During the winter months, Soccer Xpress offers additional opportunities for players to enhance their skills. In November and December Futsal is offered and in January and February there is opportunities with Indoor Soccer.



Futsal

Futsal is played on a a gym floor, using a smaller pitch (i.e. basketball court). Futsal is played between two teams typically consisting of 5 players, and unlimited substitutions are allowed. Futsal is also played with a smaller, heavier ball with less bounce than a typical soccer ball. Due to the hard playing surface (i.e. gym floor) and smaller ball this creates an emphasis on player creativity, technique, and improvisation; as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.


Benefits of Futsal:

Touches on the ball – giving only 4+GK on the field enables the players to touch the ball much more often than in a regular 11v11 or the recreational 7v7 game. Players will find the ball at their feet more often than ever before and will have just a split second to deal with it. ...and it's going on non-stop.

Foot skills – instead of touching the ball less than ten times in a 30 minutes outdoor half, during a Futsal game, players will be able to touch the ball close to a hundred times in each half. Their foot skills will develop rapidly: it is a constant passing game spiced up with some individual flair of dribbling skills.

Finishing and GK training – shots are fired and  in every ten seconds!

Quick thinking – the ball and the players are moving fast. The minimal time to process the information presented by the actual situation demands quick execution. Also, at every restart the ball has to be released in less than 4 seconds.

Reading and anticipating the flow of the game – quicker thinking and responding will enhance the player's ability to read the flow of the game better and ahead of time. Playing proactively rather than just reacting to the game will bring success on the Futsal court, and will transfer over to the soccer field.

Transition – teams attack and defend together. In soccer (in the 11v11 game also!) once we lose the ball we are all defenders, when we win the ball back now we are all attackers. Given the small number of players and the tight space provided, in Futsal this is more emphasized. Winning and losing possession of the ball will happen quickly; hence changing gears from defense to attack and attack to defense require super fast execution in the mind and in the feet.

Small sided environment – the players will be exposed to numerous 1v1, 1v2, 2v1, 2v2 situations. These are key elements of the 11v11 game also. If a team and its players are not good in 1v1 and 2v2 situations, and if they can not perform efficiently and successfully in those small fragments of the game, then they won't be able to perform successfully on the big field when they play the 11v11 game. It is like a big puzzle that is missing small pieces (isn't it frustrating?). The outdoor game is never an 11v11 fight. It is a 1v1, 2v1, 3v2 battle (e.g.: right wing vs. left back, etc.).

No dasher board – the ball will go out of bounce just like in the real game. In fact playing the winter months on a dasher field will develop lots of bad habits and it will haunt players during the spring season. In Futsal they have to have the control over the ball, or find a supporting player instead of the wall to be able to keep the ball.

The field of play – is small and the floor is a fast paced hardwood or PVC surface. Players who are efficient and successful within this limited space and quick surface, will be very efficient and very successful during the outdoor games, and will be ahead of the game compared to those who don't play Futsal.

Tactical awareness – being so close to the ball and having the chance to make an impact in the game will present unlimited amount of decision making opportunities to the players. Tactics is decision making. We all can teach kids how to control and turn with the ball, how to chip over the GK, how to pass in short or long range, etc.; but we can not teach decision making. In practices we can only create the environment that is conducive to learning and facilitate activities where options are presented to the players. This way they will not need to rely on us coaches to think for them and be their “mental crutch”. Players don't need the coach “joy-sticking” them from the sideline. Not making and carrying out those decisions on their own would greatly hinder their development.

Whole body workout - from the mind (visualizing and hearing, information processing and deciding, then quickly acting upon) through the body (movements such as twisting, turning, jumping, running, dribbling, passing, shooting, diving carried out constantly; and sweating a whole lot) to the spirit (experiencing excitement, fulfilled with the joy of playing in a non-stop fashion) – the whole person is involved in an intense, challenging and fun experience. . . . There is no comparison!

Team bonding experience – playing in such environment will bring up lots of emotions. The players will experience lots of joys together and will have the chance to deal with frustration sometimes as a team also. It will be a great supplement toward building their unity.

Opportunity to develop self discipline – officials are strictly enforcing the modified rules of Futsal. It is a game of finesse with quick mind and quick feet. Similar to basketball, in Futsal teams can collect one too many foul and they will be penalized. A penalty kick will be awarded against them.

Expressing one's personality through the game –  Play Beautiful! Speak with your feet, not with your mouth!

At last, some food for thought - How is it that Netherlands is smaller than Pennsylvania, still they are producing world class players on a regular basis since the 1970s? . . .

 


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