Futsal (Indoor Soccer) (Issue 1 2017)
Written on the 1 March 2017
Futsal at the Middle School
"Futsal is soccer in its purest form and is widely recognised as the ideal arena for learning to play soccer." - John Delaney, Football Association of Ireland, CEO.
"My time in futsal was incredible, decisive in my life, all players should learn to play soccer by playing futsal." Christiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid footballer.
Tight spaces, smaller ball that bounces less, fewer players (5v5), small court and no offsides! These are the main changes of futsal (indoor soccer) compared to outdoor 11v11 soccer and the benefits of such changes are amazing. I recently read a statistic claiming that players touch the ball 600% more than in outdoor soccer. This term the Year 6/7s (Monday afternoons), Year 8s (Wednesday mornings) and Year 9s (Thursday mornings) have each played in the gym.
Such is the nature of futsal that often the game itself is the best teacher. Accordingly, sessions feature scratch matches. We use the confines of the basketball court as the touchlines rather than the English 5-a-side set up of using the walls to bounce off. This change is really important because if the walls are used, then a wayward pass can be rewarded with a lucky bounce. Not so in futsal. If a player takes a bad touch or makes a bad pass, there is the natural consequence of losing possession. Less players equal more touches and more opportunities to foster creativity. Futsal will undoubtedly improve the player's skills, just like it did for players like Ronaldinho, Neymar and Messi. Messi attests that futsal "was tremendous and really helped me become the player I am today."
Most importantly futsal is really fun, evidenced by its popularity with the students. I've been receiving plenty of emails from students asking to sign up and it is pleasing to find out that they are not just soccer players either. At this age, it's important that boys try not to specialise too much in one sport. Research shows that players who specialise are more likely to not play sport when they are older. Also I'm pretty confident they'll come away with a thing or two after playing futsal to take to their other sports, such as improved balance.
Training in the mornings has been really great also for the Year 8 and 9 students. Initially I was hesitant to do so, wondering if any boys would rock up. But it's been the exact opposite! A big thankyou to the many boys who have come out in the mornings on time and ready to go at 7.30am. (Thanks also to Khalen White for the suggestion!). One thing I am very excited about is the crowd of students who come to watch in the mornings after being dropped off at school. They have been respectful and vocal, which makes for even more exciting games and can only help to raise the profile of soccer at the school.
Thanks to William Gohl, Lukas Kerak, Lachlan Durrens (Year 7) and Luke Romano (Year 9) for their help in getting other boys to sign up. As well as Mr Adam Rice, who has been very helpful in terms of working around other sports using the gym, getting new equipment and guiding me to implement the things that we believe will most improve the soccer program.