100 % futsal

2017-06-01

The careful visitor may have discovered this already, but for some of you this will be a bit of news. In this year, I have taken a little calmer year, mostly because I have taken parental leave. Football / soccer has been less important, but futsal has gotten more space. You have probably also noticed this on my posts, which in the most recent past have basically exclusively been about futsal.

Now I have taken a new step in my career. I will invest fully in futsal. 100 %.

It has been a simple and difficult decision at the same time. Of course, I still love football / soccer, but my relationship with the sport has become more complicated. The coach assignments I have been offered in football / soccer have unfortunately not been what I wanted. At the same time, I have been interested more and more in futsal, which in many ways is a much more dynamic and exciting sport than football / soccer in many areas.

In a short period of time, I have built my name and received many interesting requests in the futsal world. Everything from being an expert commentator and tactic blogger to exciting coach assignments. I have been appreciated in the futsal world in a completely different way than from the competitive football / soccer universe. This is obviously great fun, but I have also learned a couple of things about my coach career.

I see this change a bit like many players are watching their careers. Some would like to be a forward, a world class striker who wins individual titles. But they soon realize that they are not competent enough. They may be the fifth choice on the coach’s list, not even on the bench. But then they saddle to be a left back and suddenly they can play continuously in the staring eleven every weekend. A wise career decision, of course.

I have thought football / soccer was fun, but despite my education and qualifications, I get a relatively uninteresting coach assignments so far. In futsal, however, organizations are screaming for competent leaders, and for that reason I have been able to advance there in a short space of time.

This is not just a cynical decision. In fact, I’ve had a lot of fun with futsal, got a spark of the sport that I missed during a period of football. / soccer. It is an extremely challenging sport for a coach, extremely flexible and places great demands. At the same time, the opportunities are great and that’s what attracts me – To be involved and build something from scratch.

In order to really succeed in a sport of my age, I think it’s important to determine the focus and therefore I have now decided to go all-in on futsal. Making such a commitment also shows that I am serious.

This does not mean farewell to football / soccer, I still love the sport, but the futsal will be what I spend all my time on from now on. In addition, to focus on two parallel tracks when I’m a parent is nothing to recommend, so a clearer focus area is needed. Which now is futsal. This because I want to learn more and develop into an equally good expert as a coach in my field.

My goal is not only to learn more and develop myself. Above all, I want as many as possible to get to know the wonderful sport futsal. It’s a great sport that many people would love, so I want to spread it as much as it goes. If I then take over a team and be successful – It’s a plus, but spreading the sport and increasing the level of education among coaches, players and audiences is the primary. I think I have a lot to contribute there with my interest in coaching.

So, 100% futsal, then.

As you know, I am currently an expert at the swedish site Futsalmagasinet and at the Swedish Futsal League’s (SFL) broadcasts, and I will also have a finger in the game for the Gothenburg Football Association’s talent training sessions in futsal. Here, on my website, I will also focus on futsal in general, but also about the coaching behind the sport.

Hopefully, I have something more interesting in futsal that I can reveal later on here on my website, but the one who is waiting for something good …

Here we go! 

Arrows and circles... They are everywhere!

Arrows and circles… They are everywhere!

Now, at last, I have compiled my futsal philosophy for public display.

You can find my futsal philosophy HERE.

Please enjoy!

Here I am, for the first time as a Key Instructor for Gothenburg Football Association.

As many of you know if, I have no Head Coaching duties this season. For the moment I am on parental leave, which of course is both fantastic and fun. What happens next season, I do not know yet, and I must admit that it begins to itch in the fingers and that I would like take over a team sometime in the future. But until then, I try to combine my maternity leave with a couple of minor tasks and some of them I intend to present for you now with this blog post.

It is no secret that I have been thrilled with the sport futsal. Last winter, I made the coaching course on the matter and in January I had the opportunity to utilize my skills when I was asked to be an expert commentator for a game in the Swedish top flight for men. After this, the carousel has rolled up properly and after awhile I was asked to be an expert for Futsalmagasinet, Sweden’s largest portal about futsal. There, I write a blog which is focused on coaching. I write about tactics, training schedules, game philosophy, leadership and a lot of other subjects that is about coaching.

