''There is absolutely nothing wrong with introducing a Futsal curriculum within grassroots football clubs''
When I was approached by Tecnica to write this post, I didn't have a second’s hesitation. The guys are great and operate in the same way I do; development first! This, coincidentally, ties in nicely with the first post.
So, as we kick off another National League Futsal campaign, I thought this would be as good a time as any to ask the all important question......should Futsal be used as a development tool for footballers....?
As I endeavor to get the word out there about Futsal and its endless benefits, I'm met with a lot of trepidation. 'Jumped up 5 a side', 'don't see the point in it' or 'just for foreigners'. All comments I've genuinely had directed at me over the last five years. Of course, I try and educate these people as to what Futsal really is; a fast paced, high intensity, highly technical and tactical game. Some buy it, some don't. Good thing is, I'm not selling it. My reply is simple, try it. If you're not sure, try it. If it confirms your views, fine, at least you've given it a go. In my experience, the problem doesn't lie with the children playing the game. Once they play Futsal, they fall in love with it and can't wait to play it again. Unfortunately, I think we are at war with the egos of those stuck in the dark ages. I struggle to see how people can have an opinion of something they have little or no experience and knowledge about. But boy do they!
I see it as three groups of people. Firstly, there is the aforementioned neigh-sayers, for whom Futsal is a passing thought, and something of little interest. I've found that, no matter what, Futsal will never be in these people’s plans. Then there is the group I like to think I'm a part of. We respect Futsal for what it is, a sport in its own right. I fell in love with the sport back in Hertfordshire and have pushed the sport since I moved to Staffordshire! Once it has you, you are hooked. I'll watch Futsal from anywhere. Spain, Iran, Portugal to name a few. I spend most evenings either watching on YouTube or tweeting about Futsal!
Then, there is a middle ground. A somewhat confused area where the sport of Futsal becomes, in my opinion, slightly undermined. This group is the 'futsal is great for footballers' group. Firstly, let me just say this.......everyone is entitled to their opinion! I often get asked to run Futsal sessions for local clubs. A lot of these clubs don't have much knowledge of Futsal, apart from it will 'make their football teams better'. I openly admit to these people that, yes, playing Futsal will undoubtedly improve their football teams. However, I always insist that Futsal be respected as its own sport and players must understand that if they are to benefit as much as possible from playing it.
However, clubs like the one I currently work with, who are open to the idea of Futsal and running Futsal teams etc, I will always be more than happy to work with.
My second conundrum is a bit tougher........is it acceptable to sell Futsal to the public by using the 'it will improve footballers' tag? Or is that demeaning to the game? It's a really tough question, one I can't quite answer myself. I, like a lot of people, want Futsal nationally recognised and in every school etc. I want an England team to compete with the best in the world. So is it acceptable to use that tag to sell Futsal to the 'neigh-sayers'? Of course, my head says absolutely not but, if it makes people buy into the idea of Futsal, is it a bad thing? Or, and this is what worries me the most, would we end up selling a diluted version of Futsal, ultimately resulting in the game suffering?
I suppose my message is aimed at people that want to embrace Futsal and introduce it at their clubs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with introducing a Futsal curriculum within grassroots football clubs. Many professional clubs play Futsal in the winter months, with a growing number of clubs following this lead all the time. If you think you want to coach Futsal, the resources are out there. Twitter, Facebook etc are all brimming with fantastic people that are willing to help and offer advice. My contribution is the exercise pictured below. It's a simple exercise that works on passing and ball control. It can be used as part of a warm up or to develop players ball control over time. I've used this with National League teams and 10 year olds. The difficulty lies in the speed the players work the ball. That is where you, as the coach, can influence the practice and improve your players.
About the author: Charlie is a talented Futsal coach working hard to educate players from grassroots all the way through to Staffordshire University. He has many great views on Futsal so make sure you give him a follow on Twitter @cbabcoach or follow his blog.
To find out how Tecnica Football Education could help your club with Futsal or if you wish to be contacted about upcoming Futsal events we plan to run then don't hesitate to get in touch!