Sunday, 6 July 2014

Its not just the South Americans who have small balls




Apparently the reason why the South American countries in general have excellent technical ball skills is futsal and the use of a smaller ball with less bounce.

It has appeared in many World Cup articles that many of the South American's played futsal first with the 'magic' ball that helps train a good first touch, close control and quick feet.

Futsal is a great game and I presume it came about mainly because of the lack of good eleven aside grass pitches. A small sided game that could be played on any small hard surface with a ball to suit. As it is generally 5v5 the players get more touches, make decision making, passes, dribbles, shots and tackles.
It is a great example of how a perceived weakness- lack of eleven a-side grass pitches- can become a strength - lots more people playing with a ball that helps develop skill.

It does not matter how much money you chuck at something, the most simple ideas that everyone has access too are often the best. Anytime, any place, anywhere football.

In the days of street football in this country, predominantly a working class game, few people could afford a proper leather football but luckily there was a much smaller alternative available to the masses of children footballers playing up and down the land -the humble tennis ball.

Unlike the futsal ball is was not designed for the game but purely used because it was affordable. It had incredible bounce and was difficult to control because of its size. That is why it was such a great tool in improving technique and touch.

Bobby Charlton, very much a member of the establishment and someone who would not be in favour of rocking the boat said of the 1966 world cup.

"The World Cup in 1966 was not won on the playing fields of England, it was won on the streets."

A game organised, played and controlled by children using a ball they adopted from another sport.
This is as far from the adult game as you can get.

At the top level in youth football you need some structure and qualified coaches.
For all the money spent on the new complex at Burton, in terms of fun, accessibility, and development there is an awful lot to be said for the jumpers for goalposts, no substitutes, next goal wins, game that was the children's game.

“It wasn’t ideal but, looking back, those games with the tennis ball really helped develop my ball skills. The size of the tennis ball meant that I had to concentrate when it was at my feet. When shooting, I had to hit it just right, otherwise I might not make contact at all. As a consequence, my foot to eye coordination improved immeasurably and my general ball technique came on in leaps and bounds. When I came to play for the school with a proper leather football, I found making contact with the ‘sweet spot’ relatively easy.”

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