Pep Guardiola: An innovative coach
For the last three years the man born in Santpedor, Catalonia has shown that he is no ordinary coach. Not just because of his spectacular success, but also because of the fresh innovations he has brought to task of overseeing the first team.
Pep Guardiola’s wide ranging experience as a player has allowed him to apply a series of
innovations that set him apart from other coaches. Since becoming first team coach at FC Barcelona,
the man from Santpedor has made several changes to the way things have been done in the past, and
he has done it with great success. With his years at Barša and also in Italy, Mexico and Qatar,
Guardiola has created his own style with new ideas that have proved to be ahead of their time.
The first step: the Ciutat Esportiva
At Barša he took the decision to move all footballing activity to the Ciutat
Esportiva Joan Gamper. That was where the first team would make their home with their own dressing
rooms, own gymnasium and their own medical centre, where they could work away from prying eyes with
a skilled, professional back up staff.
Videos of them and us
In the offices is where the team is constructed, using audiovisual techniques that differ
from those of other coaches, not just to analyse their upcoming opponents but also to review
Barša’s own matches or even their own training sessions. In fact Guardiola has applied
techniques perfected from his time in charge of Barša B in the Third Division.
Less time in hotels
One of the most surprising changes is one that other top teams have gradually made
in recent time; for away games in the league and the Cup the team now travels on the same day. The
Barša coach, who in his time as a player spent plenty of long days in hotels, has opted to help
player be more relaxed and to focus more on the on the field business of being a footballer.
With regards to games at Camp Nou, the typical ‘concentrations’ of yesteryear
have been consigned to history. The players now train on the morning of the game and instead of
retreating to a nearby hotel they are now free to go home to return to the stadium ninety minutes
before kick off.
As well as using video to study the team’s performances, Pep Guardiola and his coaching
staff have used it as a motivational tool. For example, just minutes before the Champions’
League final in Rome against Manchester United a montage of images of the squad was mixed with
images taken from the film ‘Gladiator’ was shown in the Barša dressing room prior to
the club winning their third European Cup.
A year later, in the minutes preceding the game in which the team claimed their second league
under Guardiola, the players watched a video of the attempted rescue of the mountaineer I˝aki Ochoa
on the Himalayan mountain of Annapurna, before going out and claiming the league title against
Valladolid on the final weekend of the season 2009/10.
Nothing escapes Pep Guardiola: he has the players have breakfast and lunch together as often
as possible in the first team’s dining area at the Ciutat Esportiva. The club, at
Guardiola’s request, have put together a team of chefs who work each day to attend to the
nutritional needs of the players.