Why Futsal you ask?
Many top soccer players started out at their young age playing Futsal, as it taught them early on about the necessary skills to succeed on the big soccer field. Some of the current players who got their start playing Futsal include Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Christian Pulisic and many more.
Here you have 5 reasons why you SHOULD PLAY Futsal.
Futsal is a game that can be played on any hard surface, indoors and outdoors. A gymnasium, a cafeteria, a convention hall or a parking lot, a skating rink, a tennis court or anything else. All you need is a ball and shoes. It also happens to be the perfect addition to soccer. Almost any soccer tactical session can be adapted to be played on a futsal court or vise versa. It is perfect for training concepts on the “micro”, younger age groups, before bringing it to the big 11v11 soccer field.
2. Improves Athletic Intelligence
Futsal's fast-paced and non stop nature aids in improving a player’s spatial intelligence and ability to learn to read the game in a short time period under pressure.
3. Speed of Play
The futsal small playing area requires players to not only play quicker but also to think quicker and make faster decisions. In futsal, you only have a split second to decide what to do with the ball before you are put under high pressure.
4. Ball Skills and Control
As per Dr. Emilio Miranda from Sao Paolo University, a futsal player will have 600% more touches on the ball during a futsal game, than a soccer player will have in a soccer game. This naturally aids players to master their touch on the ball and give them confidence to hold on to the ball more, than just kicking it way out of fear of losing it, as well make them more confident in taking on players in a 1v1 situation.
In our opinion the single most important reason to play futsal is that it encourages players to be creative and think out of the box. Because the futsal court is much smaller than a soccer field, and a player gets so much more touches on the ball, they try things that they would never risk doing on the soccer field.
As the director of Central Jersey Futsal, I have watched over the years, girls’ teams increase in numbers and in their quality of play.
I thought about why we are witnessing such a growth in the girl’s futsal game and these are the five top reasons I came up with.
The biggest and most important reason in my opinion is the hardly any concussion effect. In outdoor soccer where players must head the ball as part of the game, concussion numbers are through the roof. It has gotten so bad that US Youth Soccer instituted a rule change that players could not head the ball until the age of 11. That means all 10-year-old players and younger are not allowed to head the ball which takes away a major part of the soccer game as well as the fun of it, but safety must come first.
The number of concussions is even higher among female players at all ages. Yes, even the older more developed ages all the way to college and pro players.
Well problem is solved, as futsal uses a low bouncing ball and the game is mostly concentrated around foot skills. The ball does not get lifted off the ground at high levels very often and for those players that do lift the ball, the recipients of those high balls are taught to control the ball with other parts of their bodies rather than their head.
Furthermore because of the limited playing space it is not often that players will try and serve a high ball for a header. Long balls and high crosses are not a normal part of a futsal game.
SIZE IS NOT NEEDED
It is well documented that American soccer coaches love size gifted players. On both sides of the game, boys and girls, American youth teams have been traditionally known to be dominated by tall, fast, physical kids, relying mostly on the size and not on their skills.
This is where futsal is a game changer as it primarily needs quality skills from its players to be successful and size comes a far distant second. Futsal is the breeding ground for the development of skills which will massively aid the outdoor soccer game of any player.
Now, smaller female players with great technical skills have an outlet to play and excel after they have been constantly told by outdoor soccer coaches that although they are good players, their luck of size will not get them far in the game.
HIGHER IQ AT YOUTH AGE
It is well documented that girls mature faster at the younger starter ages than boys do. In fact, the college recruiting process starts a year earlier for the girls than the boys. Girls are much more coachable and their ability to absorb information is much higher at the younger ages.
Futsal requires earlier and faster information absorption so female players can find themselves excelling at futsal much younger than boys. Exposing female players to futsal development at the starter ages of 3 to 7 years of age will set them to a path of skill development that will make them fall in love with the sport much quicker than boys.
This reason goes hand in hand with the previous one mentioned. Because of the IQ girls seem to possess at the younger ages, futsal is the perfect tool to not only provide a much higher accelerated rate of skill development but allow the female player the chance to succeed at a younger age. This will naturally provide the female player the desire to compete harder at higher levels.
Lastly a smaller female player with out of this world skills, developed at a young age through futsal, may give her that opportunity to have her size overlooked by coaches.
