Saturday, October 30, 2010

Five-a-side should always have been the way to go in junior development

Photos: The 1977 article in the Education Department of Tasmania journal "Panorama"

Following my recent article about the Sporting Lisbon Academy, there was some debate about the development of young players.

The Sporting Lisbon Academy players are trained solely in 5-a-side sessions on outside pitches.

The concept may be similar to Futsal, but the latter is, by virtue of its very name, played indoors and on hard surfaces.

Some may consider this an exercise in semantics and a case of splitting hairs because, they argue, five-a-side is five-a-side, regardless of where it is played.

That may be so, but it ignores the fact that true Futsal is played with a different and heavier ball and with its own specific rules.

Nevertheless, the overriding concept is that small-sided games are far more conducive to skill learning for youngsters than the 11-a-side game.

That is the philosophy at the Sporting Lisbon Academy, where the 11-a-side game is used only in league competition.

Barcelona have a similar philosophy at their academies, as indeed, do many clubs around the world.

In Europe and South America, it is generally the rule that 5-a-side is the norm for players under the age of 12 years.

Only when players are in their teens do they play the 11-a-side game on larger pitches. There may be a progression in some countries to the 11-a-side game via 7-a-side, 9-a-side and similar.

One person commented on the previous thread that they would like to see an article I had published in the Tasmanian Department of Education journal “Panorama” about the benefits of 5-a-side football for primary school children.

The article is reproduced above.

It was written and published in 1977, well before the current trend in Australia for small-sided games.

My ideas were met with hostility in some quarters of the junior game, but changes were made, albeit reluctantly in some cases.

Various versions of small-sided games were put in place, but gradually, the 11-a-side version crept back in for some juniors.

It seems inarguable, however, that the basic premise that small-sided games for younger players promotes greater skill development than the 11-a-side version on large pitches is true.

Given our relatively primitive training facilities at senior level (in terms of adequate lighting, quality playing surfaces and size of training areas) I would also argue that incorporating 5-a-side at a club’s night training sessions would do more good than harm.

Few clubs here have the facilities at senior level where one can adequately play 11 v 11 on a full-size pitch in order to work on things such as shape, tactics, pressing and formations.

At least 5-a-side training sessions would result in some skill development, and it would be easy to organise a series of round-robin competitions at training between 5-a-side teams made up of seniors, reserves and under-19s to maintain interest at all times.


Anonymous said...

One can incorporate the essential width and depth and gain many more touches than in 11 v 11, and even 7 v 7. Teams can play in the diamond shape conducive to creating passing lanes in 5v5 with goalies.

4v4 with no goalies is also good.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

no different to futsal..............

Anonymous said...

There is a difference. Futsal is played with a different, smaller, harder ball.

It is also played on an indoor surface.

I'd like to see Corey S expound on the advantages of players playing five a side outdoor football compared to futsal for a footballer's overall development in outdoor 11 a side association football.

Casual Observer

Corey Smith said...

Casual Observer,

I think in an earlier post I discussed the advantages of 5-a-side or Futsal for youngsters overall development for 11-a-side.

I would be happy to answer any questions that anyone might have.

This is a great article, I disagree that 5-a-side is the same as futsal but what I do agree with is that it develops similar things and has a similar development philosophy.

I recently viewed our (vikings futsal) Technical Director Gui Costa do a presentation on the benefits of Futsal for the outdoor game at an international conference run by FCI which included some high profile speakers from the UK such as Michael Beale (Chelsea), Mauricio Marques (CBF) etc and it was a really good presentation. I will try and find a link or copy of this and advise.

Anonymous said...

To be honest I dont come on this blog to listen to what Corey Smith has to say about football

He has never been a great role model for the game

Corey Smith said...

anon 1.06pm,

when you have put something into the sport or are willing to put your name to your post than go ahead and criticize. In the mean time unless you are adding to meaningful discussion on development of players, don't bother writing.

I would be happy to sit down and go through the things you (as an expert) could help me with to be a better role model, I am also very aware of my faults unlike some others and I will continue to work on them and try my hardest to put back into the game which has supported me over the years in more ways than one.


Anonymous said...

Anon 1.06pm, I'm actually very interested to hear what Corey Smith has to say. I don't know how much of his reputation is true,and actually don't care. What I like is that he cleary has a love of the game, and an interest in coaching, player development an the technical side of the game. Unlike you.

Mike Basset,
England Manager

Anonymous said...

