Tadhg Peavoy brushes up on tactics and tiki-taka.

For the last nine years FC Barcelona and the Catalan football philosophy have dominated European soccer with Barca winning three Champions League and six La Liga titles in that time.

The spine of that same team has gone on to win two European Championships and a World Cup for Spain in the space of the last six years.

What's behind this unprecedented success, and how has it been achieved? Those are questions asked the world over, and the desire to find answers is drawing football coaches, players and fans alike to Catalonia - the region in north-east Spain where Barcelona is situated - in their quest to find some answers.

One of those football lovers is Irishman David Berber, who has set up a tour company, which arranges trips to the region for Irish club sides.

DB Sports Tours offers complete packages where teams eat, drink and breathe Catalan football in a bid to improve their own football abilities.

Typically, clubs go on four-day trips to the region and are based at Futbol Salou Sports Complex, just outside Tarragona, and about 100km south of Barcelona.

Teams stay at the superb Cambrils Park Resort in self-contained apartments, which usually sleep four people.

However, there's a range of accommodation options available depending on budget - all of them are of a very high standard.

The rest of the resort facilities are also superb, with three stunning azure water swimming pools, three bars and restaurants, shops and massage centres catering for all one's needs. The area is beautifully landscaped and palm tree-lined avenues give the place a Caribbean feel.

Add to that tennis and volleyball courts, mini-golf, basketball courts, as well as theatre and musicals in the evening, and virtually all entertainment is catered for.

Located right beside Cambrils is the Futbol Salou Sports Complex where the training and matches take place. There are six pitches in place and six more to be built, as well as dressing rooms and classrooms in which to hone tactics.

Teams play two matches during the four-day trips, and over Easter there is a mini-tournament, which teams can feature in.

On non-match days the complex's coaches run training sessions based on the Catalan football philosophy.

The entire setup is spearheaded by coach Albert Vinas, the mentor of former Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova.

Vinas is a hugely experienced trainer who has been immersed in the Catalan football philosophy for the duration of his career. His knowledge and insight into the game underpins the entire setup at Futbol Salou and all the training methods undertaken there are devised by him personally.

Vinas told me that he feels Barcelona's success is down to the fact that all coaches in Catalonia are trained in the same philosophy. Since 1990 they have had to attend university, and do all the Catalan Football Federation's coaching badges to qualify as trainers. Therefore, they all have one common vision, which is passed on to every player, from underage teams right up to the senior setup.

It is this complete vision that has led Barcelona to such success, and any nuggets gleaned from it could potentially help Irish teams no end.

I attended a blackboard session with Vinas and his energy, love of football and deep understanding of the football philosophy he teaches were there for all to see.

Vinas is shuttled around the globe to teach Catalan football and the chance to train in his own complex is a very unique privilege.

Also included on the tours is a trip to the training complex of La Liga club RCD Espanyol. Only a short bus journey from Salou, a guided tour of the facilities gives one an idea of the setup of a professional Catalan club, and what is needed to get the best from a squad of professionals plying their trade in La Liga.

Included in the tour is a further talk on the principles of Catalan football and how they are applied at Espanyol, as well as an opportunity to watch several underage games.

Located on the outskirts of Barcelona, the rest of a daytrip includes a visit to FC Barcelona's famous Camp Nou. At the stadium one can visit the club's shop and museum - both well worth viewing - to take in the history of this footballing institution.

It's also possible to take in a football match - if tickets are booked in advance. Or, one can watch an Olympic handball match for a fraction of the price in the nearby venue for that sport.

From there, junior sides would usually head back to Salou to prepare for training the next day.

However, if coaches saw fit, trips could be made into Barcelona proper to see Gaudi's world famous Basilica de la Sagrada Família. Perhaps the architect's most well-known construction, it's a sight that leaves you breathless every time you clap eyes on it and is one of those world attractions that must be seen at least once in your life.

From there the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) and La Rambla, a beautiful tree-lined road, with bars and cafés serving Catalan tapas, are only a few minutes' walk away.

Back in Salou, the town proper offers a chilled-out beach town vibe, which also has its merits for a break away from intense football training. There are, of course, the obligatory Irish bars for those that fancy a slice - or should that be a pint - of home.

The Forum Bar in Cambrils also has RTÉ and several British channels, in order to broadcast sporting events which one might ordinarily miss while away - making it a home away from home for visiting teams.

Back on the training pitch, it's all about what coaches and teams will gain while visiting. All training is run by both the Catalan trainers, and the Irish trainers, meaning that all coaching methods are brought back to Ireland, not just by the players, but also by their coaches.

In addition, detailed reports are complied on teams while they are at the complex, giving an analysis into where and how each team can improve upon returning home.

Coaches who want to take a group away for team bonding, some winter sun, a training camp and some top-tier coaching in Catalan football will find that this trip has the all the answers.

Useful links:

DB Sports Tours:
http://dbsportstours.ie/

Cambrils Park Resort:
http://www.cambrilspark.es/en/?set_language=en

Futbol Salou Sports Complex:
http://www.futbolsalou.es/inici-en?set_language=en

Camp Nou, Barcelona:
http://www.fcbarcelona.com/camp-nou

Barcelona travel guide:
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/series/barcelona-city-guide

Salou travel guide:
http://wikitravel.org/en/Salou

Tadhg Peavoy

RTÉ is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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