Futsal is a thrilling indoor game that is quite similar to soccer. Interest in this game has been growing rapidly with time, all over the world, among the young and the old.
In futsal, the players follow rules that are quite similar to those in soccer, with some exceptions.
As opposed to soccer, futsal is played indoors, uses a small ball, and each team has five players.
Futsal is a fun game for teams that either don’t have access to a soccer field or simply want to play indoors on smaller fields.
If you are looking for a fun indoor game that you can engage in, or you want to learn more about futsal, then keep reading.
Basic Rules in Futsal
Size of ball
Futsal is normally played with a size 4 ball which is smaller than a regular soccer ball (size 5). The size 4 ball is a bit heavier and bounces less, which makes it better for this indoor game.
Unlike soccer, which has 11 players per side, Futsal has 5 players on each side. One player is chosen to play the goalkeeper position.
Each team should also have one dedicated attacker. The attacking player, also known as the pivot, leads the team when it is playing offense.
You should also select one dedicated defender for each team. This player, also referred to as the last man, remains within the team’s half so that they can defend any offensive play from the other side.
The other two players are referred to as the wingers, and they play in the midfield.
Unlike soccer that has 45-minute halves, the halves in futsal are 20 minutes long. Another difference between soccer and futsal is that in futsal timing stops once the ball is not in play. In soccer, timing continues even when the ball is not being played.
If the two futsal teams tie at the end of normal time, you can add more time (overtime) and the team that scores first during the extra time wins.
Touching the ball with your hands is not allowed
This is something futsal has similar to soccer. Futsal players cannot touch the ball with their hands. However, the use of any other body part to stop or redirect the ball is allowed. Shouldering is allowed as long as the player keeps their elbow down.
Each team is entitled to a single timeout per half
Unlike soccer that does not allow any time-outs, in futsal, each team is entitled to 1 time-out for each half. However, time-outs are not transferable to the other half – if a team does not take their first-half time-out, they cannot have it in the second half. They can only use the second-half timeout.
If the ball goes out of the designated play area, kick it back into play
In soccer, if the ball goes out of bounds, it is thrown back into play. In futsal, the ball is kicked back into play. There are however some additional futsal rules regarding out-of-bounds balls.
If a futsal ball touches the ceiling of the indoor field, it is considered to have gone out of bounds.
If a futsal ball goes out of bounds, the player that kicks it in is not allowed to make an on-goal shot and score. The player can, however, pass the ball to a teammate who can then score.
Access to unlimited substitutes
Unlike soccer that only allows three substitutions per team, futsal allows as many substitutions as you would wish. The substitutions, however, have to be made in the designated substitution zone.
The area that is right in front of the respective team’s bench is the substitution zone
Futsal is usually a high-speed and aggressive game. It is therefore advisable to use your substitutes in a strategic manner so that tired players can get some time to rest.
Substitutions for sent- off players
In futsal, if a player is sent off for some reason, the team can substitute the sent-off player with another player after two minutes or as soon as the other team scores.
Futsal goals are two feet smaller than the standard soccer goal
Futsal Offensive Strategies
Play towards the sidelines
A futsal field is smaller than a soccer field. Wingers should try and play as wide as possible (by playing out towards the sidelines) so that they leave more space at the center of the field for passes. This could be helpful in offensive play.
When a teammate moves, move into where they were located
In futsal, it can sometimes be challenging to find a spot that you can move to, but if your teammate moves and thereby leaving an open position, you can move and fill up the position left by the teammate. Staying in one position for over 3 minutes is not recommended.
If you have the ball, move towards the defenders. If you do not have the ball, move away from the defenders
Moving towards the defenders when you have the ball will give you a chance to push past them. If you don’t have ball possession, moving away from the defenders opens up the field thereby creating opportunities.
Be generous with your passes
This is a game of fast moves and high energy. Passing the ball more increases the chances of scoring a goal.
More passes to push through the defenders
Because futsal is played on a smaller field, the defense can be very effective in blocking your on-goal shots. Your offense team should expect to make more passes among themselves while trying to break down the defensive formation. Don’t be in a hurry to take on-goal shots, but be patient with disorganizing the defense first.
Futsal Defensive Plays
Fight for the ball
Futsal is a more aggressive game compared to soccer, and you will have to fight a lot to steal the ball from your opponents.
