“Every boy in Brazil started in futsal – me, Oscar, David Luiz, Ramires, Neymar, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Robinho – everyone”
- Lucas Piazon, Chelsea FC.
What is Futsal?
Futsal is FIFA and UEFA’s recognized format of 5-a-side football that in recent years has been embraced by The Football Association. Played inside on a futsal ‘court’ with a smaller, heavier ball that encourages ball mastery and ball control, the game is played with rhythm and speed that creates quick and controlled pass and move combinations. Originally known as futebol de salao, the name was abbreviated when FIFA became the governing body for sport in 1989. Since then, World and European Championships have taken place, with Brazil and Spain currently occupying the top two places in the FIFA Futsal World Rankings. But now, Futsal is gathering speed in England.
With the FA making positive strides in changing the way our youth players play and are trained, Futsal is also receiving deserved attention. Whether from the lips of some of the world’s finest players or from the research that has been dedicated to the development of talent, one cannot escape the benefits of Futsal.
Both Matthew Syed and Daniel Coyle discuss the scientific advantages of playing futsal in their respective best-selling books ‘Bounce’ and ‘The Talent Code’ that discuss the development of talent. Futsal, as they discuss, is deep practice, and Xavi Hernandez, of Spain and FC Barcelona, agrees:
“In futsal, you see whether a player is really talented. In normal football you don’t necessarily identify talent as easily because it’s so much more physical. But with futsal, you notice the small details in quality, class and tactical understanding”
According to a Liverpool University study, futsal players benefit from touching the ball six times more often per minute than players playing football. The nature of the ball promotes ball mastery and the indoor surface means that the game is quick and intense, with limited time for decision making. Angles and spaces dominate the game whilst players develop creativity and vision that help them pass and move as a group thus developing game intelligence. Xavi’s description of “quality, class and tactical understanding” highlights the focus of ball mastery and game intelligence.
Futsal develops masters of the ball, creative masters of the ball. Futsal develops intelligent players; intelligent, thinking players. Futsal produces deep practice. And in our eyes, deep practice, produces talent.
“As a little boy in Argentina, I played futsal on the streets and for my club. It was tremendous fun, and it really helped me become who I am”
- Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona and Argentina.
The Transition from Futsal to Football
In January 2013, Liverpool paid £8.5m for Phillipe Coutinho. Coutinho grew up playing Futsal.
In Brazil, Futsal provides the foundation of development for many footballers. Ronaldo, Robinho, Ronaldinho and Neymar all developed as footballers through playing Futsal and the technique and creativity of these players is visible, deriving from the deep practice environment that they have been exposed to.
In a typical Brazilian academy, 3 days a week are devoted to futsal. In both Brazil and Spain, futsal is part of the Physical Education curriculum in primary schools.
At Escolla, we believe that such creative & artistic players can be created in this country. At Escolla, we believe that Futsal can provide the perfect platform for development for all aspring footballers.
We use Futsal as a development tool for football and believe that the benefits of futsal create confident, technically proficient, intelligent players.
From players that just love to play the game and love being involved, to players that want to develop to their highest potential, we believe that Futsal provides the perfect foundation for football development.
By creating two development pathways for players, our programme allows players to learn the fundamentals of football on a Futsal court that ultimately improves their football performance. We provide exit routes in futsal for those that wish to pursue the game further, and we provide a development pathway for those that wish to pursue football further and develop as football players.
We feel that our development pathway offers players the chance to develop in both futsal and football whilst maximising the player’s learning experience during the fundamental stage of learning.