THE IMPORTANCE OF FUTSAL
BY COACH BRADY
Soccer, when played as it should be played, is a very technical activity not unlike piano, golf or hockey. To master these activities it takes thousands of hours of repetitive training. Some, if not all, of this training can actually be very enjoyable. Evidence of this is seen in the brilliant play of street kids in South America. They are brilliant because of the number of hours they spend with the ball. Although we cannot duplicate the street environment, nor would we want to, we can easily increase the number of ball hours our children receive and the winter months are a convenient time to do this.
Two ways to accomplish this are through indoor futsal play and the use of a size one skills ball in the house. The skills balls are small and can easily be dribbled around the house without much destruction. It increases foot speed and one's ability to manipulate the ball in tight spaces. I have purchased them at Wal-Mart in the soccer ball section
Futsal does the same but, in addition, develops soccer intelligence through passing patterns of play, as well as technique in receiving and passing, two of the most important skills to master. Futsal has become so popular in South America that many countries have professional leagues. It is the "poor man's" version of indoor soccer. While wealthy communities build huge expensive indoor facilities, we are enjoying the game and improving our skills on humble basketball courts around the area.
There is no doubt that we are busy people with many activities competing for our attention. We have to budget our time and, if soccer is at all important in the lives of our children, it is worth budgeting an hour or two a week for futsal. We have found that the thousands of quick touches taken throughout the winter by those playing futsal increases ability and builds confidence that is clearly reflected in the spring when we go outside. Ironically, there can be more development in the winter months than the fall or spring due to a primary focus on quick touches and small-sided play.
I would encourage all those who want to be the best they can be at soccer to enjoy the winter by playing futsal.