This blog is in Swedish and can be found at this address:
http://www.futsalmagasinet.se/category/blogg/taktiktavlan/

I’ve been asked if I would be interested in taking over a team in futsal, which I must admit is interesting. Futsal is an interesting sport in many ways, and has great potential, not at least here in Sweden. I’ve actually had a few inquiries, but nothing that feels really hot so far. It is required that there is a sufficiently high sporting level and that there is good potential to grow as a club for me to be interested. But I close no doors yet, of course.

I still have not released football / soccer though. A while ago, I was asked by the Gothenburg Football Association to become a Key Instructor. A mission that means that I coach at talent training sessions (what is now meant by the word “talent” is an entirely different discussion, but more on that matter eventually) and raises the educational level of both players and leaders in the Gothenburg area. Obviously a very flattering mission which in any case at the moment does not take much of my time, which fits perfectly with my obligations as a parent and an expert at Futsalmagasinet.

Yesterday was my first day as a Key Instructor, one day that actually offered sun and a lot of fun memories. Some brief reflections on my part is that it was incredibly fun to get back to the training ground. I’ve been missing it for almost half a year. It was also nice to know that I still can coach with high energy and commitment, although of course it goes down a little after a day out on the pitch. After all, we coached hundreds of players for nearly five hours, you get tired after that.

Other reflections I did after my first day is how important the organization is. As I said, hundred of player trained at Heden and then you need to have the logistics to work so that the training does not suffer. Another factor that is important is to be studious as coach. I am thinking primarily of the coaching process. It is striking to me that many of the prejudices I have unfortunately was confirmed when many young players feel it is important to do things quickly rather than to do them right. Several times yesterday, I noticed players who several times tried to rushed to do things quickly, but instead of doing it right it becomes wrong. There is a difficult balance here for a coach.

Should I look the other way and praise when it’s right, or point out the shortcomings and try to get them to do the right things?

For my part, it becomes clear that there is no point in doing things quickly if it is wrong, so I’m more for the way to do it slowly and properly. Then it is easier to increase the speed and difficulty. It’s not about cutting players, it is about giving them the right tools to succeed so they can be as good as they can be.

Are you starting to cut corners with the simple things, then what will happen when you do difficult things? No, it’s better to do it properly from the start. Of course, you make a difference between what is important or not, but basically everything must be done properly – From hitting a pass on the right foot to pick up the balls after a shot exercise.

Proper behavior creates winners, that is what I think. But more on that subject in another blog post for the future…

Another thing that struck me is that the skill level of young players is incredibly different. Another may have come incredibly far in his / her development, another lie far behind. It is a challenge to adapt the training session so that everyone gets something out of it. But the important thing is not always trying to do things to the maximum, but optimally. A setting that I think you will get far with.


In addition to this, it was a brilliant day that I will remember for a long time.
It will be interesting to see how it unfolds as I get warmed up, but right now it’s a good feeling.

Although of course I miss being a Head Coach, it is not bad to be a futsal expert and a key instructor in anticipation of something good.

Sadly, Sweden's European Championship dreams was shattered even before the qualifying was over.

Sadly, Sweden’s European Championship dreams was shattered even before the qualifying was over.

Those of you who follow my blog may have noticed my increasingly clear interest in futsal. It is a very interesting sport from a coach perspective as well as from a spectator point of view. This post will be about futsal, namely the Swedish men’s national team’s European Championship qualifier, which started yesterday.

I wrote “started” but could just as well have written “ran out”. For that was how it felt – The qualifiers ended before it could even begin.

European Championship qualifying of futsal is divided into groups of three or four teams, which is devoted to a weekend to play qualifying games in a host city. Sweden found itself in a group with Gibraltar and Montenegro. The group winner would advance to the next qualifying round, known as the Main Round, so in practice, neither team can afford a loss if the European Championship dream is to survive.

Yesterday evening, Sweden began their European Championship qualifiers against Montenegro, a team that the day before won with 8-1 against Gibraltar. Montenegro has a similar ranking as Sweden, so there are two equal countries in futsal, but the scoreboard was anything but fair. The game ended 11-4 to Montenegro, and Sweden’s dream of playing the first championship died after only 40 minutes of effective playing time.

How could it end like this, that a team with the ambition to take themselves all the way to the European Championship, so monumentally failed to reach the goal after just one game?

Sure, the qualifying system is tough and offers little room for error. You can practically be disqualified after a game, which is a big difference from many other sports when it comes to qualifying stages. In football / soccer, you often have the chance to correct your mistake later, but there are fewer qualifying games in futsal and thus less room for slip. Do you have a so-called bad day (although I dislike the term), all your goals can go to hell. It is part of the explanation.

