So you’ve joined a fab new social five a side football league and it’s all going brilliantly. The guys at www.5aside.org are all really friendly, top organisers and the pitches and referees are always high quality. It’s so cool to be taking part in organised football leagues with them because they take all the hard work out of it, which means it’s just pure footballing fun from start to finish.
Now you are settled in to a team, getting to know the dynamics and strengths and weaknesses of the set-up, it’s time to focus on you as a player. How can you up your game? Here are some tips to help you become a better player out there on the five a side pitch…
The real secret to five a side football is to recognise it’s all about creating space and passing the ball. You have to keep moving in order to do this, so make sure you never stand still on the pitch. Ever. Think of yourself like a shark – you have to keep moving to survive.
Work on your speed between attack and defence so that you don’t get caught on the break if you lose possession. If this means doing extra gym work to increase your straight line speed and acceleration look upon it as a positive way of improving your all round fitness.
High score lines are common in five a side football so even if you are several goals down, never give up. Circumstances can turn on a sixpence in five a side. 100 per cent commitment until the final whistle should be your team mantra. Who cares if the final score is 15 – 10? Being on the winning side is all that matters.
In five a side it is acceptable to use the goalie more as an extra man when you’ve got possession. For retaining possession and for distribution, your goalie is a key part of your attack as well as defence. Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of leaving him standing around idle for ages, let him get involved in the action, too. That said, it’s best if you keep the same person in goal from week to week – some teams like to swap positions around between players, but for best results it’s better to have one dedicated goalie.
The pace of five a side is so quick and manic, sometimes it’s easy to lose your cool. Don’t. Just try and keep your focus and maintain a positive and calm attitude – that’s a far better place from where goal scoring opportunities will come.
Five a side football relies heavily on fine skills and foot craft, there’s no place for pushing, barging or hacking. If you rely on your physical presence alone and neglect the finer parts of the game, you won’t be popular with other players. If you find yourself being left out of the squad consistently take a look at your playing style – it may need adapting to the less brutal five a side approach.
Playing on hard surfaces makes floating in long balls a tricky proposition as they become hard to control on the bounce. The best tactic with five a side is to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. Skying balls almost always results in lost possession – keep it tight, controlled and low and the ball will cooperate.
Momentum is everything in five a side. It is a pacy, frantic game where fast feet and quick thinking are everything. If you dwell on the ball or try and hold it up or keep it too long, the game loses momentum and any advantage in terms of space or time advantage is lost. Don’t hog the ball to show off your trick shots, if you really have the skills you should be able to utilise them in free play to your team’s benefit. Most points in five a side come from one or two passes and Goaaallll! Goals on the break are very common in this discipline which means the teams who are fast and quick to pick up on mistakes, are far more likely to score than the ones who focus on possession and holding play up.
Follow these tips and bring your A Game to the pitch next time you step out with your team. Who knows, you and your five a side friends could soon be reaching the heady heights at the top of the league…