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If someone invites you along to play in a Futsal match, you’d better know what to expect. Futsal, according to the FA’s website, is, “an exciting, fast-paced, small sided football game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA. The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game. Many of the top, world-class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development”.
It’s a 5-a-side game using a size 4 ball with reduced bounce. The pitch is marked out with a penalty area in front of small goals. The game is usually played indoors in a sports hall but, and here’s the main difference between what a lot of players see in the UK, there are no rebound boards around the side of the pitch. You play within traditional touchlines. You can also lob the ball above head height.
The emphasis is on skill, passing and dribbling rather than physical strength. This makes it great for young children who’re still ‘filling out’ and who may struggle against older, bigger, stronger players. So, you need a special ball. Most manufacturers have something on offer.
Mitre for example has the Newbula Futsal ball. It has a 30% reduction to its bounce and features a grained surface to the outer casing. This makes it easier to control. It also features a tough, hard-wearing, hand-stitched PVC casing, which makes it resistant to rough Futsal surfaces. As well as the standard size 4 ball for Futsal, it is also available in size 3.
Nike has their Clube football that, thanks to a latex-stuffed bladder, also has reduced bounce. It comes with a 2-year warranty against the ball losing its shape or the stitching failing.