When it comes to improving your futsal, have you ever wondered what you should be focusing on?
What if one of the most skillful players in the world could give you some pointers?
That’s exactly what I’ve got for you here. I’m sure you’ve already read the exclusive interview I did with Séan Garnier, when he made his futsal debut for London United Futsal Club. If you did, you will already know that Séan is regarded as one of the most skillful guys on this planet. It’s what made him a two-time World Freestyle Football Champion, and street-football legend (you might recognize him from the video game ‘FIFA Street’). He’s a guy worth listening to.
When I met up with him in London, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without getting his top tips to improve at futsal. It was something heavily on his mind as he prepared for his Futsal debut with London United, and I think he’s come up with 6 solid tips that will really help for futsal and other forms of 5-a-side. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
1) Master control with the sole of your foot
“When you see a good futsal team, you will see that their players control the ball with the sole of the foot – even if the ball is coming really fast they will take it with the sole of their foot,” says Séan.
The simple truth is that you can’t play futsal well without being able to use the sole of your foot.
It’s the key way you receive the ball. But it’s more than just a precise way to stop the ball; it also gives you options to instantly move the ball in any direction. It’s a point that you really need to understand (and we’ve covered it in this article about why it is all about the sole-skills when it comes to small-sided football). In fact, that’s exactly what Séan was keen to emphasize, saying: “don’t just stop the ball, come with it, move it forward.” It will give you a huge advantage.
One way to improve your control with the sole of your foot is just simply passing a football against a wall and trapping it with the sole of your foot as it bounces back. As you get better, concentrate not only on stopping the ball, but on rolling it in different directions as you receive it. But if you want to take your sole-skills to a whole new level and improve your fitness in the process then you need to check out our sole-skills workout for futsal / 5-a-side.
2) Understand the way to move
As Sean puts it, “you have to understand how to go out of the vision of your defender”. That means making those little runs that unsettle a defender and create some precious space for yourself.
Here’s Séan himself illustrating exactly how to do this in three steps (from a warm-up routine he did pre-match):
There’s an old saying in football when it comes to movement: “your first move is for the defender”. In other words, you make a decoy movement to trick your opponent and free yourself from their attention.
By running beyond the defender and out of his field of vision, they will be forced to look round, and adjust their position. As they’re adjusting, you cut back away from them and receive the ball in the space that has been created.
It’s a solid move that really works. It’s even more effective if you can make sure you’re receiving the ball on the half turn – if you want to understand why, check out this article about playing on the half-turn, it’s a small change players can make for a big improvement.
3) Be confident in your ability
We’ve all seen players occasionally having a couple of bad touches early on in a game. Who knows, maybe it has happened to you.
The fact is, we all make mistakes from time to time. Not even Séan gets all of his tricks to work every time. The key is to have confidence and self-belief to dust yourself down and try again. As Sean says: “If you lose the ball or make a mistake but you are really confident you forget about it”.
Not dwelling on your mistakes will keep your concentration on the game, and leave you free to show what you’re good at the next time the opportunity arises.
4) Develop your all-round game
Speaking of what you’re good at, try to work on building your skills across a number of areas. As Séan says: “It’s like a war; if you only have an air-force you won’t win the war. You need soldiers, tanks, different weapons. In football, it’s the same; if you can only control the ball with one foot, you only have one weapon.”
It’s no good being able to an incredible step-over skill if you can’t shoot, pass or defend. Make sure that you have a full range of weapons you can use on the futsal court by working on all areas of your game. Séan, a guy who spends most of his time working on tricks and dribbles still has an excellent pass, shot and defense on him. That’s because he has worked hard on them in the past.
5) Be creative
Futsal is an incredibly tactical game; players must know their role within the team and must follow a game-plan if they’re going to be successful.
But it’s important not to let the system take away your creativity. If everybody becomes too robotic then that’s not going to lead to good futsal. Séan has the following advice: “there are a lot of tactics to think about in futsal, but don’t forget about doing your own things.” Make sure that your own individual skills and talents don’t get drowned by the demands of the team. When you get the opportunity, make sure you show what you can do.
6) Have fun
If you’re not doing that, what’s the point even playing?
If you’re not enjoying your futsal then stop and think about what needs to change. Whether it’s your attitude; the way you’re playing; or the people you’re playing with, find a solution that works for you. Futsal is such a great game with so many physical and mental benefits that you don’t want to miss out on.
That’s where 5-a-side.com can help. This is a site for players of all small-sided football, including futsal, aimed at helping you get the most out of your game – subscribe and join our community for more tips now!
What do you think?
What would you add that Séan doesn’t have on his list? Share your tip in the comments below.
Other great articles:
Our exclusive interview with Séan on futsal, skills and nutmegging Neymar
See Séan in that epic old man commercial – Séan disguises himself as an old man before surprising a group of futsal players with his amazing skills
Sole-skills for Futsal – a 15-minute workout that will dramatically increase your skills and your fitness
Pre-match meal guide – do you know what’s best to eat before Futsal?