The short and sweet, yes it is. But before we go on to why, first…
What is Futsal?
First of all, most people believe Futsal is played on a Basketball court, and while we sometimes play it in that space due to gym availability in Guelph, the reality is that Futsal should be played in the large double gyms like the one on Centennial Collegiate (CCVI) or the West End Community Center (or the future South End Center near BMAC).
A Basketball ball court (shown in blue on the right) is very small when compared to a normal Futsal court. A basketball court is 28x15m (420 sq.m.) and a Futsal court is 40x20m (800sq.m.). A Futsal court is nearly twice the size of a Basketball court. Additionally, the penalty area on the Futsal court is quite large, about the width of the Basketball court!
Futsal is a small space soccer game, where players must adapt to quick reaction times, have quick skills and solid ball control, and requires precise team work for success. For these reasons, Futsal is excellent for full size field soccer players to practice and develop.
Futsal is a technical, quick paced, football game played with 4 field players and 1 keeper (5v5 format). Some other rules are different from regular soccer, like kick-ins instead of throw-ins, can’t pass back to the keeper after the keeper passes the ball to his team, goal kicks are performed with the hand (so they are more ball throws), etc.
So, is Futsal good for soccer players?
Most South American and European coaches agree that Futsal develops decision speed, use of skills in tight space, teamwork, attacking mentality. At the Wellington Soccer Academy we believe this as well and that Guelph players benefit greatly from training in gyms during the Winter as opposed to the artificial turf spaces available in town. This is why we schedule most of our sessions on gyms and include games and team competitions in our practices.
Futsal is not a physical game as contact is highly discouraged and this makes it a more technical game. This means that players need to be capable of using both sides of their body and executing the common elements of the game quickly, efficiently and with as little errors as possible. In this case, technical does not mean that the player should take control of the ball and try to play keepings off with his/her direct opponent. Futsal players do not spend much time on the ball, and most of their first touches are usually attacking first touches. In other words, Futsal players often receive the ball and orient their ball control to take an attacking option as fast as possible. In contrast, most outdoor soccer players in Guelph first touch is nearly always towards themselves. Usually this kills the team’s momentum and breaks an attacking opportunity. Outdoor soccer players also tend to loose possession because their passing options get cut off and have to keep the ball longer. This means they are good at controlling the ball, however, often they are not very good as a team. In contrast, Futsal players awareness of what is around them allows them to use their first touch to create attacking opportunities and can get out of tight situations really fast. Futsal players on an outdoor game tend to outperform their counterparts who only play outdoor soccer because of the skills acquired in their Futsal games.
In essence, the speed of the game, the reduced space and the physical demands of the high pace are great for soccer skills development. Plus, many famous professional players from South America played it and grew their skills in it… like our own coach Julio.
Check out this video from FIFA about Futsal: