FC Barcelona have a motto: Més que un club (More than a club). Few outside of Madrid would question the merit of such a statement. They’re not just a club; they’re a football superpower.
From the mercurial brilliance of Johan Cruyff to the record-breaking exploits of Lionel Messi, Barcelona have consistently raised the bar for Europe’s elite teams in the modern era, delighting fans and neutrals alike with an attractive style of attacking play, built on quick passing, relentless pressure, and technical excellence.
To the delight of everyone at ESA, Barcelona were one of the first elite clubs to take an active interest in our approach. Right away it seemed like a natural fit. The club’s technical development programme is based heavily on the idea of deliberate practice; perfecting skills through intense repetition, with immediate expert feedback. All of our products are developed around the same philosophy, aiming to recreate the key moments a player faces during a match, and provide coaches with a platform for analysis.
Head of Physiotherapy, Juanjo Brau and his team first started to experiment with the ICON as a way to manage return from injury.
“My team likes using the ICON for the later stages of rehabilitation as it allows players to build up match sharpness, without exposing them to the danger of full-contact training.... it’s been a popular addition to the programme."
The team were soon asking us what else we could do. We were introduced to Raul Blanco, Head of Technology and Innovation, who wanted to experiment with new ways to refine technical skills at the club’s prestigious academy. We ended up building a custom 12M ICON - the biggest we’ve made to date - to facilitate longer passes, and more multiplayer options.
But we didn’t stop there. Working with their coaching teams, we developed the first version of the wireless circuit; a series of specialised modules that coaches can use to build unique drills, and track the participating player’s performance over time. The pass-through and pass-over panels were originally developed as custom add-ons for the Barcelona coaching staff, and are now available as part of the standard package.
If you want to see the circuit in action, tune into a Barcelona game before kick off to see the players using the wireless modules to warm up.