‘If you do not know what you are looking for, you never know what you are discovering.’ A thought provoking statement taken from my recent trip to Valencia CF Academy that I feel underpins the cultural learning structure at the club. It was clear to me that learning and personal development of all players, coaches and parents was at the heart of the club.
Philosophy & Values
After immersing myself in the Valencia CF Academy for two days, my observations of the training ground, staff and players led me to distinguish six key values:
Pride – Club successes were written on the walls throughout the training village, on display surrounding every pitch and captured in a beautiful trophy exhibit, as you walk through the training ground you’d be continuously reminded of when the club won competitions. The carefully designed training facilities provides a proud connotation.
Passion – I had the privilege of observing the Valencia CF under 7 boys team training, Valencia under 16 boys fixture and the Valencia B team training on two occasions, it was clear in the methods of each coaches delivery and mannerisms that they were oozing with passion. In particular, the B team coaches enthusiasm and driving of standards had a positive effect on his players, who in turn displayed passion. This was most noticeable when a goal was scored, although this was in training players would celebrate with great passion every time, as if it was ingrained in them. Coaches are encouraged to include scoring systems into practise designs as method of driving passion and desire to win.
Teamwork – ‘One club, One way.’ I heard this mission statement regularly throughout the training ground, this statement captures how Valencia CF truly believe that through teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. Coaches gather in the classrooms to share ideas and plan collectively, an example of a well functioning team within a much larger team. Players enter the training pitch together, move necessary equipment and goals together, close the session with a team huddle and leave the training pitch together, everything done together. As a team.
Respect – Upon arrival players hug and kiss all family members before entering the training ground, every member of the club greet one another with a handshake, every member of Valencia CF I walked by acknowledged me with a smile. A memorable moment for me was seeing the under 7 team display great respect to one another, one individual fell down injured, the players immediately stopped what they were doing and made there way over to their team mate to comfort him, a simple hug and handshake went a long way.
Player-centred – Valencia CF strive to develop the individual as well as the player, study rooms allow individuals to bring their school work to training as education is key, a team of psychologists provide support for players, coaches and parents, the club also regularly deliver parent workshops to develop the parents, which in turn will support the individuals development.
Excellence – There is an aura of excellence felt as you walk around the training ground that become positively contagious. After seeing the staff at work across the two days it is clear that each member seeks opportunities to develop and better themselves, by developing themselves they develop the team they work in.
Pride, Passion, Teamwork, Respect, Player-centred & Excellence, six key values that I feel summarises what Valencia CF strive to achieve.