In the world of football it is recognised that two of the most skillful footballing nations are Brazil and Portugal. Many of these players from these countries have tricks, flicks and skills that can leave opposition players chasing shadows.
There are perhaps two fundamental reasons behind the skills of the players in these countries. One of which could be pointed at the almost unbridled passion that people have for the game of football. The other is that from youth level upwards teams play a version of the game called Futsal.
Many people believe that it is this format of the game that has influenced the skill levels of players from these countries. This blog post will take a closer look at how Futsal differs from other formats of the game.
What exactly is Futsal?
The first thing to know is that Futsal is essentially a version of five-a-side football. Indoor basketball or netball courts work well as Futsal pitches, with the dimensions being essentially the same. There are quite a few differences from its traditional five-a-side counterpart. However the biggest areas relate to the ball and the touch-line areas.
The official ball that is used is a size 4 which is one size smaller than the type that is used in both five-a-side and full size football. This heavier, smaller ball has been chosen because it delivers less bounce than the larger ones. Naturally with less bounce the ball stays on the ground more and as a direct result of this it demands a greater skill level from the participants. Whilst the ball is allowed to travel above head height, in most games of futsal it rarely does. Players prefer quick passing movements than longer punts up the field.
Kick-in to Restart Play
As discussed earlier the second biggest difference is that the ball is allowed to run out of play. Players who have regularly played five-a-side will know that the ball is always in play, with the exterior boards often being used to by-pass other players.
Futsal is significantly different in so much as once the ball has crossed the exterior lines of the pitch it is returned into play via the opposition kicking it in. These situations place an additional skill requirement, both on opposition players trying to force an attack and of course on the defenders.
In contrast to traditional five-a-side, all players are allowed to enter the penalty area. This means that the goalkeeper must be sharp and responsive to opposition attacks.
Additionally when it comes to substitutions, things are quite a bit different. Futsal features “rolling substitutions”, meaning that players are allowed to leave the field and subsequently return at a later stage.
Five Foul Limits
The originators of Futsal wanted to produce a game that required increased skill levels and less contact. As a result of this they introduced a five foul limit. Put simply this means that after the 5th foul the opposition team is given a direct free kick from 10 meters out. This kick works very similar to that of a penalty in so much as there is no opposition wall to block it.
Experienced players fully understand that several fouls can dramatically increase the chances of the opposition scoring. As a result they try their best to avoid shoulder barging and sliding tackles.
There is an increased following of this form of football in England. For many years, high-profile figures in the game have blamed the lack of progress in major football tournaments to a lack of passing ability in the national team. Whilst there is quite a lot of catching up to do to get on par with the skill that both Brazil and Portugal constantly demonstrate, headway at least is starting to be made.
Up and down the country more and more teams participate in Futsal leagues, which over time will help to raise the general skill levels of players. Older players seem to be more than happy to join in and make the transition from five-a-side. Many of the teams use replica shirts from their favourite teams. A growing number of them use services which allow you to create your own football kits to develop something a little more individual.
Lucas Conner is a writer who believes that futsal is a great training game for learning football skills. He suggests that participating teams should approach companies who help you to create your own football kits as this will make each player feel like part of the team.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
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