Indoor soccer is a sport that is fast catching the fancy of the commercial public, but playing soccer indoors has been around for decades now. All the top soccer players in the world today have played indoor soccer at some stage or the other, and they also train and hone their skills in an indoor soccer arena from time to time. The basic rules are the same as regular soccer, the only difference being the number of players per side and the lack of the ball going out-of-bounds at the sides of the arena.
In some quarters it is also known as Futsal and there are many countries where official Futsal tournaments are held. The dynamics of the game change when it is played indoors though, so indoor soccer coaching is quite different from regular soccer coaching. The basic drills for conditioning the players bodies and building their stamina will be the same, but there are many other subtle skills that it requires which can only be built upon with the right coaching techniques.
Coaching an Indoor Soccer Team
The most important thing to remember in indoor soccer is that there are no formations and specific positions that the players need to stick to (except for the goalkeeper). All the other players in the team need to be prepared to scale the arena up and down regularly, and defend and attack in equal measure. In some of its games, the ball is allowed to bounce off the side walls without going out-of-bounds, so players also need to learn how to use these surfaces to their advantage. This is something that can only be achieved with the right kind of coaching.
Coaches of youth teams also focus a lot on indoor soccer drills and practice matches because playing the sport definitely builds up the technical skills of players. There is no hope of hitting long balls in an indoor arena so everyone needs to focus on controlling the ball, passing it over short distances and utilizing some dribbling skills to get past opponents.
One Touch Passing
The coach of a youth team, or any other team, should always focus on building the one touch passing skills of the players. In indoor soccer this is the best weapon since the spaces that are available are very limited. The ability to quickly make an accurate pass with one touch is something that will make any team efficient, so the coach must devise several drills in order to incorporate this.
Pass and Move
The greatest soccer team in the world right now is FC Barcelona, and if you have seen the way they play, you will know what this means. The idea is to move the ball around very fast with small touches and over small distances, with the sole purpose of keeping possession of the ball. This is a style known as Tiki Taka and this is something that comes very handy in indoor soccer. Simply passing the ball is not enough, as a player needs to make a pass and then quickly move into empty space so that he can get the ball back as soon as possible.
Enhance the Technique
The underlying premise to learning indoor soccer is to have excellent technique and dribbling skills. This is something that can only be achieved through practice and intense drills. Different coaches will have different techniques to build the dribbling skills of players, and this is something that needs to be intensely focused upon. Here are some tips that coaches and players should keep in mind while performing technique building drills.
- Always try to shift your body between the ball and the opponent who is marking you. This way they will never be able to steal the ball.
- It is always best to keep the ball as close to your body as possible. Touching it with the active foot often will help achieve this.
- It is important to look up and observe the players in the game rather than simply stare at the ball while dribbling with it. Always keep your eyes up.
- Master the art of controlling the ball with soft touches. Heavy touches will cause the ball to move away from your body while you are attempting to control it, and this will give the opponents a chance to steal the ball away.
- In indoor soccer always try to keep passes on the ground. High balls or bouncing balls are tough to control in an indoor arena so it is best to avoid making such passes.
- The trainer should create some drills for players that involve kicking the ball against a wall and then controlling it. This will improve their ball control skills.
- The most important thing is to prepare players for the transition period. In soccer, when a player loses the ball he needs to track back immediately and try to win it back. Simultaneously, his teammates need to switch from attack to defense instantly. The teams that can manage this transition period the best, are often the most successful.
Even though there are no fixed positions on the arena, it is important for the coach to determine who the best shooter of the ball is. Every team will have one player who is adept at shooting the ball powerfully and accurately, and everyone should be instructed to pass to this player as often as possible, when the goal is in sight.
There will be another player who will be better at dribbling and moving past opponents, so he should be given the responsibility of carrying the ball forward and dominating possession. All such things will have to be learned by an indoor soccer coach over time.