How to coach youth futsal
I. The basics
The priority in Futsal is to motivate players in an environment that is conducive to learning. The more pleasure kids derive from their participation, the more they wish to play and practice on their own. While their instinct to play is natural, their affection and appreciation for soccer must be cultivated. Futsal is the foundation to such goals because it:
- Allows players to frequently touch the one “toy” on the field, namely, the ball.
- Presents many opportunities to score goals and score goals often.
- Encourages regaining possession of the ball as a productive, fun and rewarding part of the game (defending).
- Maximizes active participation and minimizes inactivity and boredom.
- Provides a well organized playing environment with improvised fields.
- Reflects the philosophy of player development expressed in state and national coaching schools.
- Eliminates complicated rules such as off-sides that may hinder youngsters from “playing”.
- Reflects the appropriate roll of the coach as a Facilitator
- Makes the game more “beginning coach” friendly because the game is simpler, thus making it easier to recruit more volunteer “coaches”.
- Allows the game to be the teacher!
What About The Goalkeeper?
Goalkeeping, as it relates to the adult version of soccer, requires a combination of skill, athleticism, and decision making. A Futsal goalkeeper learns all these things in the game of Futsal with the added advantage that he learns to react faster because the ball moves faster, and he gets more involvement in the game since they are more shots on goal. Nevertheless a:
Goalkeepers must be field players first. Prior to specializing as goalkeepers, children must learn the broader parameters of “play”. This is difficult to do when they hide beneath the crossbar. Goalkeepers must also learn intuition and anticipation from moving in and playing the game of Futsal.
Goalkeepers must possess field playing skill. This is particularly true since the laws governing the 11 v. 11 game require the goalkeeper to play as a field player, without the use of their hands, at certain times of the game.
II. Why Futsal?
The mode and method for children’s play has changed substantially. The sandlot and playgrounds which allowed for free play have been replaced by organized sport associations and leagues which are instead governed by adults. As a result, these leagues reflect what adults believe the game of soccer should be like for youngsters. The by-product of this is often overcoaching and the investing of an abundance of money and resources on uniforms. warm-ups, and equipment. There is always the likelihood that parents and coaches become too involved in the game during “the game”.
Teaching Futsal to children requires that the information provided to them is appropriate for their maturity level through some means (THE GAME) that makes sense to them. The environment for play must, essentially, meet the needs of players.
Reducing the number of players to 5 per team allows for all of the components that are present in the 11 v. 11 game: the ball, teammates and opponents, realistic pressure, appropriate space, guidelines (rules), direction of play (attacking and defending), and the combination of length and width in the game (team shape), and shooting on goal.
What Is Developed
Skill that is realistic. Motor ability: balance, agility, and coordination. Perception: insight and awareness. Vision. Problem solving: choices and decisions. Physical fitness. Psychological domain: fun, enjoyment, and competition. Learning by discovery, trial and error, playing!!!
This is perhaps the single most important aspect over the long term process of developing soccer playing ability. On the playgrounds and sandlots, this occurs naturally… No lines, no waiting, participation is maximized.
Youngsters recognize differing situations that are constantly repeated. Repetition influences: Skill required to play the game (dribbling, passing, shooting, etc.). Decisions and choices that occur during the game.
III. The Role of the Youth Coach
In Futsal, the role of the coach is that of facilitator. The coach sets up the game and the conditions for learning, provides some supervision and allows the game to teach. The coach becomes a manager of the games with the comprehensive and long range objective being to develop and improve the soccer performance of the players.
The primary objective for youth players under 11 years of age is the development of technical skill. This is due, in part, to the nature of youngsters and their willingness to experiment to find their own way to execute technical skill.
Another contributing factor for am emphasis on skill development is that skill is considered a shortcoming. Remember, technique is not an objective in and of itself but a tool. Technical skill must always have a relationship with the game (application). Problem solving, decision making, intuition, anticipation, and technical skill must be developed in the context of games.
Technical activities, outside of games, should not be considered the “end all and be all”. The game, and involvement of playing the game, is most important. Too often, these activities on the individual basis are “drills” and are not realistic as far as the demands of the game are concerned. Technical skills should not be viewed as “tricks” or “gimmicks”, but in the end, must be practical to use in the game.