FUN, FAST, FURIOUS
This next reason is why all soccer players, parents and coaches fall in love with the sport. Futsal is extremely fast paced, with constant nonstop action, and lots of goals. Players are around the ball and are involved in the action all the time. There is no down time. No time for a player to get bored. They must always be engaged in the game. Players surveyed on why they play soccer mentioned as top two reasons, kicking the ball and scoring goals. Futsal satisfies both of those needs on a much higher level that soccer does.
This also happens to be the number one reason mentioned by all parents that watch a futsal game for the first time. They all love the nonstop action and goals.
Loving something you do will make you do it for ever. Experiencing futsal and falling in love with it is why the sport will have a much higher appeal rate than soccer as well as retention rate. Futsal will help not only develop top soccer players but keep youth soccer players involved in soccer much longer and help decline the drop off rate.
Top soccer players control the ball with the sole of their foot no matter what surface they play on or what format, 11v11, 7v7, 5v5 – even if the ball is coming really fast they will take it with the sole of their foot.
Being able to use the sole of your foot is more than just a precise way to stop the ball; it also gives you options to instantly move the ball in any direction. It’s a point that you really need to understand.
What are the reasons most of us don’t use our sole enough?
In the US almost every single youth soccer players begins playing soccer on grass or turf surfaces by most often volunteer soccer coaches and when players try to control the ball with the sole of their foot, it's encouraged by the coaches to use their instep leading to the sole being coached out of the players.
Some coaches might say that using your sole in an outdoor game is backward-thinking mentality and there are good reasons for not using the sole (or at least using it more sparingly) in the full 11-a-side game mostly for the following reasons:
However in a futsal game the use of the sole is vital.
Futsal sets your foot sole free
The sole of your foot can be used for trapping, receiving, rolling and passing the ball, and it doesn’t have the challenges of the outdoor soccer game. You’re wearing flat soled boots, plus the futsal court will be even and consistent all over.
If you’re playing outdoors, however, the one thing you do still need to watch out for is the rain. That little bit of extra moisture on the ground will make contact between your boot and the ball a bit more unpredictable.
The huge benefits of using the sole
The foot sole provides a larger surface area with which you can control the ball, than any other part of the foot, and allows you to move the ball around the court while still keeping contact with it.
What that means is that you can move the ball forwards, backwards or to either side quickly in order to get you out of any tight spots. It’s what makes the really good players look so tricky.
One look at the top players will make you realize how much they rely on using the sole of the foot. Watch the great Ricardinho play futsal and every other touch seems to be with the sole of the foot.
Because of how unique the sole of the foot is, it allows movement to any direction, opens up many different moves like spin, faint, sidestep, roll. You can pretty much use it for anything.
We are excited to have our Executive league director, Niko ALexopoulos, release his new ebook, Guide For The Beginner Futsal Coach - Top Essential Tips To Succeed In Futsal.
The purpose of this book is to bring value to all involved with futsal. Coach Niko hopes for this book to serve as a guide for a positive, fun, futsal experience. Niko's aim is to keep adding content and address various futsal benefits and challenges for the new coaches that enter the wonderful, fast, high scoring world of futsal.
Is it his mission that everyone understands how important it is to abandon the status quo training practices and adopt habits that US Soccer is mandating and following FIFA's world initiative on making futsal the key development tool in soccer.
Coach Niko is someone who believes passionately that futsal should be intentionally used as a tool for developing soccer players year-round and come first in the developing process at the younger starter age groups of 3-12 years of age. He has a massive amount of experiences, observations, thoughts and ideas from being submerged in the futsal community as a player, coach and operations director waiting to be released that could truly benefit the futsal community as well as the soccer coach that is just getting into the futsal methodology as a soccer development tool as well as the futsal game itself.
Niko is someone who believes passionately that futsal should be intentionally used as a tool for developing soccer players year-round and come first in the developing process at the younger starter age groups of 3-12 years of age. He has a massive amount of experiences, observations, thoughts and ideas from being submerged in the futsal community as a player, coach and operations director waiting to be released that could truly benefit the futsal community as well as the soccer coach that is just getting into the futsal methodology as a soccer development tool as well as the futsal game itself