Another explanation is the actual performance itself. Charbel Abraham, the coach, said afterwards that the poor performance stung more than the result. If Sweden lost a tight game against an opponent who is in a similar ranking position it is of course nothing to be disappointed about, but I think everyone reacts about the fact that Sweden so miserably failed with everything they had in mind. 11-4 are large numbers, one of the largest in the (short) Swedish futsal history. Abraham had been quite right that Montenegro is not a good team, but Sweden played poorly.

What was it that Sweden failed with in the game?

Since some time, Charbel Abraham has worked to make Sweden to play “a modern futsal, as they do on the continent”. I have long been a bit skeptical about this. Who says that the way they play futsal in Europe is our way to reach success? It is difficult, if not impossible, to copy another country’s philosophy and just paste it at our business. The best way is to pick several pieces of the cake so that it suits us. I believe that Sweden plays a kind of futsal we do not really feel comfortable with when we play against tougher opponents.

Sweden with Abraham tries to play a futsal where we control the game, with a kind of high press and play with a so-called high risk. It is all right if we have player types for it, but in yesterday’s qualifier, it was clear that we do not have these kind of players. Several of Montenegro’s goals was because we lost the ball in our build-up and they counter attacked. Montenegro could simply lie low in their defense, waiting for mistakes from Sweden and aim for the goal. An “ancient” kind of tactic that Charbel Abraham said “works in the domestic league, but not internationally”. Talk about getting a taste of their his own medicine.

As a coach, I think this: When you’re facing opponents who runs home, you need to create a lot of movement to pull them out of position and play where the space is. Several times was Sweden with the ball, not knowing where they would pass it, because the movement was non-existent. When the players were moving well, they were often reversed! How are they going to do something with the ball if they do not face the opponent’s goal? Another tactic would have been to shoot from distance to lure them out of their positions, but it was also scarce. In the second half, when Sweden desperately tried to catch up, they tested a joker game that did not end well. Has Sweden even practiced on this? A key rule for a coach is to never do anything in the game that you have not even been practicing before, but the players felt lost and desperate in the joker game.

I know that many have been critical to the national team selection, and perhaps rightly so, but I do not believe that Sweden had received a substantially better results with other players. Would we have brought in other players, we should have tested them earlier, not in an important European Championship qualifier. Abraham talked about that he wanted players who knew the tactics and can play according to the idea, the thing is just that it was the wrong tactic… I simply believe that Abraham’s idea needs to be corrected to fit our Swedish players. This is how we achieve success.

Sweden have missed their chance to go to the European Championship. The next championship is the World Cup in 2020. Time to try a new coach perhaps, with new ideas and a coach who can customize the idea for the players at hand? I know that many have talked about to bring foreign influences into Swedish futsal, but the question is whether we can afford it. Even though they invest in Swedish futsal, the development is still going slowly, I’m one of the few hundred who even has attended a futsal coaching course. It says a lot about the quality of the coaching education.

I have nothing against Charbel Abraham, but Swedish futsal must evaluate the work so far and see if it really is the right path we should go to reach success.

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Me (to the left) as an expert commentator at the futsal game between IFK Göteborg Futsal and Borås AIK.

This winter, I have had the pleasure to improve my knowledge in futsal, the indoor version of football / soccer that I’ve written about earlier here on the blog. I have followed the sport in a few years and I think it is interesting, especially from a coaching perspective since the importance of a good coach during the game is far more important than in football / soccer. A few months ago I went to the official coach education for futsal coaches and I must admit that I have a desire to take on a team to test my skills in this relatively new sport sometime in future.

As I wrote in the blog last week, I received a phone call from Tommy Moholi, board member and event manager in IFK Göteborg Futsal. He had by chance ended up on my blog and was wondering if I was interested to be an expert commentator to Saturday’s game between IFK Göteborg Futsal and Borås AIK at Lisebergshallen. Of course, a flattering request which I accepted, something I absolutely do not regret today with a few days’ distance to the game.

My colleague for the day, the main commentator Tobias BW Granberg, welcomed me with open arms and I think that we are the whole did a good job together. As Granberg said after the game, it’s always a bit difficult to start working with someone who is new since the natural chemistry is not there yet, but it was a good debut.

