Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Youth Soccer: Why Futsal?

Like it or not, the best soccer players play year round. I'm an advocate for playing multiple sports at younger ages, but in this day and age the kids who specialize in soccer are the ones who will likely get the coveted high school roster spots.

Year round training means winter training. There are three choices for winter training in the colder climes of the US; indoor soccer with walls, indoor soccer on turf without walls and Futsal.

Futsal is a form of soccer played on a court. The game is played with a comparatively smaller and heavier soccer ball with less bounce. The game is played 5V5 and emphasizes ball control and combination touch passes. The video below explains the game and the benefits.

The Main Point

My daughter's team decided to play Futsal this winter. After watching two games, I am convinced that this game will help her become a better technical player and a better team player. I recommend that all coaches join the Futsal revolution.

Game 183

Sunday morning, I picked CC up at a sleepover birthday party and drove in the snow to the Futsal game. She was tired and really did not want to go. Once she got on the court her mood changed. CC scored 2 goals.


  1. After my basketball camps this summer I realized how bad some of our player’s footwork & non-dominate hand really was. Some players could not jump rope or complete a simple pivot. This why, I am advocate that young players should be multi-sport athletes.

    From a Sports-Science angle a secondary sport will allow athletes to use different muscle groups than normally NOT used in their primary sport.

    What about symmetrically speaking? Have you ever seen an athlete with a strong upper body, but chicken legs for a lower body? Vern Gambetta stated that injuries some time occur on the non-dominate or weaker side of your body. A second sport could be a type of overuse or injury prevention..(I am not a Dr, and I don't claim to be)

    Let the youngsters play in whatever sport they want to until a certain point…Once they reach high school, at that point you have them specialize in one or two sports. My last point is this. Why would you burn a kid out at a young age with the same sport?

    Go ask a guy like Bo Jackson, Steve Kerr, Danny Ainge, or Charlie Ward if playing multi-sports helped them in the long run.

  2. I agree totally - that is why I allow my kids to play multiple sports.

    The problem comes with select sports. Many top echelon basketball and programs require full year commitments. Kids have a tough decision to make.

    I think that there are four choices

    Choice 1 - Play rec level sports and change with each season (i.e. soccer in the fall, rec basketball in the winter and rec baseball / softball in the spring). The pro to this is developing all muscle groups as stated in the comment above. The con is that the best kids are not challenged, not getting the best coaching and not developing skills vis-a-vis the other top kids.

    Choice 2 - Play multiple select sports: Same pros as above without the con from above. The con is the cost, the demands on time and over use injuries.

    Choice 3 - Specialize in one select sport year round. Pros - advance skills quickly. Cons see BCBA comment above. Another con - suppose your kid specializes in a sport that he or she is not suited for. Soccer is all about speed at the older ages. I have seen many very skilled soccer players get jettisoned from teams because they lacked speed. A kid's body changes dramatically - the kid who quits basketball because he is too short, may find himself tall enough but not skilled enough in his teen years.

    Choice 4 - play one select sport but also play other sports for fun. If you are a select soccer player - shoot hoops on your driveway - or find a pick up hoops game at a park. You do not have to be great - you just need to give your other muscles a workout.

    Lots of factors to consider. Lots of choices.

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