Playing indoor soccer (or urban futsal) can be one of the most exhilarating experiences when playing any sport. There are many benefits of playing indoor soccer that help your outdoor game. It’s a discipline where skill, speed of play, and intelligence all play such a monumental role that there is no doubt that you’re going to come out of that sport as a much better athlete, especially when it comes to adjusting to the outdoor game.
Neymar on futsal:
“Futsal had a massive influence on me when I was growing up. It’s a very demanding game and it really helped to develop my technique, speed of thought, and ability to perform moves in tight spaces. I think futsal is a fundamental part of a footballer’s life.”
“When you’re out there playing, you’re forced to think fast and move faster – if you lose a second, the ball will be gone. It’s a more dynamic game and it’s come in handy at Barcelona. When we play there’s not much space on the pitch so you need to react quickly on the field. There’s no doubt futsal has helped me a lot in my career, it’s one of the biggest passions in my life.”
Because indoor soccer helps develop players, you will notice many clubs have incorporated indoor soccer into their training schedule to develop their players in different ways.
What are the specific benefits of indoor soccer for outdoor soccer?
Below are some of the most important benefits from playing indoor soccer:
1. Capacity to play at a faster pace.
Given that indoor soccer is played on much smaller pitches than its outdoor counterpart, this results in much faster pace that can be quite challenging for those players that are not used to this frame and it forces them having to adjust to the quicker circumstances.
Having said that, there is a long-term gain from this: players will become much better in terms of handling faster paces during the matches on outdoor soccer where more players can try to trap you in small areas in just seconds. Because indoor soccer never stops, this helps a player’s endurance, keeps players on their toes, and helps players quickly find their ways out small areas. All these demands help in the outdoor game as players improve technical, physical AND mental demands.
2. Improving skills in small spaces
The best players of outdoor soccer need to have enough skill to play on small spaces, as they are surrounded by opponents, and have to find a way out with nothing but their own skill. These necessary skills are where indoor soccer can have a lot of influence. To succeed, players must learn how to play in small places because of the pitches’ size, which in return is going to make players much more technical and crafty when under pressure in small areas.
Although important, a soccer game is not always about passing, and dribbling skills are an instrumental aspect of the best soccer players. Some of the most exciting parts of watching the Premier League, La Liga, or the MLS are when a player can “humiliate” an opponent by dribbling out of an area where there was no way out.
Here are five dribbling skills to help your indoor games (Youtube)
3. More interactions with your teammates.
Both indoor and outdoor soccer are team sports and therefore you must constantly make a lot of emphasis on being connected with your teammates (always “checking your shoulder”). Knowing where teammates are all the time can make a major difference in the way the match is going to unfold, which is something that is particularly true with indoor soccer. Making these good habits in indoor soccer will greatly enhance the “soccer IQ” for the outdoor game.
There are a lot more quick, yet shorter, passes and interactions with your teammates in indoor soccer because of the size of the pitch. The fact that your opponents can close you down a lot faster makes it more natural to want to interact with teammates and try to connect with them more often.
This is particularly great for outdoor soccer in the long-term because players would be more used to passing to one another, and their mutual understanding would be a lot more developed, which would result in better interactions on your team. On a larger field, short passing also draws opponents in close, leaving areas of space to get in between, or behind, opponents creating more opportunities to go to goal.
4. The heavier ball improves the players’ strength.
This is a benefit that is not mentioned much, but it can make a major difference on outdoor soccer.
To be simple about it, the ball on indoor soccer tends to be heavier and this usually results in players developing a lot more strength to pass the ball, which can be quite useful at long-term in outdoor soccer where the ball is a lot lighter and much easier to pass around during the match.
The stronger your players, much more capable on both versions of soccer.
5. It so much fun!
Players talk about “playing in the street” and that is where they really learned their craft. Besides all the benefits to develop as a player, a main reason why indoor soccer/futsal is such a tremendous sport is because it is so much fun. Because of the non-stop action, players can not let down, and try so hard to score and not get scored on, all within 10 seconds. Whereas outdoor soccer has slow moments and build ups, indoor soccer is always on, which creates a drive during the game and passion for the sport which will grow as a player play more of the game. Usually, once started, players don’t want to stop!
Play both indoor and outdoor soccer!
Overall, indoor soccer is a wonderful discipline where teamwork, skill, entertainment and a lot more combine for a great experience. Al the tools learned on the smaller pitch or court can only improve your skills and game sense on the larger field.
Evolve Soccer LA has the benefit of an indoor futsal court and a larger turf field outside. We even offer special futsal skills classes. Although there is different touch you need on each field, playing on either is lots of fun and prepare player so many ways for the larger field. All you need to do is ask any professional player and probably all have had spent many, many hours on indoor soccer field or a futsal court. Maybe you are next!
Evolve now a US Futsal League (USFL) Affiliate
In June 2019, USYF granted Evolve Soccer LA the special honor of being an US Soccer affiliate, one of only two in Los Angeles. Check out the USFL site for more information about the Futsal League and h0w you can sign up a team at Evolve for the winter program.