Thursday, 30.05.2024

SV Academy: The Future of the Game – Relationism, Positionism and More

What does the future of football hold for us? Why is the Guardiola-style so dominant? Can it be overcome by new “relationist” ideas? We will analyse and discuss the latest tactical trends, venture a prediction about upcoming developments and demonstrate how a unique playing philosophy can be created.


If you have not followed the discussion about “Relationism”, we can recommend the discussion on it that we had before on our website and this introductory article from Jamie Hamilton who have coined the term.

I expressed some thoughts in our (German) analysis of the Club World Cup before about the debate between the advocates of relationist and positional play:

Following up on that, we will offer three seminars where we will dig deep into the reasons behind these ideas to play the game and the potential of new ideas.

Dates, Duration and Costs

We will offer three seminars which will take about 3,5 hours with three breaks and about 30 minutes of discussion afterwards. They will be held online via Zoom.

The recordings of the seminars will be available too (same price) and are included for all participants.

The first seminar will be pay-what-you-want. If you sign up for it, you will receive the link for the meeting right away. You may pay before or after the seminar whatever amount you feel reflects its value for you.

Seminar 1: Beyond Coaching Philosophy – Cost: 0€ (Pay-what-you-want)

  • July 30th (Tuesday), 18:00 GMT
  • August 11th (Sunday), 12:00 GMT

Seminar 2: Solving Football – Cost: 40€

  • August 30th (Friday), 18:00 GMT
  • September 8th (Sunday), 12:00 GMT

Seminar 3: The Art of Play – Cost: 60€

  • September 27th (Friday), 18:00 GMT
  • October 13th (Sunday), 12:00 GMT

The first seminar is limited to 40 participants, the other ones to 20.

For German dates see soon.


Seminar 1: Beyond Coaching Philosophy – The Questions of the Game

In the first seminar we will introduce “Relationism” and compare it to the established philosophy of positional play. We will explore the differences and explain the underlying problems and questions of the game which these approaches attempt to solve.

  • What is “relational play” and what is “positional play”?
  • Why is positional play so good?
  • What are the flaws of positional play and (why) could relational play be better?
  • 20 tactical consideration: How Positionism and Relationism finds different answers to the tensions of the game.

Seminar 2: Solving Football – The Answers to the Questions

The second seminar will discuss answers to the questions raised before. This will also outline how positional and relational approaches can be mixed and what other, new approaches might look like.

  • How can Relationism and Positionism be mixed?
  • When should which approach be used? Which one is superior?
  • What could be a new paradigma, a new playing philosophy?
  • Are there universal solutions to the problems that occur in playing and coaching the game?

Seminar 3: The Art of Play – Creating a Unique Approach & Putting it into Practice

In the final seminar we will go deeper into coaching practice. How to coach and exercise relational ideas (and others)? How to come up with a unique idea of the game? And how to tailor your idea to your players?

  • What players can benefit from which approach?
  • Which training exercises and coaching points are useful for different approaches?
  • How to explain a new approach to your team and motivate them for it?
  • How to create and expand your own playing style and philosophy?
  • How to make your philosophy about your team and not about you? How to come up with something that fits your team?

Potential follow-up: If enough participants are interested in this, I will offer a follow-up event where we can discuss and reflect on fresh ideas of each other.

Sign Up

To register, just send an informal email with your name and desired date(s) to [email protected]. Payment options are PayPal and bank transfer.

Included in the sign-up are the participation in the online-seminar, in the discussion afterwards and receiving the seminar-recording and a handout of the presentation-slides.

Further communication will be done via mail.

We are looking forward to your interest!


Martin Rafelt is Spielverlagerung-writer and co-owner since 2011, has published a book about Jürgen Klopp, is a freelance writer for Der Spiegel, has done analysis for Thomas Tuchel and worked for three years as an assistant coach at Youth-League-finalists Hajduk Split (Under-19 and Hajduk B) and as the Head of Analysis and Tactics at the Hajduk Academy.

He gave lectures at the Belgian and the Dutch FAs, works with professional players in individual analysis and as a tactical consultant for clubs. On Spox and Transfermarkt there can be found interviews.


If you would like to be informed about future events, you are welcome to join our mail newsletter or info groups on WhatsApp or Telegram. For this, too, just send an informal mail to [email protected]. (Also possible if you are not interested in the current seminar.)

SV Academy for Clubs

We also offer our Academy events for clubs. Exact details and prices will be arranged individually. If your club is interested, please contact us with your wishes at [email protected].

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