There are ONLY two sizes for Futsal balls
Size 3 - Ages 12 and below
Size 4 - Ages 13 and above
These properties are specifically designed to build confidence and develop skill and technique. When a Futsal ball is received, it virtually ’sticks’ to the foot.
This builds great confidence in tight spaces when rapid passes are being issued repeatedly. Interestingly, that same property which makes the ball easy to receive makes it more difficult to strike. A Futsal ball gradually eliminates the ’lazy pass’. It is heavier and players rapidly get acquainted with the merits of bending the knee, turning the hips, and striking the ball firmly to propel it. Repeated touches on the ball eventually produce a motion which, when transplanted outdoors with a high bounce ball, translates into a firmer and proportionately longer pass appropriate for the big field.
Many programs around the world also claim that smaller size encourages more precise striking of the ’sweet spot’ of the ball. If one works during the offseason on striking a Futsal ball, then a larger bouncier ball is struck with greater confidence and authority in the outdoor game.
(Reference: US Youth Futsal)
We all know goalkeepers are different.
How are Futsal goalkeepers different from Soccer goalkeepers?
How about we start with not wearing gloves??!!
Gloves vs NO gloves:
- For many, the decision will come down to whether they play much outdoor football. Outdoor keepers who make a transition or play futsal in their offseason may feel natural in gloves and tend to stick with using them.
- Grip: Some find gloves provide better grip, however, the lack of weather factors in futsal, reduce this need. Bare palms are sufficient for many keepers in futsal, given the playing surface is clean. Sometimes a dusty court can really impact bare hand grip and is something to keep in mind.
- Control: This is the biggest difference for me – the smaller, heavier futsal ball, I find, is easier to accurately distribute without gloves. The vast majority of your distribution will come from the hands, so the advantage you get from gloves removed is a big factor.
If wearing gloves is something you decide you will go with, there are few different styles you will come across. Consider the following features, when you trying to work out what is best for you.
- Finger or Fingerless: This is obviously the main difference between futsal glove types. Fingerless are great in allowing natural handling of the ball for extra distribution control. Some still prefer the extra protection full covering gloves provide.
- Support: If this is something you need, keep an eye out for gloves that have decent wrist support. You will see certain gloves have thick strapping around the wrist area; these are best for such injury prevention.
- Comfort: If you are looking for extra flexibility in movement, some gloves will consist of mesh material and separate stitched panels for the palm area. These features provide less resistance in hand movement and a better contour shape when gripping the ball.
- Durability: The mesh and panel stitching, mentioned above, will generally mean less durability. If this is an issue, look towards gloves which have the full synthetic backhand and a single panel for the palm area. Some gloves will have a rough palm area, which is more abrasion resistant, but may compromise on grip.
- Grip: Most gloves these days are designed with the 3mm latex foam for the palm. Thicker foam will provide better cushioning and durability, but may not grip as well. Smooth surface foam is generally better grip than the dimpled or rough design. Full covering foam on the palm is also generally better for grip than gloves with the spotted/partial foam design.
- Fit: Your choice of fit will either be loose or tight. This is generally down to personal preference. As a futsal goalkeeper, a tighter fit might be preferred for ball handling. The fit of a glove will largely be defined by the type of glove cut:
- Flat palm cut: Palm style is usually a single piece with stitching seams, connecting the backhand, on the exterior between both the fingers and palms. The glove will have a ‘boxy’ sort of look to it. This type of glove maximises surface area but is generally a looser fit.
- Negative palm cut: Palm style and seams are the same as the flat palm cut, except that the seam is located on the inside of the glove. This type of glove provides a tighter fit.
- Roll Finger cut: This cut is a more recent technology, which does not use stitching seams but attaches the palm directly to the backhand. This design allows the full contact of palm latex to the ball, at all times. This allows for more natural handling and a tighter fit.
Your gloves take a bit of battering and can wear out quite quickly. There are a few tips you can use to maximise their lifespan.
- Washing after use: Handwash your gloves using lukewarm water (if you use washing liquid, make sure it is delicate or even use specific products for washing gloves/latex. This isn’t necessary though). Remove water by wrapping gloves in a towel and applying pressure. Let the gloves just air dry, do not use a tumble dryer or anything to speed up drying – this will dry out the glove and make them brittle. Cleaning in a washing machine will also affect the durability and performance.
- Storage: Your gloves will generally come in specific packaging, which is best to keep them stored within. Keep the gloves in a cool dry spot and make sure the palms are facing away from each other so the don’t stick. Some gloves will be specified, by manufacturers, to keep the gloves moist. You can do this by wrapping them in a moist cloth.
- Multiple pairs: For longevity, if you have the cash, buying separate gloves for training and games can help. You can even use older gloves for training and keep your new ones, fresh for games.
Knee and Elbow protection
You might find the extra protection futsal goalies wear to be a bit annoying, but trust me, your knees and elbows will inevitably get scraped and bruised.
- Padded clothing or pads: Most futsal keepers tend to go for the elbow and knee pads over the long sleeved tops or goalie pants with built in padding. You may find the latter mentioned gear is a bit specific for outdoor use and won’t provide enough padding or abrasion resistance for the indoor courts.
- Padding: While it is available, you might find purchasing futsal-specific elbow and knee pads a bit hard to find or expensive, depending where you are located. Obviously, buying the futsal specific gear is going to be best for comfort and performance. General padding for indoor sports, or other specific sports can usually be found at major retail chains. I have found this gear to be sufficient enough, but be careful with cheaper products. Try to go for products which specify use of more abrasion resistant material and higher density foam. If possible, try on the gear first as you want to make sure they fit your body type and are not too tight or loose.
Finger & wrist protection
Fingers can get a battering, as a futsal goalkeeper. As you will see, many pro goalkeepers have heavy strapping on their fingers and wrists.
- Finger and wrist tape: There are specific tape products for goalkeepers, but again, might be expensive/hard to source, depending where you live. You can find tutorials online with how to properly strap your fingers and wrists. Obviously this is easier for keepers that play without gloves.
Be aware of potential injuries you are open to as a keeper. Head knocks can be damaging, especially multiple concussions and your teeth can also be easily be damaged. You will get balls, feet, knees flying at you all the time, so really consider mouth guards or even head guards for to minimise these problems. For a bit of extra padding you an also get shorts with the hip padding or padding undergarments for that extra bit of protection.
Do NOT wear studs in the gym!
Futsal shoes are made for the fast pace of the five-a-side futsal game.
Futsal shoes are specifically designed to offer stability, traction and lightweight speed on the hard courts.
Futsal shoes tend to have a lower profile with thin rubber outsoles. Futsal shoes are available from all of the major soccer brands.
For players younger than eight years old, it is OK to wear cross-trainers. However, basketball shoes and any other 'bulky' shoe will make the player's performance suffer.