Developing the Modern Footballer through Futsal

Futsal Training Exercises for Soccer Coaches

Futsal Training Session: Decision-Making in Possession – No Rest for the Wicked

Recommended Time: 20 minutes

Number of Players: 12+

Futsal Training Exercise

Focus of Session: Passing, movement and feinting to receive.

Objectives: For players to understand when to retain the ball under pressure and when to pass forward.

Organisation: A full court is split evenly into thirds. The first and second thirds are both 2v2, and the final third is 1v1. The goalkeeper plays to his defenders, who then play forward into the next third when able to do so. The ball must go through all of the thirds before the pivot in the final third can score a goal.

Once the ball has been played from the first third to the middle third, the goalkeeper gets another ball and plays it into the two defenders, even though the first ball is still in the middle third. It is therefore possible for the attacking team to be playing with a ball in each third. Once the attacking team has had a set number of chances, or amount of time, the teams switch over with the defenders becoming the attackers.

Coaching Factors:

Play forward as quickly and with as much quality as possible.

If you cannot play forward – i.e. passing lines are blocked or the forward players are still working with a ball in their third – look to keep the ball and retain possession until you can.

Work as a team to look after possession. Rotations and interchanges are essential.

Decisions should be dictated by positions on court and the position of your players and opponents.

Look to combine if possible.

Embrace the pressure. Do not be afraid to receive the ball whilst under intense pressure.

Can players in the middle turn on the ball and play forward?

Attacking players should try and get shots off in 1v1 situations.

Train at match intensity.

Progression Ideas:

Change the number of players in each third to increase the difficulty.

Allow players to drop in and out of zones to underload or overload areas, i.e. if you play forward into a zone you can follow your pass.

Allow the defending team to counter-attack if they regain possession.

Links to Football:

Players need to understand when to play with purposeful possession.

If the ball is played forward too soon then possession is more likely to be overturned. Understanding the context of the game and recognising triggers makes attacks more effective.

When playing out from the back, this knowledge is essential. The modern centre back needs to be comfortable on the ball and able to make effective passes to begin attacks. This drill helps them develop their decision-making and the quality of pass into more advanced positions.

Central midfielders need to be able to receive the ball from their centre back even when they are under pressure. The tight area and close pressure from defenders in this drill helps develop this ability. If possible, they should look to turn in order to play forward.

Forwards regularly isolate defenders in 1v1 scenarios in the final third. They must be devastating with their play.


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Futsal Training Session: Combining to Play Forward in a 3-1 Formation – Transfer Window

Recommended Time: 20 minutes

Number of Players: 9+

Futsal Training Session

Focus of Session: Passing and movement.

Objectives: To develop players’ understanding of when and where to combine in order to exploit opponents and create an overload.

Organisation: A 15x30m area is marked out on court and split evenly to make three thirds.   Players are split into three teams of three, with each team occupying an area of the pitch. This is a transfer game, with the team in the middle defending.

The coach initiates the practice by playing a pass into one of the two teams in an end zone. Once a player touches the ball, the defenders are able to enter the zone belonging to the team in possession. The team in possession is allowed to transfer the ball over to the other team as soon as they receive the ball, but this is classed as a safe forward pass and no score is made. To score a goal, the team in possession must either perform attacking combination plays, such as wall passes, helping passes, or parallel passes, or run with the ball into the middle third and then pass it forward.

If the defending team wins possession they can turn and play the ball to the other team at the opposite end. The team that loses possession becomes the new defenders. If the defending team do not make this pass, however, they stay as defenders. Kicking the ball out does not count as winning possession.

Coaching Factors:

Encourage clever combination play. This can include choreographed moves during possession, such as wall passes, parallel passes, and helping passes.

Players need to understand when to take the risk once an overload has been created in the correct way and when to try and play forward in a safe way to retain possession in high areas.

Decisions need to be made regarding when to combine as a two or three and when to travel with the ball to exploit space.

Futsal players should face forward as regularly as possible.

Create an environment where players feel comfortable under pressure. Emphasise how players can make overloads to alleviate pressure and remind them that they are able to play forward behind the defensive line as a ‘safe pass’.

Progression Ideas:

Once players have travelled with the ball or successfully combined and entered the middle third they then have to attack the opposite end and stop the ball on the end line to score a goal. The three players in this zone become a second set of defenders who attempt to prevent the attacking team from scoring.

Put a goal two metres past the end line. Once players travel with the ball or successful combination play has taken place, the attacking team can try and score past the goalkeeper in the opposite goal.

Links to Football:

Players need to be comfortable when playing under pressure – not only to keep control of the ball, but also in terms of their decision-making. Players must make good decisions at all times on the pitch, regardless of the pressure they are under.

When attacking, teams need to break defensive lines to be successful.

If the pass forward is not possible, teams need to rotate to maintain possession.

In this futsal drill, the team in the opposite zone are not resting. Instead, they are constantly moving to open up passing lines. This mirrors the work on the numbers 9 and 10, who need to move to open up passing lines forward.

In certain moments in a game, however, the number 9 and 10 will need to stay away from their midfielders to allow them space to work in. This drill develops play between midfielders for such instances.



Futsal Training Session: Defending as a Zonal Diamond 1

Recommended Time: 20 mins

Number of Players: 9+

Zonal Diamond Futsal

Focus of Session: Movement and working as a unit.

Objectives: To understand the basics of defending in a zonal diamond.

Organisation: Play in a square of 20x20m (can be played across half a court). Four defenders work together to attempt to win the ball back from an overload of attackers (5+). The attackers score goals by playing passes in between, or through, the defensive players. To prevent this from happening, the four defenders must defend in a tight diamond shape.

Coaching Factors:

Defenders must understand that wherever the ball is, the first defender is the top of the diamond.

The next two players are the wingers. They protect the middle of the diamond and stop passes coming through.

The futsal player furthest away from the ball is the back man. He screens the ball through the diamond and communicates to the other three players.

The defending team should always be in a diamond shape in relation to the ball. The distances between players will depend on the defensive pressure on the ball.

When defending, the role of the top man is to force the ball down one side to half the court. This makes the attacker’s area smaller to play in.

Wingers must press the ball in wide areas and cover when the ball is on the other side.

The role of the back man is to screen the play and be the last line of defence.

Progression Ideas:

Defenders score points by regaining possession within a certain number of passes by the attacking team, i.e. within ten passes.

If the defenders get played through they lose a goal.

Links to Football:

The game of football is played in diamonds. This can be used as a defensive exercise for a midfield four or a midfield playing with a lone striker.

Preventing passes being made through a defensive unit forces opponents to play in wider, more isolated areas of play for longer, increasing the chances of regaining possession.

This futsal exercise encourages defenders to shut off passing lines and can be adapted to work on pressing as a unit. Both are key factors in football.

Alternatively, the attackers, who are playing with an overload, need to have patience during possession. This mirrors a team playing against an opponent who has had a player sent off.