What I really liked in my role as an “expert” (I dislike the word, but I think you understand) is that I got the opportunity to explain what actually happens in a game. Often, viewers have many opinions concerning why a team plays in a certain way, but they rarely understand why a coach chooses to play the game like that. Here, I got the chance to explain why a team uses high or low pressure in their defense, the different types of defensive methods, when there is the right time to take a time out and so on. I simply had the opportunity to explain how a coach reasons in different situations, which I think the viewers liked.

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The national certificate that confirms that I have passed the official training course for Futsal Coaches in Sweden.

If they ask my once again, I think I need to be more cautious regarding how much I should talk. As a coach, I see many different things and it can easily happen that there will be too much information, so I need to take it easy the next time.

About the game, I think IFK Göteborg Futsal partly had faulty tactics for the clash against Borås AIK. The guests are the best team in the series offensively with their 70 goals, but has a defensive where there are gaps when they are being counter attacked. Had the home team decided to stand a little lower in their defense and waited for the opponents and after that decided to counter attack, I think their chances would have improved. Even though the game was ended in the final minutes, it was flattering result for IFK Göteborg Futsal.

Borås AIK was the better team over 40 minutes. They had a diverse offensive game with a controlled build-up play where they patiently waited out the mistakes from the opponents. They could play both the short and long ball while they had players who could dribble off their defender. Sure, they were a bit too much ball viewers in their defense, but if they make seven goals in every game that should not be a problem.

I know that IFK Göteborg Futsal before the season talked about how they wanted to embrace a different game philosophy, one where they were a more attacking team who controlled the events of the game. For me, it is obvious that the club has not got to the point where they want to be. It is far too stagnant and they have too few players who has the ability to dribble off their defender.

If they are to maintain this idea, they should either get the player types they need, or invest in to rejuvenate the team and give young players time to learn the game. But for that they also need time and that they practice way more often than they do today. If I am not misinformed they practice only twice a week. It is difficult to build a lasting game idea with only two sessions a week, so maybe it is better to start from the team’s strengths and try to strengthen them in a modified game idea? If they do not want to sign players or exercise more, that is. Only then will they get a futsal team that battles for gold medals again.

I want to thank Tommy Moholi for the opportunity to come, it was a fine initiative and fun to have been asked. I would also like to thank the entire Brocast team in general and Tobias BW Granberg in particular, who was very welcoming and were generous with his feedback. Thanks for that!

I have said before that I, in the future, want to try to be futsal coach, especially when I have the highest possible futsal coach education in Sweden. I’m still without a coach job for 2017, but the idea has always been to take on a new football / soccer team. But after Saturday’s match, I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe a futsal team is my new address?

Only the future will tell…

 

For those of you who does not know what do to tomorrow – At 1 PM I will be in studio as an “expert commentator” when the swedish Champions, IFK Göteborg Futsal, will face the top team Borås AIK.

I will talk about my view of futsal from a coach perspective, the future of the sport and be an “expert”.

I do not know what it takes to be an “expert”, but you can nevertheless watch the game Saturday 14 th January 1 PM at the link below.

https://ifkgoteborgfutsal.solidtango.com/live/ifk-goteborg-futsal-boras-aik

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At the moment, I am without a coach job (if anyone has an interesting offer, just get in touch), but that does not mean in any way that I’ve been lazy. As a football / soccer coach, you rarely have time to improve yourself or have the space for your own field studies, so I try to use the time I have to educate myself in areas I find interesting.

One area that has interested me for a long time is futsal, a kind of indoor version of football / soccer (which not in any way be associated with that felt ball and tough tackles in slatted chairs). One of the biggest reasons why I have become curious about futsal is that it in many ways removes the things I dislike about football / soccer. More time with the ball per player, no long balls, effective playing time, timeouts allowed for coaches, fluid positions, focus on skill and understanding of the game … Yes, the list runs long and I have not even begun to write about how much fun the sport is to watch.

The other night IFK Uddevalla played against IFK Gothenburg in the Swedish top league, the SFL. They drew 0-0, which apparently was the first time in history that a futsal game ended 0-0 in Sweden. That alone says a lot about how many goals there is in futsal.

To satisfy my curiosity, I went on a course for futsal coaches on Saturday with the Swedish Football Association. Today’s supervisor was Lars Ternström, with dual championships as a coach on his resume as futsal coach of IFK Göteborg Futsal. We were a motley crew of about 10 students who wanted to take us of one of Sweden’s relatively new sports.

