As the sponsor of Central Jersey Futsal, SOCCERSKILLZ has teams playing in the Central Jersey Futsal based league, that train in a futsal environment. Recently one of those SOCCERSKILLZ trained teams played an outdoor game and the referee was an academy coach who from time to time referees this SOCCERSKILLZ trained team. After the game was over the referee asked what type of activities does the team train with as he said the team's passing not only has improved drastically but they can possess the ball at will. He went on to comment that if his academy team, same age as the SOCCERSKILLZ trained team, could pass the ball and possess the ball the same way the SOCCERSKILLZ trained team could, they would be unstoppable. By the way, his academy team is a highly ranked team in the state of New Jersey. He said although they win plenty of games and get positive results they are like robots. They do not possess much creativity and they rely mostly on their physicality to win 1v1 battles, possess the ball and create scoring opportunities.
Well, now you may ask...
What is wrong with that? They are winning battles possess the ball and create scoring opportunities. Isn't that the object of the game? To non-soccer people yes... To people who know and understand the sport probably not. First of all, if the academy team plays against another team that has the same physicality, player for player and skill set, and if the other team can pass the ball better is more creative and can understands how to move off the ball create space with passing to exploit lanes chances are they will win the game. The physical game only wins if a team is superior to another team, and we see a lot of this in youth soccer. But if the physicality is a non-factor, the skill set is equal, now other things come to play, like player thinking, ball movement, on and off the ball, creativity, creating lanes, exploiting space, taking advantage of miss matches and so many other variables. Physicality only wins games if the other team is less physical and does not have any other qualities as mentioned previously. At the youth level physical teams can get away with just that. As the players get older and play for better teams mostly all players have physicality and skills, or if they do not have all the other qualities discussed earlier. Therefore, teaching the game from just a physical aspect does not serve players in the long term.
So, my answer to the ref./academy coach was: What you see is a product of many years of teaching them passing and moving, playing in a small sided environment, learning to develop not only individual skills but team skills. Learning how to be creative and allowing them to be creative. We do not sit on the sidelines constantly barking directions. We are not developing robots but free-thinking soccer players. Futsal has a lot to do with this kind of development. It's a fast pace game which does not allow physicality. A player must be sound with their individual skills, be able to think fast and always move. It's a 5v5 game that all players must move, no real set positions other than the keeper who can also play as a field player. Creativity is at an all-time high in futsal. Coaching from the sideline is very difficult as the game is so fast, by the time a coach blurs an instruction the play is already over, therefore a player must think for themselves and must think fast. Futsal is also played on hard surfaces as opposed that of slower turf surfaces making the game even faster.
Being able to play a "Barcelona" style of game as we teach at SOCCERSKILLZ futsal and soccer training is a long-term development method, but it provides solid results as opposed to quick physicality methods that although provide immediate results fail in the long run.
To get a firsthand idea of how the SOCCERSKILLZ futsal training in New Jersey works check out our programs and come for a free training session.