The dispute of any sport modality always involves some level of strategy. But when we refer to collective sports, this takes on even greater importance. After all, a team’s success depends on all players working in harmony to achieve the same goal. And futsal is far from being an exception. It is enough to analyze the variants of the futsal defensive system, for example, to verify the relevance of the strategy in this sport.
By applying tactical systems efficiently, a futsal coach can extract the best that his athletes can offer. Your individual skills and competitive advantages can make the difference, while your weaknesses are mitigated by the coordinated action of teammates.
However, it is practically impossible to train strategies and put them into practice on the relevant occasions without having reached a reasonable level of tactical knowledge and ability to read the game. Therefore, we will present concepts and methods that every futsal coach must master in order to achieve the best results. Come with us!
What is game reading?
Game reading, in general terms, is the ability to analyze the tactical behavior of the teams faced. What vulnerabilities is the opponent demonstrating and how can my team exploit them? Considering the characteristics of the opponent and the way he is positioned on the court, is the exchange of passes the most productive way to overcome his defense or would it be better to invest in counterattacks?
By answering these and other questions, a coach with a good reading of the game can quickly identify not only opportunities to reach the goal, but also the weaknesses presented by the team itself.
Note, however, that the coach will be of no use having the exact perception of the entire dynamics of the match in front of him, if he does not have the necessary means to change the course of events in his favor. In other words, reading the game is fundamental, but it becomes useless if it is not accompanied by a variety of strategies previously assimilated by the players and ready to be adopted during the course of the game.
What is the teaching-learning-training triad?
Imagine that a coach noticed that there was a lot of slowness in the lateral displacements of the opponents. This deficiency could be well-exploited through a sequence of quick passes, opening space for a kick or infiltration. However, as the players on your team do not have the fundamentals of the pass properly settled, this opportunity is wasted.
This is just one example of how difficult (or sometimes even impossible) it is to put the planned strategy into practice without the necessary technical resources. It is at this point that the teaching-learning-training triad, crucial for Physical Education pedagogical methods , gains importance.
It is up to the futsal coach, at first, to convey to his players the fundamentals that will inevitably be required on the court, such as ball handling, dribbling, passing and finishing. Next, it is necessary to ensure that the athletes have assimilated the correct methods of executing each fundamental.
Finally, the exhaustive repetition of the movements will make them practically automatic and integrate the repertoire of all the athletes on the team, according to their abilities and individual characteristics, obviously.
Thus, once the teaching-learning-training triad is implemented, the variations of strategies in game situations, according to the opponent’s behavior and characteristics, can be fully explored.
How to improve game reading and put it into practice?
study your opponents
Previously analyzing the strategies adopted by opponents and devising tactics to make them less efficient is an excellent exercise to improve game reading. Study the attack systems employed, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each opponent. Identify the most skilled players, who pose the greatest danger to your defense, and create ways to make it difficult for them to act.
By studying opponents in advance, the element of surprise is virtually eliminated and the trend is that fewer significant adjustments need to be made over the course of the match.
Develop your players’ specific skills
No futsal athlete can afford to enter the court without knowing how to pass, dribble or carry the ball, among other fundamentals. However, depending on the role that a given player plays, it is important that he is a true expert in some skills.
The fixed, for example, must have an accurate pass and be efficient in disarming. Wingers need to be quick and agile, both in transitions, offensive and defensive, as well as in passing. The pivot must be a specialist in ball control and finishing.
Dedicating yourself to improving the specific skills of each player will inevitably make the adopted strategy produce better results.
Train variations of the futsal defensive system
Possession of the ball is of paramount importance in futsal for at least two obvious reasons, but which can never be forgotten. First, because, with very few exceptions, only the team that has the ball at its feet scores a goal. Secondly, because as long as your team has possession of the ball, it is unlikely that the opponent will score a goal.
Therefore, the act of regaining possession of the ball is vital and is directly related to the adopted defensive system. Depending on the opponent or the moment of the match, zone marking may be the most appropriate. In other cases, individual tagging proves to be the most efficient. And when the opposing team has a technically differentiated player, the mixed system is often chosen.
In any case, training the different marking systems and ensuring that your players know exactly what roles they have to fulfill in each of them will always be a precious asset.
Why should every trainer stay current?
Sports science is constantly evolving, improving existing methods and techniques, incorporating concepts from other areas of knowledge and developing new pedagogical processes. Added to this is the great positive impact that technology has provided by providing extremely reliable and useful data and statistics in decision-making processes.
Thus, it has never been as important as it is now to invest in training and updating. The universe of futsal, as well as the sport in general, is being bombarded daily with relevant innovations, which make a difference in training and, mainly, in the performance of the coach.