We are going to propose a philosophy of coaching sports and should not be understood as the only true methods of coaching. The following ideas should be discussed and adapted to the reality and personal thought of the people involved in the coaching process, mainly coaches, parents and players.
For further information on general principles of coaching we suggest the following publications by the Australian Coaching Council: “Coaching Children” and “Beginning Coaching” (see References).
Play for fun
Futsal, as with any sport, can be coached at different levels and each one of these levels has its own specificity, but there is one principle that is universal: play for fun.
We believe that one of the main aims of the practice of sports in general is to provide happy moments to children. If we motivate children to play for fun we will be giving them the stimulus to play Futsal in their leisure time and soon we will be able to see children playing in Futsal parks, playgrounds, streets, backyards and on the beaches. During the break time at school we will see children playing tag, handling a footy and kicking a Futsal ball.
Playing the sport for fun without external organization is an excellent way to develop socialization, skills, creativity and autonomy. That is when children have the chance to organize themselves (autonomy).
Let’s stimulate children to play with their friends or even with their parents in their backyards, not with the intention of training by themselves with natural intention that every child has, to have fun.
Backyard Futsal is a good way to develop skills in a fun environment
(Diagram extracted from Dietrich, 1984)
Training with fun
A good coaching session should combine training with specific aims and fun atmosphere. In this way learning ad improvement will be more effective and players will not be bored or stressed, as is so common especially with juniors. Another positive aspect or training with fun is that players will always be motivated to attend training.
Training with fun should not be confused with lack of discipline or organization. Discipline and organization are also very important aspects of coaching, but it must not be understood as a military exercise where players are not allowed to have fun. Remember that one of the main reasons for dropouts in sports is excessive pressure on young players.
Training with fun is essential to keep players motivated
Specificity of the Group
Futsal can be played at different levels: leisure, school, club and representative. Each one of these levels has specific realities and demands. It is important for coaches to set goals according to the particular aims and structure of the group with which they are going to work.
Coaching a school team that is structured on an educational basis will require different procedures from coaching a representative team, which is competitively orientated. The coaching methods, goals and level of expectation should be established according to the profile of the team to be coached.
A team is made of individuals. Sometimes the individuals will have different speeds of learning or will demand different methods of coaching. As coaches we have to respect these differences and the individual characteristics of the players.
Even when learning techniques a player can develop his own way of executing skills totally different from the standard technique, but still effective.
Characteristics of the stages in coaching
Below we will suggest some general characteristics of the stages of coaching Futsal to be used as a reference for the process as a whole. There is not an exact chronological process for coaching children. In fact, we do not recommend previewing what players can or can not do at certain age groups.
Stage 1 (0 to 4 y.o) - no organized coaching.
Stage 2 (5 to 8 y.o) - General coordination and creativity in a totally fun environment we would develop a large basis of general motor skills and experience of various movements. Mini-games, modified individual and team sports, interaction of child and equipment: broom sticks, hula-hoops, skipping ropes and mattresses. (See chapter 7). Children should experience 0playing with different kinds of balls. (Balloon, plastic, tennis, rugby, soccer, basketball, volleyball and of course Futsal). It is recommended that each child has his/her own Futsal ball. We suggest children in this age group not participate in organized competition under the traditional formats but play at carnivals with a participation basis.
Stage 3 (9 to 11 y.o) - Learning and improvement of specific Futsal skills is the main aim at this stage. The same emphasis should be given to all skills including the practice of goalkeeper skills. Players should experience playing in all positions. A basic tactical awareness of defensive and attacking positioning can also be introduced. (See chapter 3).
Stage 4 (12 to 15 y.o) - At this stage players can be stimulated to have a better understanding of the game. The emphasis is on tactical knowledge, comprehension and application of different systems. Coaching and playing should involve gradual increase of intensity.
Stage 5 (16 to 18 y.o) - Developing autonomy and the ability to read the game identify and handle different game situations. Players in this age group can be stimulated to organize competitions, manage and coach younger teams. This is a good strategy to develop the maturity and responsibility of the players. At the same time, when coaching they will have the chance to think about the game and visualize their own strengths and weaknesses as players.
The aims suggested above should be flexible and adaptable to the characteristics of the individuals and of the team. A good example is children starting to play later. The coach of a 15-year-old beginner should firstly focus on the development of basic skills which is the main aim of the preceding stage.
How to initiate coaching Futsal
Where to play
Futsal is a sport that can be practiced indoors and outdoors. The dimensions of the official court are indicated below.
Official court and goal sizes
National or Local Competitions
There are some adaptations that can be used if the facilities of an official court are not available and despite the indoor origin of the game. Futsal can be played outdoors as well. Below you will find some ideas.
- A netball, basketball or tennis court can be used to play Futsal. If you want to adapt these court into an official Futsal court all you need to do is to mark the goal area curves (draw a quarter of a circle cantered on each foal post with a 4 meters radius joined by a line that runs parallel to the goal), mark the central circle (3 meters radius) and the penalty spots (6 and 12 meters). In a netball court you can use the goal circle as “D” line.
- Mobile goals can be made of steel and you can obtain information on these by calling your local Futsal Association. (See appendix I). Alternative options for goals are to draw the goals on the walls of halls or use cones to mark the goals. Of course this is not ideal but will satisfy most intra-school Futsal.
