6 Ways To Improve Indoor Soccer

by Rob Kelly

I believe that if we don't try to improve we won't. As coaches and players we should always be looking at doing whatever we can to improve. If Canada as a soccer nation is honestly committed to becoming a world power, perhaps we need to look at how we can improve the indoor game to be more transferable to the outdoor game. Along the way we could make it safer as well.

The easiest fix would be to play futsal, but futsal isn't perfect either and there are aspects of indoor soccer that we should keep and embrace.

"The day you think there are no improvements to be made is a sad one for any player."
Lionel Messi

  1. Build larger facilities with larger pitches which will allow us to play 7 per side with side and end lines. There are actually quite a few indoor fields in Canada that are large enough to play 7 per side but we would need to have many more of these facilities before we could make a complete switch from the game most of us play now to a game that more resembles outdoor soccer.
  2. If we must play in smaller boarded facilities we should introduce sidelines with special conditions: The ball can still go past the side and end lines but the players can’t touch the ball in the out-of-bounds area. The ball may still be played off the boards which reduces the number of stoppages during the match and keeps a fun and exciting aspect of indoor soccer, however, if the ball does not return to the playing area a throw-in is awarded to the team that did not touch the ball last. Paint a new touchline that is about 4 feet from the boards all the way around the pitch including in front of the goals to give the goalkeepers some protection from collisions.
  3. Now that we have sidelines we can also have throw-ins and corner kicks. Although clearly not the same as outdoor soccer, at least young Canadian players will keep up these skills over the winter months. Most youth soccer teams don’t practice corner kicks and throw-ins at all during the indoor season which is disadvantageous to our ability internationally to compete with warm weather nations.
  4. A ball with less bounce is needed. A futsal ball could be used, but even better, a ball could be manufactured that is somewhere in between a futsal ball and a regular soccer ball. I find the game becomes sloppy when a player has to wait for the ball to stop bouncing before they can control it. Quite often a high bouncing ball will cause collisions as well.
  5. Time-outs. Each team should be allowed two 30 second time-outs per game. There are so many moments in a game where a quick meeting with the entire team would make a positive difference. Players on the pitch can catch their breath, have a drink of water and coaches can provide situational guidance without having to yell out instructions.
  6. Mandatory head gear. Clearly the Canadian soccer community believes that our children’s shins must be protected. I am fine with mandatory shin guards but the human brain is much more vulnerable to serious injury than our shins so why isn't head gear mandatory? Also in most leagues wearing any jewelry is absolutely forbidden. I’m not sure what the statistics are but I am pretty sure there are more concussions in indoor soccer than injuries caused by nose and earrings.

If you strongly agree/disagree with any of these points or have some of your own ideas to improve indoor soccer I would love to hear from you. Email rob@soccercoachcanada.com and I will share your opinion and ideas with our readers.

Soccer Coach Canada Weekly Newsletter

Get free age specific soccer drills and games, ideally suited for youth soccer, delivered to your inbox every Monday morning. Plan your indoor and outdoor practice sessions using coaching advice from experienced youth soccer coaches from across Canada.

Join us on Facebook and keep up to date with all the news