I had intended to do a daily blog from Finland but I underestimated the workload and time that we actually had. It was really intense with our days starting at 7am and finishing between 8 and 10pm. This was challenging but thoroughly enjoyable with lots of learning points for myself as a coach and Futsal Escocia as an academy and a club.
The course is made up of Finnish coaches and foreign participants, some of whom have played and coached at the very highest level of futsal and what is really refreshing is how much they want to share their experiences with others. We are learning from each other. Different training methods, different philosophies and different cultures.
As you can see from the schedule below, our first 4 days covered a number of aspects including teaching methods, technical and tactical sessions, individual skills, position specific training, physical preparation and injury prevention. I took a massive amount from all the sessions and they have made me realise that we are excelling in certain areas and there's areas to improve within our structure.
This is the main area that I have highlighted to improve. I think it is important to stress that any physical work will not restrict any time our players spend with the ball but is important to create a testing and training culture from an early age so they get used to it. Our players are different ages, sexes and sizes and it would be ridiculous to think that their results will be the same. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses but I believe we should look to improve all aspects of the individual. The focus is on individual development and with a player centred approach we can improve each player technically, physically and mentally. Those that buy into the concept will see positive results.
5-9 years - look to develop motor skills through fun games and exercises
9-12 years - introduce body weight exercises that can be done at home and monitor progress
12 years + - introduce a weight based programme to be done at home or the gym and monitor progress
FUTSAL SPECIFIC GOALKEEPER TRAINING
This is an area that we have looked at previously but have still failed to implement properly. Goalkeeper is the most important position in futsal and there's futsal specific techniques that are required. Our challenge is finding goalkeepers who have a background in playing in futsal to coach our keepers. We hope to create GK specific sessions for our youth team goalkeepers soon.
The session plans that we provide our Futsal Escocia kids on the court are up there with any other academy and country in the world. We follow UEFA's new directive that players are to think for themselves as much as possible and we encourage all our players to play different positions. Areas that we can improve are physical training and position specific training and we are already taking to steps to do so, starting with this block of sessions having a pivot theme.
Futsal is like any other sport and it continues to evolve and it is important that we follow or are ahead of the trend. Over the last 6 years , we have been really successful with a high percentage of our players going on to progress to pro academies and to develop as players but we don't want to stand still, we want that to continue and improve. Everyone has different ambitions in life and as an academy/club it is our duty to provide our players and coaches with the tools to achieve them.
I am looking forward to returning to Finland in December and February and sharing the knowledge and experience gained with our team.
Futsal Escocia - All about DEVELOPMENT and FUN