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The power of belonging.

Journey to the Rural Football Capital.

Days ago, my friend and great coach Daniel Rubiol and I had the honour of being invited by Llorenç Bonet from LaToca Football to the inauguration of their summer football camp campaign, taking place throughout the central Pyrenees. The event unfolded in Llorenç's hometown, El Poal.

As he calls it, the world capital of rural football. And, believe me, it most likely is. Someday we'll share everything that happens and has happened there; for lovers of talent, it's extraordinary.

Roadside Coffee Gathering

The journey gave me the opportunity to pass very close to the residence of another great friend, Joan Albert Cuadrat, one of the most interesting minds I've encountered in discussing any sports and training topic. I didn't miss the chance, neither did he. We had a roadside coffee, caught up on things, and as always, engaged in intense discussions on sports-related topics. We hugged and said our goodbyes.

The surname Cuadrat sounds familiar, doesn't it? Well, yes, Joan Albert is the brother of another genius, our professor from the Set Pieces course, Carles Cuadrat. I highly recommend this course if you're involved in football coaching.

The Sense of Belonging

Among the many brilliant topics Joan Albert brought to the table, one stands out: the sense of belonging. To a team, a club, an organization. I instantly jumped into the conversation, as it is a topic that I am passionate about and has been the number one priority in all the teams I have worked with to achieve maximum performance potential. Thanks to the roadside coffee chat with Joan Albert, this article was born.

Unfortunately, an article doesn't cover everything that can be discussed on this topic, so I will limit myself to sharing what it is, some initial ingredients, and the benefits we can obtain.

The sense of belonging is a 'must to work' when leading a team, club, or any organization or institution, whether it is in sports, business, charity, etc.

It is an Individual Sense

Although the goal is to transfer the sense to the team or group, we cannot forget that the sense of belonging is something individual. We must reach each member, cater to all diversity, as the person feels it individually. However, it will never be achieved without a team or group of people to belong to. Here lies the beauty of this work.

Group Belonging

Just belonging to a group does not provide meaning. We will only be able to instil this very individual feeling in team members if we can add the ingredients to our coexistence that will allow us to build the sense of belonging. Remember that it does not come standard just because you belong to something or because they hang a sign with a good slogan at the entrance of our facilities.

Ingredients of the Recipe

To build the sense of belonging, we should add at least three essential ingredients to our recipe.

  • Connection: Facilitating connections among members requires creating intimate environments without distractions (meetings, debates, etc.) and distant environments with many distractions (dinners, recreational activities, parties, etc.).
  • Identity: Building a joint identity is essential. Who we are, who we want to be, and what we need to become that. Do not skimp on time to make this joint reflection; it is essential to agree on our identity. This process will have a price to pay, and that is the price of the next ingredient, commitment.
  • Commitment: It is the non-negotiable value to build the sense of belonging. You will have to pay this price, all at 100%, we do not accept instalment payments. You want to belong to the group, commit yourself. Just getting involved is not enough.

Add as many other ingredients as you consider necessary, but I assure you that with these three, you will create a very powerful foundation.

Exponential Performance Growth

Making all the necessary efforts to build the sense of belonging is well worth it because it opens the doors to exponential performance growth. It's not magic; you will have sown a very fertile ground for unlimited motivation, unity, trust, and teamwork, among many other things.

Author's Note

The sense of belonging applies to both team and individual sports, as in the case of the latter, there is always a team of professionals around the individual athlete.

Xavi Guilà