Breaking a routine can prove to be a tricky feat, especially during the current times of confinement. Those who are able to do so can be rewarded with discovering opportunities to broaden horizons and inspire minds. Ibiza has chosen to do exactly that to complement the team’s physical training sessions performed in isolation since the beginning of the quarantine. Implementing a novel initiative, the club has moved to provide its first-team squad with an educational master course which sees the Sky Blues’ different departments come together to teach and provide insights to the squad in relation to all aspects of the football industry and, in particular, the management of a professional football club. The one-month long course intends to shed light on the variety of disciplines that converge in a football club and provides an ideal way for the footballers to balance their training schedule with intellectually stimulating industry material and debates. During each week of the course, three to four classes are held via a videoconference call bringing together the first-team squad as well as the coaching, technical and the club’s administrative staff members. The course began on 13 April and will continue, for the time-being, until 18 May. In total, the curriculum consists of 22 topics which are presented in a one-hour format. Attendance is voluntary which means that the club’s players are able to create a tailored program according to their areas of interest.
“Ibiza is not only a football club, it is also a company that is part of the complex and passionate football industry”, explains Amadeo Salvo. The Sky Blues’ president calls the initiative “a big challenge” as it involves the club’s very own professionals taking on the role of ‘professors’ for the duration of the course. “This course has been designed to allow the players to satisfy their needs and find answers to some of their curiosities while learning about the daily activities of a professional football club. They are given a 360-degree vision of all dimensions in order to understand the present and future”, says Salvo, summarizing the educational initiative.
The team’s coaching staff of head coach Pablo Alfaro and assistant coach Antonio Méndez lead the coursework relating to technical management and tactical methodology. Sporting director Fernando Soriano guides the squad through his area of expertise which includes the importance of scouting. Juan Albors, the club’s doctor, will hold a class about how to deal with injuries and describe the relationship between the coaching and the medical staff in a football team. Goalkeeping coaches Juanjo Valencia and Roberto García analyse the evolution of goalkeepers over the previous decades. Physiotherapy and physical preparation are topics covered by the club’s heads of physiotherapy and physical preparation, Fernando Biosca and Álex Prieto, respectively.
Massimo Adalberto Benassi and Jan Wappler, in charge of coordinating the coursework, share with the players their knowledge on marketing, business models used in football, the organization of events, sports law, the use and management of social media as well as the evolution of stadia and their commercialization. In addition, the growing topic of eSports and a basic course on English in football will also be provided. The course will be rounded off by talks on team travel management by Roberto Nouche and sports communication led by Pablo Sierra.
“We’re getting to know in detail about all the aspects relating to the management and development of a professional football team within the sports entertainment industry. One important element we’ve come across so far is marketing. We’re very much aware of the growing impact and importance of marketing. We’ve seen how big clubs are cleverly investing in this area. We’ve been looking at the importance of commercializing and expanding your brand in the best way possible to allow your club to grow as far as its income streams is concerned”, comments Germán Parreño. Fran Grima shares a similar opinion to that of Ibiza’s goalkeeper. “The course is a great initiative by the club as it allows us to gain insights into areas we normally don’t know too much about. It’s a great way for us to develop an interest and understanding of topics with a view to the future and our ongoing education”, says one of Ibiza’s captains, highlighting one of the main objectives of the master classes: to whet the appetite of the players as far as increasing their knowledge of the complex football industry is concerned in order to prepare them in an optimal way for their careers after they hang up their boots.