Haha much of his reputation is true. I however couldn't care less either. Whether anyone likes it or not he is probably the most knowledgeable person in Hobart to speak about this topic.

If you don't like it don't read what he says.

Anonymous said...

I think It is pretty despicable that some people have attacked Corey the way they have, because of indiscretions on the pitch. He is the first to admit he has issues.

Corey is willing to sign his name on this blog. He is also very popular with young players and is a good role model off the pitch. Players like his coaching sessions. He inspires young players to play football. He also provides a role model as a senior player for junior players.

Not many others under the age of 35 have displayed his dedication to assisting young Tasmanian footballers in coaching. Corey deserves plaudits for this. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious and he is a doer.

I admire what Corey is doing in futsal and Northern Suburbs Junior Association. I'm not the only one.

Back to futsal.

One of the problems as I understand it, is the way players in futsal are taught to receive the ball with the heel of the foot. This is not as good for outdoor football. I would assume 5 a side outdoor ( in the same pitch dimensions as a futsal court) would be more useful for outdoor players. They have exactly the same ball, g surface, but many more touches than full sized 11 v 11.

Casual Observer

Corey Smith said...

Casual Observer,

I am very thankful for the words above. I am also very interested to know your real identity as you seem to know a lot about my work with the sport. I have a few suspicions.

Your comments on the sole of the foot control is true to a certain extent although I have a lot of literature from high profile players and coaches from both Spanish and Brazilian Youth sides (not too bad a youth sides i might add) that state that this skill is one of the most useful used in international football if it is used properly and the technique is correct. They also state that this skill is easier to perfect on a futsal court and this is why you see so many spanish and sth american players using this technique in the outdoor game.

I watched the inter v tottenham this morning and one of the things I noticed was this skill and usage of it by Luka Modric, also his movements throughout the game were very futsal like, I have nothing to back this up but I can only assume from observation this may be from a futsal background? If not it still shows the benefits of using this skill at the top level.

The trap we get into in Tasmania is trying to stop kids using such skills at an early age for fear of them losing the ball or not winning the game, In my opinion it should be priority to refine the skill and technique and when to use it rather than stamping it out. If they perfect it? well who knows what they might be able to do with it?

Anonymous said...

Futsal and 5 a side are very different! Futsal is a very soft game. Sure there is the odd collision but compared to outdoor soccer it is fairly soft; fun, but soft.

Surface is a big issue. I have seen a number of senior and reserve players attempt dummys and tricks during regular season games and have come unstuck. The sole of a futsal shoe and the hard floor are in stark contrast to soccer boots and grass.

Outdoor soccer is about adapting to the conditions. You need good control and an accurate pass over varying distances. You need to create space by using the width and length of the pitch. Support, defending, ball size the list goes on.

Most of these things can be accommodated in outdoor 5 v 5 but in futsal barely any.

I play futsal in the Mens A roster in Devonport so I do enjoy the game, but I disagree that it is good for outdoor dvelopment.

Nick Owen

Corey Smith said...

agree with your view on conditions Nick, this is exactly why Futsal is best for technique development as it is a smooth surface and allows for better control and usage of skills.

I would then argue that it is better to know the skill and technique and then try and adapt it on the big pitch under harder conditions than to not ever know the skill or technique in the first place?

Futsal is not all about tricks and manoeuvrings, it covers all aspects of the game such as spacial awareness, ball movement patterns, vision and decision making, shooting, defending one on one, movement off the ball and improvisation.

Quote -
"thats the game i used to play when i was little, i like it very much" - Zinedine Zidane

Primeiro Futebol de Salon said...

"In futsal you need to think quick and play quick so it's easier for you when you move to normal football (outdoor soccer)." - Pele

"I came out of futsal and developed my skills in this way of football. I play the same way now (in the outdoor game) as I did on the futsal courts as a kid." - Denilson

"When you come to play normal football (outdoor soccer) it's easier if you've come from a futsal background." - Rivelino

"Futsal will always be my first love." - Ronaldo

Anonymous said...

Nick Owen said:

"Futsal and 5 a side are very different! Futsal is a very soft game. Sure there is the odd collision but compared to outdoor soccer it is fairly soft; fun, but soft."

Hahaha i'm yet to play a futsal game where our team hasn't been close to or in fact has had a bust up with the opposing team.

I think this is because our team are a pack of &*#$ AND because players are in close proximity of each and therefore more likley to clash. I know it's not supposed to be and probably isn't in other leagues but playing futsal was far more physical than playing premier league for me (and 10 times more fun).