Certainly it is much better to play their game on a proper court, but if you do not have a court available it will not be a limitation as long as you are keen enough to play the game. There are mini games and drills that can be practiced on any sort of floor within limited spaced. Of course, if you have a team training in such conditions, make sure you organize games on a proper court from time to time to keep you players motivated.
Here are some suggested activities for limited spaces:
1. One on one with mini goals. This mini game can be layed in very small areas especially for younger age groups. Two mini goals of one-meter length marked with any sort of markers (cones, chairs, stones) located at each end. There are no keepers.
Variations: - Once you have more space available you can add extra players: 2-on-2, 3-on-3, etc.
- If you have players waiting to play, you can rotate them after one or two minutes or after someone scores a goal. A mini tournament could be organized to motivate the players.
One on one with mini goals
2. Piggy in the middle. One ball between 3 to 10 players (depending on the space available). One player is the piggy in the middle and the other players pass the ball to each other trying not to let the piggy touch the ball. If the piggy touches the ball then the last person who touched the ball before the piggy is made the next piggy. Once the piggy is changed the game starts again.
Variations: - Players are allowed a maximum of two or one touch on the ball.
- If players pass the ball between themselves 5 or 10 times, the piggy must touch the ball twice. A variation of this one is that if the piggy is nutmeg he/she must get the ball twice.
Piggy in the middle
3 – Goal to goal. This game is usually played in narrow spaces. Two 3-metre goals marked with cones, 15 to 20 metres away from each other. One player in each goal trying to score in the other with long shots. If walls limit the space it is recommended that players should not dive when trying to save the opponent’s shot.
Variation: - Divide the court into corridors with cones.
- If the player saves using the feet, he/she can go dribbling and try to beat the opponent closer to his/her goal.
- The same game, but 2 against 2 with players rotating on playing keeper and shooter.
Goal to goal can be played in a park or in a normal training session with the court divided
Exploring the court and teaching the rules
One of the first steps for you to start coaching is to teach the rules and the court lines. Rather than asking the kids to read the rules book or decorate the name of the lines we suggest that you teach by playing the game itself and organizing fun activities where these contents are used as reference. In this way we guarantee environment. Here follow some examples:
4 – Line Tag. One of the players in chosen as a tag and he/she chases the other players. The coach will then designate and by the safe zones where the players can not be touched by the tag, e.g. stand on the side lines, inside the “D”, touching the posts, seated on half way, laid down on the corners, etc.
Line tag is a game in which players explore the court and learn the name of the lines
5 – Line tasks. Coach will ask the players to do tasks on different parts of the court, e.g. 10 push ups on the central circle, touch your nose on the penalty spot, jumping on one foot on the substitution zone, etc.
Diagram next page
6 – Players as referees. Players can referee game under the supervision of the coach. Teach them referee’s gestures and positions. By refereeing, players will learn the rules and at the same time learn to respect the referee, Every time a fault or rule is applied, the coach should discuss with the players what happened and demonstrate the procedure to restart the game.
Players should be encouraged to referee under the supervision of the coach
Below you will find the simplified rules of Futsal. If you are interested in having the Official rules book, contact you state association or check the FIFA site: www.fifa.com
a. Kick off is done from half court and the ball must be played forward.
b. Five players per team on court at once. A maximum of 12 players per team per game can play. Unlimited flying substitutions, e.g. players can re-enter the game as many times as necessary without noticing the referee, except for the goalkeeper.
c. There is no offside.
d. For a ball to be out or a goal scored, the entire ball has to be over the line.
The ball in and out of play
e. From the sidelines and corners the game restarts with a kick-in. The ball is placed on the line and kicked in to another player. The player executing the kick-in or corner can not step onto the court and it has to be done within 4 seconds. Players of the opposing team shall be at least 5 metres away from the spot where the kick-in is being taken.
f. A goal can not be scored from a kick-in unless it touches another player.
g. A goal can be scored from a corner.
h. At the goal clearance, the goalkeeper throws the ball in. In every goal throw the ball has to bounce before half way. When the keeper saves it, then it can be thrown, kicked or drop kicked within 4 seconds.
i. The goalkeeper is not allowed to pick up as back pass from any of his/her team players. Once he/she has made a clearance or a save, the ball cannot be passed to him/her again without it first having passed beyond the half way line or touched by an opponent.
j. Futsal is a non contact sport and slide tackling is not allowed.
k. Direct free kicks: slide tackles, handballs, pushing.
l. Indirect free kicks: back pass, keeper’s two touch, keeper throw past half way, intentional obstructions.
m. Once a team accumulated 5 fouls per half time, a wall will no longer be permitted.
At the 1999 Tiger 5’s tournament in Singapore three rule changes were under trial: introduction of the flying substitution for the goalkeepers, allowing the goalkeeper’s throw to cross half court and decrease the distance of the 12 metres penalty to 10 metres. At the time of this book’s publishing, the Australian Futsal Federation had not incorporated these changes yet.
There are some basic equipment coaches can use to organize a session. Bibs or sashes to identify teams; cones or marks to set up starting positioning, mini goals, obstacles and a whistle. We suggest one ball per player, but of course it is going to depend on the financial conditions.
Bibs, whistle, marks, and alternative equipment
As mentioned before, alternative gear can also be useful, Broom sticks, hoops, bouncing balls, tennis balls, plastic bottles filled with sand and skipping ropes are some of the gear coaches can employ. The use of this gear is always interesting because it is something different and challenging for players.