When playing defense, be alert about where the ball is and look for opportunities to take it away from your opponents. If the attackers lose control, you should be ready to seize the chance without any delay.
However, you are not allowed to hit, hold, trip or push an opponent. Doing this will cause the opposing side to be awarded a direct free kick.
Sliding tackles are also prohibited. Some of these fouls can have you sent off the game. Basically, any move that is considered a foul in soccer is also a foul in futsal.
If a player fouls another player from the other team, the get a yellow card. If a player gets two yellow cards within one game, or if they commit a major foul, they receive a red card.
Always be ready to sprint
As we mentioned, futsal is a fast-paced game, and there is no resting with this one. Staying crouched forward such that your weight rests on your toes will help you sprint and defend when the need arises.
Disrupt the attacker
Your aim should be to put so much pressure on the player with the ball such that they lose focus and get confused about how to move from there. This way you can steal the ball from them.
Defend from behind the ball
As a defender, you should always ensure that you defend while behind the ball so that you create a wall that will be difficult for the offenders to penetrate.
Tips to Improve your Futsal Skills
Like in any other sport, becoming proficient in futsal will require you to be persistent, dedicated, and have the right mindset.
You should also respect the learning curve – by understanding that you won’t be a pro overnight. Below are some tips that can help you become a better futsal player.
Use the sole of the foot to control the ball
If you have observed great futsal players, you may have noticed that they use the sole of their feet a lot, to control the ball and sometimes to stop a fast ball.
Doing this is not only effective in ball control, but also provides you with many options. By using the sole of your feet, you can dribble, make a soft but accurate shot, or even move in any direction.
This can be very advantageous in futsal. There are multiple drills that you can participate in to improve your ball control.
Be great at passing the ball
Due to its nature, futsal demands that you be generous with your passes. Being able to make precise passes will, therefore, prove to be very beneficial in this game.
Making an accurate pass involves exerting just the right amount of force, enough to propel the ball so that it reaches the target and not so much so that the recipient can receive it easily.
One of the exercises that can enhance your ball passing is done by placing two cones near a wall, with the two cones being a short distance from each other.
You then aim at passing the ball between the two cones and onto the wall. As you get better with time, you can reduce the distance between the two cones so that you enhance your passing precision.
Know your role
To be a great futsal player, it is essential to understand what is expected of you in whatever role you play. As a goalkeeper, offender, defender, or winger, you should know what your position entails, what you are supposed to do, and how you should do it. One crucial point is not to leave your zone exposed for no apparent reason.
Have a system
Just like in soccer, there are multiple team formations in futsal, all with their own strengths and downsides.
Other than selecting a team formation, ensure that each member of the team understands what the formation entails, and most importantly, make sure that you stick to the formation during the game.
You can perform drills whereby you try different systems and then go with the most effective one for your team.
Know your next move
Having an idea of what your next move would be even before you receive the ball can be beneficial in futsal. As we mentioned, futsal is a fast-paced game that requires you to avoid any time wastage when you finally get hold of the ball. Being aware of your teammates’ positions and noticing any gaps and open spaces, can be instrumental in being ready for the next move.
Avoid reacting without a plan when you receive the ball. Instead, be proactive so that you can be ahead of the curve and increase the chances of beating the other team.
Be good at dribbling
A great futsal player needs to be great at dribbling. Since futsal is played in small fields, dribbling skills will help you get out of tight spaces when surrounded by players from the opposing team, or when pushing through the opponent defense.
Becoming good at dribbling takes a lot of effort. You should endeavor to be able to dribble while looking up – this allows you to look for any passing and shooting opportunities while also being able to see any impending attackers.
As you might have realized by now, futsal is a very tactical game. It is crucial that you plan your play before the game starts, but what happens if certain conditions change in-game? This is where your creativity should kick in.
Your pre-game strategy may not always work, and in such situations, you need to creatively re-strategize without losing momentum.
Playing futsal is a lot of fun, and that would explain why the game has become very popular in the recent past.
As we have seen above, futsal shares many similarities with soccer. The two games also have a few differences.
To be successful in this game, you need to exercise and gain various vital skills. This guide will help you learn how to play futsal successfully.