Saturday morning I was coaching a group of u9 futsal players, could have been football as the session would have been suitable for either sports.
Initially I had boys playing 3 vs. 3 on a small court with meter wide goals. All the attacking players had to be in the opposition half for a goal to count.
The lads sorted any problems like ‘ducks to water.’ Diagonal passes, tap ins at the back post; they supported the player with the ball; and was always in a position to clearly see the ball, it was all there. The defences played their part, making sure any goal conceded was not down to individual laziness.
Why then should the session collapse when one team was given an extra player? More to the point why did the team with the extra player not capitalise? Why did the four stop working to be in space? Why did the players without the ball move inwards towards the man with the ball rather than retreat to the open spaces on the outside of the court to make it harder for the three defenders? Why did the four stop fighting to create space for themselves; why did the four stop looking after the ball; why did the four shoot at any opportunity regardless whether they had a realistic chance to score. Why did the four lose?
In some ways, like a football team losing a player, having to play 10 vs. 11; galvanises the 10. I’m not sure it’s same with my players. I suspect that 3 vs. 3 is maximum complexity players at this age can solve? Just adding a player increases the passing and movement complexities hugely. Imagine if this is correct how complex a 7 vs. 7 game is to an under 9 age group.
Gymnasts’ and karate coaches repeat and repeat the same sessions to build up muscle/brain memory links; should I be doing same every week? Should I be keeping games to 3 vs. 3 and later increasing to 4 vs. 4?
Sunday, after a sizable break, I went to watch my 11 year old grandson play 9 aside football. What a massive difference from watching some of the same lads playing futsal. Playing futsal the lads are on flat surface, the court is small so the players have to demonstrate close ball techniques, the game is fast, not hampered by a large muddy pitch that the football lads had to conquer before they could think about playing football.
The futsal player has no excuse for a bad pass; the footballer has many excuses, all rational and real. For a start he has to look at ball till the last second, the ball could hit a divot at any point, only when the player has the ball can he look up and assess the options around him. Too late, you have to evaluate before the pass arrives.
Saturday, by contrast, I watched Chelsea vs. Manchester City on television. The teams were playing football on a manicured pitch. Cut twice every day, underground irrigation and heating systems, my grandson and his mates would love to play on such a pitch. If they could their passing levels and passing choices would improve hugely.
Finally to the ball, the day was freezing cold and every long kick was preceded with a dead sound as boot struck a ball devoid of life. One player headed a high ball and ended prostrate to the floor. It had hurt; it had been like heading a brick. A new ball was found and air taken out of it before game proceeded.
Cheap footballs are a danger; they have a very thin plastic outer skin and a wafer thin bladder that offers no protection to the skull. More expensive match balls, if genuine, have a thick bladder and a softer leather outer layer. A futsal ball is seldom headed, but it does happen, the futsal ball bladder is filled with foam rubber, making it 100% more safe than a football, as the pole axed youngster would confirm. Click to have a look inside a futsal ball.
On the flip side, it can be great fun playing on grass and when you’re young the pitch and weather is forgotten because you’re playing with your mates.
Sure you will have your own opinions.
After more than 9-10 months working behind the scenes, very proud and happy to announce my come back to Sheffield FC – The World’s First Football Club as a new Head of Futsal Philosophy & Coaching Methodology. Sheffield FC – The World’s First Football Club was the club that gave me the first opportunity to be a Head Coach back in 2012. I spent 2 season with them, probably the seasons where I enjoyed coaching. Together we achieved things that we never thought we would when I signed for them. All this possible to the new partnership established between Sheffield FC – The World’s First Football Club and Bay Area Futsal Club.
As part of this new partnership, I am also very happy to announce that we have put together a Futsal Coaching Seminar in the City of the Steel on the 6th January 2019. Do not miss out this great opportunity to learn futsal. I am very looking forward to meeting good friends and visit a very nice city that it is on my heart. More info about registration below: