Futsal Programs

Futsal is the only indoor game sanctioned by FIFA. If skills development is important, Futsal is recognized as clearly the best form of indoor soccer. But that’s not the only reason.

Better Skills Development – Futsal promotes having more quality touches.

Safer – Futsal eliminates the injuries associated with wall collisions and slide tackles.

Less Expensive – With noexpensive turf used, Futsal makes quality soccer more affordable!

Fun
– Players enjoy the challenge of playing a fast paced skill oriented game that tests their abilities.

Ball Touches – In a statistical study comparing Futsal to indoor soccer with walls, Futsal players touched the ball 210% more often than indoor soccer players.

Ball Control – With Futsal, the emphasis is clearly on control and technique. Without control and technique you cannot expect to succeed in Futsal. With limited space, boundary lines, and constant opponent pressure, improved ball control skills are required.

Speed of Play – With limited space and constant opponent pressure, players learn to play fast to survive.

Continuity of Play – Action is continuous so players are forced to continue play in support of their teammates.

Mandatory Support – Without a wall as a crutch, players must make supporting runs when their teammates have the ball. With only 5 players on the court and always needing the proper support positions offensively and defensively, a player will instinctively learn better spacing, passing and general tactics from playing Futsal. Players without the ball must move to space and must truly support their teammates.

Framing the Goal – The goal and Penalty Area are a perfect size for narrowing the angle so teams learn to frame the goal to score goals.

Knowledge – With five court players and all the basic options of the outdoor game, players’ understanding of the game is enhanced.

Encouraged Learning – The rules of Futsal encourage playing a skilled game by punishing all physical contact fouls.

Rewards – Futsal rewards the same basic skills, tactics and knowledge of the game as the 11v11 outdoor game.

Five players on court – limited substitutions.Five players on court – rolling substitutionsEleven players on pitch – maximum three substitutions.
No By or End lines – use rebound boards. Ball constantly in play.Played to lines. Ball is returned to play with a kick-in.Played to lines. Ball returned to play with a throw-in.
Use of indoor or Astroturf pitch.Use of wider and longer indoor pitch.Use of outside grass pitch.
Only Goalkeepers permitted to enter penalty area.All players allowed to enter the penalty area.All players allowed to enter the penalty area.
Use of restriction to the height of the ball.No height restriction on ball.No height restriction on ball.
Use of rectangular goals. Use of football size 5 for adults.Use of square goals (3m x 2m) Use of size 3 or 4 Futsal ball (30% reduced bounce).Use of rectangular full-size goals. Use of football size 5 for adults.
Unlimited fouls.Five foul limit. No wall for direct free kick from 10m after fifth foul.Unlimited fouls.
Who says Futsal is really that much better?

Countless players, coaches, parents, and organizations such as FIFA, CONCACAF and UEFA agree that Futsal is a brilliant sport for teaching the skills that are required to succeed in the outdoor game. FIFA actually runs the highly successful Futsal World Cup every 4 years. Legends such as Pele, Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Zico, Ronaldinho, and countless others all credit Futsal for much of their skill and technique development. All of the major heads of national associations and confederations have declared that this is the way to go. Once you experience Futsal you will see the benefits.

Is Futsal New?

Futsal is making waves here in North America. However, as is often the case, Canada is just catching on to what the world already knows. Superior soccer skills are built by simulating the outdoor game indoors, with small sided games and a smaller ball. World famous clubs such as Ajax have used this approach for years. Futsal has been around for decades but Canadian interest in soccer skill development has only recently focused attention on the training techniques used in successful soccer powerhouses such as Brazil, Holland, Germany, France and Italy. So, Futsal has been around for many years but interest is just beginning to explode here.

How Does Futsal Promote Better Technique?

Just watch Futsal players fight to keep the ball from crossing the touch line and you’ll immediately begin to see how Futsal develops skill, control and technique. A small field with lines puts players constantly under pressure from other players and out-of-play boundaries. Players must learn to control the ball rapidly, cut sharply, shield effectively, pass quickly and move into space.

Compared to walled soccer or large indoor field soccer, Futsal places a greater premium on ball control. There is no reward for errant passes because the other team gets the ball. There is no reward for errant shots because the other team gets the ball. There is no incentive to ‘kick and run’ because the field is too small and packed with players. Players with the ball must use proper technique to maintain control and must seek out other players in space. Players without the ball must move to ‘real’ space and must truly support their teammates.

With Futsal, the emphasis is clearly on control and technique. Without control and technique you cannot expect to succeed in Futsal. And, if Canadian players are to be more successful in the international arena, it is clear that we must better train and prepare our youth on proper technique. If you are serious about skills and technique development, Futsal is the superior activity. Futsal promotes better technique and develops skills more rapidly. And if you are serious about the quality of the time you spend playing or watching soccer games, Futsal is clearly better.

How is Futsal better than indoor soccer with boards?

Futsal improves player soccer skills better than walled soccer for both offensive and defensive skills training. As an offensive Futsal player, there are no walls to save errant passes. There are no walls to stop long balls. There are no walls to rebound errant shots. There are no walls against which to pin the ball or your opponent. There are no walls to help you if you lack the feinting skills to beat a defender. There are no walls to save you if your teammates are not moving into space to support you. In general, you must control the ball, use proper touch and technique, use correct pace, send accurate service, and truly work dynamic combinations.

As a Futsal defender, you can ‘face up’ on an oncoming player just like in outdoor soccer (there is no wall pass to beat you). You can let errant passes go out of bounds to win the ball (the proper result of your opponent’s mistake). Goalies and defenders can concentrate on proper shot blocking angles. You do not need to worry about long overhead balls which should go out of bounds. You can drive an oncoming player into the side to break up breakaways or outnumbered breaks. In general, you can practice and perfect the defensive techniques which apply to outdoor soccer. You don’t waste time working on defending against phantom players (i.e. walls).

Consider some of the key problems with the following typical hockey-rink style Indoor soccer scenarios:

Question: In hockey-rink soccer, what happens when a child bounces a ball against a wall in order to beat an opponent?

*Answer: The child advances the ball past a defender when there’s a wall available without the need or effort of feinting, cutting, or chipping. Hockey rink soccer supporters defend this as a useful simulation of passing to a teammate who subsequently one-times the ball as part of a ‘give-and-go’. Futsal sees this as a lost opportunity to work on skills to beat defenders (i.e. never waste an opportunity to work on the skills required for the outdoor game).

Question: In hockey-rink soccer, what happens when a child bounces a wall-pass to a teammate?

*Answer: The child advances the ball to a teammate when there’s a wall available without the need or effort of passing. Hockey rink soccer supporters defend this as a useful simulation of passing to a teammate who subsequently one-times the ball to the forward-most member of a ‘triangle’. Futsal believes the best pass is to a live player. You should be developing dynamic combinations of moving players who move into space. The player with the ball looks for moving teammates and anticipates those movements. Don’t assume a stationary target (i.e. the wall) is always there ready for your pass. You need to be trained on the realities of the outdoor game and your teammates need to learn how to support you.

Question: What happens when a child blasts a shot against a wall so an onrushing teammate can score on the anticipated rebound?

*Answer: The child creates scoring opportunities when there’s a wall available to either side of the goal without the need to make an accurate shot. While some soccer aficionados label this a useful exercise others feel it is best to practice taking accurate scoring shots.

Question: What happens when a child beats a defender by ‘dumping the ball into the corner’ (á la NHL) and chasing it?

*Answer: The child beats a defender when there’s a wall available without fear of the ball rolling out of bounds without the need or effort of passing or dribbling. Futsal supporters argue that players should always be reinforcing the need to control the ball and keep it in play (i.e. never waste a touch).

It should be apparent that there are serious problems with the above scenarios in terms of developing proper technique for the ‘real’ game of outdoor soccer:

These indoor soccer techniques assume that a wall is available. If there is no wall available then these wall-based skills have questionable value.

These so-called ‘wall skills’ can account for a frighteningly high percentage of the touches in a game. Therefore, the quality of the time spent in terms of developing useful outdoor soccer skills is limited.

Playing with walls introduces a real danger to the child. What happens when a player pins his/her body against the boards either to advance a ball past a defender (who is also pinned against the boards) or to stop his opponent from advancing? And what can happen when players run at full speed toward the boards? Real horror stories abound.

