Futsal is a variant of football (soccer) that is played on a smaller field and mainly played indoors. It can be considered a version of five-a-side football. Its name comes from the Portuguese Futebol de salão, which can be translated as “room football”. It was developed in Brazil in the 1930s and 1940s.
Futsal is also played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football due to the surface of the field. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces. Players of the calibre of Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi to name but a few of the South American legends all played and enjoyed Futsal.
But Futsal has not just helped produce South American football stars, on the European stage Cristiano Ronaldo, Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas amongst many others have played Futsal to develop their skills.
Research indicates that individual’s playing Futsal receive the ball six times more often than they would do when they are playing 11-a-side football, allowing players to perform more individual techniques such as passes, controls, fakes, feints, dribbles and runs with the ball.
As well as touching the ball more often, players will often receive the ball under pressure from opponents developing their confidence on the ball particularly in pressurised environments. Futsal as a game naturally brings players into regular one-on-one situations with their opponent, encouraging players into quick decision- making as to how they overcome these scenarios; this could be through beating the opponent with a skill, or through clever passing to a team-mate.