In South America, futsal began as a response to the lack of space that existed in the cities, where there simply was not room for large football / soccer pitches. Instead of abandoning playing football / soccer completely, futsal was created, a variant of indoor football / soccer, where the games are played five against five (including goalkeepers) on a surface the size of a handball court. Futsal has been around since the 30’s, but in Sweden, the sport is still relatively new, and our men’s national team (we have no national teams for women yet) have not yet managed to qualify for either the World Cup or European Championship. However, it is the fastest growing sport in the country right now, with about 140 000 licensed players. This compared to ice hockey that has about 64 000 players who are licensed.

It is, as I imagine it was for floorball’s relation to ice hockey, easy to bundle futsal and football / soccer together. It is easy to believe that it is “the same sport, but indoors instead of outdoors” but the differences between sports are striking. Almost as to the degree that I would say that futsal has more in common with sports like basketball and handball than football / soccer.

If we start with the similarities, the feet are main center of attention here. Just like in football / soccer, I pass and shoot with my feet, but that’s about where the similarity ends.

For example, you use much more sole in futsal than you do in football / soccer. There is even a direct necessity to control the ball with the sole in a sensible way. The ball has its own history. It is smaller than a standard football and has a moderate bounce. It feels heavier and is therefore more suited to a game via the ground, the long ball is virtually non-existent in futsal.

There is, because of the size of the court, of course, a difference between the number of practitioners at the same time (five players on each team including the goalkeeper), but there are free substitutions in futsal, unlike football / soccer. The coaches also have timeouts that they can use during a game. When the ball crosses the long side, it is not even throw in, but a play in with the feet.

With this in mind, what did I want to get out of the day that I could pass on to my football / soccer?

One idea I had was if it was possible to use futsal instead of practicing too much at the gym during the winter months. In Sweden, we have a long winter and pre-season training traditionally has contained very little training with the ball. Futsal could be a response to this while developing the individual technical skills and game understanding. Happily, futsal is an interesting complement to this type of gym training, but I much more than that with me from this education day.

One thing that was striking to me is how different the individual movement pattern is in futsal versus football / soccer. In football / soccer, it is normal to follow up a pass with “run with the ball” or go into a new space to be a playable option. In futsal, it is more normal to “back” from the original position and thus rotate with another player. The starting positions are not as important in futsal as there are in football / soccer, the players almost seamlessly switch roles with each other for what is best in the situation. A back can in the next stage become a forward and vice versa.

This makes the players more involved in the game than in football / soccer, but also places greater demands. You cannot sneak cheat in the defense in futsal, the team loses 20% of its total team effort when a player does not defend. Same thing in the attacking game, the team cannot afford to have bad passing players when it comes to attacking. All players are needed in the defense as well as in the attack.

In my head, I thought it was much more skills and less tactics in futsal compared to football / soccer, but oh how wrong I was. The coach’s role is incredibly important in futsal, not only because it is free substitutions and timeouts, but also because it is important to set up the right tactics. Each player is important and needs to have clearly defined roles. Above all, the strategy at set pieces is crucial. To just “shoot the ball” is a guarantee of a conceding a goal, so this needs to be chosen carefully by the coach.

Finally, I had not anticipated that it would be so tough physically to play futsal. Tackling is strictly prohibited, but it does not mean that players should be lazy. The fact that there are so few players on each team, each individual takes up much more space than they do on a football / soccer pitch. In futsal, small teams game is a constant, which is very demanding. Free substitutions are thus understandable. It’s about constantly being in motion to help your teammates. I would not call myself out of shape, but I got sore muscles after Saturday’s practice. That says a lot.

In sum, it was a rewarding education with a good instructor, but the question remains – What is the next step for futsal?

Obviously, there is a breeding ground of many players, but can the media attention increase? I doubt that futsal will outrank football / soccer or ice hockey, but to be the third largest sport in the future should not be impossible. It’s fun to watch, warmer than going to watch football / soccer outdoors, you get closer to the game … All the possibilities are there.

For me personally, now that I’ve got a official futsal coach eduaction, I would enjoy to one day coach a futsal team. I think there are many intriguing similarities (and differences) between football / soccer and futsal that would be interesting to explore in my coaching and leadership.

Futsal may only be in its early stages here in Sweden, therefore it will be exciting to see what the future