Futsal places a premium on control and technique. Take away the walls and you can still have as much fun as walled soccer. But there are far more quality touches and repetitions which directly translate to the outdoor game. With Futsal, you make better use of your time and money.

Is Futsal as much fun as other variations of indoor soccer?

Most people find Futsal more fun to play and parents have said that it’s much more enjoyable to watch than traditional indoor. If you like outdoor soccer, you’ll love Futsal. It encompasses elements of basketball, soccer and hockey and is extremely fast-paced and exciting with an average of 8 goals a game. With the field being so small, scoring chances abound and games are often high scoring affairs with many different players scoring goals. Even though the ball may go out of bounds, the ball must be put back in play within four seconds or the opposing team gets possession. This not only encourages better control but it also keeps players moving. You cannot sit back and wait for the ball to rebound off the boards (as in walled soccer) because you must fetch it promptly and kick it back into play within four seconds.

It is interesting and important to note that, unlike outdoor soccer, THERE ARE WALLS IN MOST FUTSAL CENTERS! The walls are typically three to ten feet from the boundary lines. Therefore errant balls rebound quickly back to players who subsequently put the ball back into play within four seconds. So, you experience the speed and continuous play of ‘walled soccer’ along with the benefits of small-sided skills-oriented gaming.

From a developmental standpoint, you satisfy the magic objective of teaching proper technique while having fun. This is, perhaps, the most wonderful achievement of Futsal.

How is Futsal Safer?

Eliminating walls makes soccer safer but there are other aspects of Futsal which make it safer as well. Besides fewer broken bones and concussions (which too often occur in hockey-rink walled soccer), there are fewer high speed collisions because the field is shorter. You don’t develop the same full head of steam running for the ball in Futsal and consequently have less of those related injuries. Finally, a game which emphasizes control under pressure versus kick and run inevitably leads to more heads-up play. In general, it is safer by virtue of the fewer injuries due to the nature of the arena and the game. Since a futsal ball stays to the ground much more you also have less headers thus reducing head injuries as well as ‘high legs’ which can cause knee, rib, any other injuries.

Is this just fad?

No. FIFA doesn’t invest in fads which is why we have the FIFA Futsal World Cup and why the CSA has a national futsal team (which the TFL has 5 players on). This is the way the world develops great players year-round. None of the successful powerhouses in world soccer including, Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, play indoor soccer in hockey rinks or in 7 a side games on artificial grass. Now that Canada is trying to take soccer seriously and wants to compete at the highest levels, Futsal will irreversibly dominate the North American indoor soccer scene. Canadian soccer development will only advance to the next level when the indoor game advances to the same level as the rest of the world. Before entering another ‘hockey rink’ or turf pitch league, ask yourself “How important is skills development to my players?” This is the question coaches are asking and the conclusion people seem to be drawing is that Futsal is the wave of the future. It is not a fad, it is the way the world plays and it is here to stay.

Why use a Different ball?

Unlike some myths, a Futsal ball is neither funny nor fuzzy. It is, however, different.

The Futsal ball, also known as a reduced bound or low-bounce ball, is smaller than a normal outdoor soccer ball and heavier, usually a size 3-4. There is a FIFA specification for the ball’s size, weight and bounce. These properties are specifically designed to build confidence and develop skill and technique. When a Futsal ball is received, it virtually ‘sticks’ to the foot. This builds great confidence in tight spaces when rapid passes are being issued repeatedly.

Interestingly, that same property which makes the ball easy to receive makes it more difficult to strike. A Futsal ball gradually eliminates the ‘lazy pass’. It is heavier and players rapidly get acquainted with the merits of bending the knee, turning the hips, and striking the ball firmly to propel it. Repeated touches on the ball eventually produce a motion which, when transplanted outdoors with a high bounce ball, translates into a firmer and proportionately longer pass appropriate for the big field.

Many programs around the world also claim that smaller size encourages more precise striking of the ‘sweet spot’ of the ball. If one works during the off season on striking a Futsal ball, then a larger bouncier ball is struck with greater confidence and authority in the outdoor game.