Futsal is continuing to grow in popularity and is currently the fastest growing indoor sport in the UK.
Once you have played futsal you will realise how quick and intense the game is. It is like a game of basketball with attack/defence transitions and end to end excitement. Your mind and body are being pushed to your limits with soo much happening at one time.
What are the differences from youth football?
The main differences are that futsal is played indoors on a hard court surface with a smaller, heavier ball with less bounce.
The rules are similar to fun 5's in Scotland, minus the retreat line and pass back rule.
The rules help make futsal the game that it is. Players have to rotate positions and problem solve themselves.
What are the benefits of futsal?
The benefits are massive. When I started youth futsal I only thought about the technical side of the game and how it helped develop players like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Neymar. I quickly realised there was much more to futsal in particular in game and tactical awareness. Body positioning, game intelligence, speed of thought, teamwork, fitness and communication are vital.
Throughout the last year, I have used my son as a guinea pig to assess the differences between futsal, 7 a side football and 11 a side football. The differences are massive. In futsal he averaged 3-4 passes of the ball every minute compared to 1 pass every minute at 7 a side football and 1 pass every 4 minutes at 11 a side football. In fact I haven't seen much football played at 11 a side youth football. The size of the pitch and goals clearly benefits the more physically developed players.
Played on a smaller confined space futsal does not just benefit the faster and more physically developed children that can kick the ball harder and further. Futsal benefits everyone, in particular the more technical and intelligent players that don't get the opportunity to shine at football.
Futsal is the equivalent of 37 v 37 on an 11 a side football pitch. Imagine how your players would cope with that.
What problems does futsal face in the future?
People identify futsal solely as a development tool for football or as a winter sport. Futsal is a recognised sport in itself, is played all year round and should be recognised as such.
We are already seeing that with the growth of futsal and other indoor sports such as basketball and handball, indoor hall hire availability is an issue. Additional indoor facilities or greater access to community use schools are a must.
I also believe that futsal is being perceived as a threat to football and as a result is not getting the necessary support from local leagues or governing bodies. Children should have the opportunity to play futsal, football or both.
In the future we will see more futsal specific teams and clubs emerging, possibly as sub sections attached to football clubs.
With futsal continuing to grow across the world we are seeing more and more opportunities arising with professional leagues and main stream media coverage.
Futsal will continue to grow and is here to stay. A fantastic sport to compliment or provide an alternative to football.
All the above...without even mentioning our weather!!!