Team Structure & Ethos

April 23, 2024


I was made aware at one of last night's sessions that some kids 'playing' at local grassroots clubs and not getting any or hardly any game time 🤯

I'm on a Facebook page where clubs are regularly advertising for experienced players or position specific players at younger age groups. Yet we have a number of kids that can't even get on the pitch?!

Most clubs have multiple teams at different age groups but what they class as the top team at that age group are always on the lookout for new players to enhance their squad. Surely the first place you look is to the team below? Who is doing well there and who can we love up a level. If you don't have a defender, give different players a shot in defence?

Our futsal setup isn't perfect but what I do ensure is that EVERY child in our youth teams gets a game. If a team is short of players, the first place they should look is to the level below. This starts at our First/B Team and should go all the way to our youngest age groups. The transition should be prerty easy as our ethos is exactly the same, irrespective of what age group or level you are playing at.

A parent recently commented on the youth teams, "It was pleasing to see one of the younger futsal teams tonight. They played with a clear identity that you see in the senior teams (First & B Team). They moved the ball quickly and played with a great intensity. 4 subs on, 4 subs off. Excellent shape when out of possession."

I have to admit that I have had to remind some coaches of this as some fear that putting in a younger or lower level player will impact on the result.

We have a clear strategy that in our youth section, the main focus is player development ahead of results. We 100% want to win but we want to win following our own ethos and philosophy.

I have also learnt over the years that creating a super team does absolutely nothing for player development. All the best players in one group competing against inferior players at the same age actually has a detrimental impact on all the players.

If this situation does arise, I quickly make changes by moving the whole team up a level and/or reshuffle players to create a more level playing field. 

It's important that players are not training or playing every week in their comfort zone, but we also don't want them to constantly be in a panic zone. The stretch zone is where players are better developed but we sometimes dip players into the comfort zone or panic zone for different challenges for the players and others in the group.

Children need to learn to win and lose but you will be amazed how many parents just want their child in a winning team!!

My advice to parents of children at clubs where they can train but not play is to get your child out of that club. Take them to a club where they feel welcome and have the same opportunities as the more advanced kids. They are more than welcome at futsal.

What we need to remember is that every child is different. They are on their own journey and they should not be compared to others. Some start their football/futsal journey early whilst others start later. Some are physically more developed and have advantages from a younger age whilst some are disadvantaged. In football, you can have two players born 365 days apart at the same age group, and two players born just a day apart in different age groups. What is worse is the players born a day apart are regarded completely differently for selection!!

The beauty of our futsal structure is we are not bound by outdated and unfair SYFA rules. Our players and teams are not stuck in their year of birth. Our age structures are a guide and we place players in our sessions and teams based on ability, biological and mental age. If a player finds it to easy, we move them up levels. If it's too difficult, we move them down. It's as simple as that.

If you want more information or to start futsal, please get in touch.