of the ingredients that the beloved reader will find in this seminal work about the pedagogy of soccer, written by 3 of the greatest exponents in this area, and that will certainly make you reflect critically about several aspects of teaching soccer, by confronting traditional and present methods.

Enjoy your reading!

Paulo Autuori

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