Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. As per estimates, football is played by more than 250 million players across 200 or more countries and territories. One of the key reasons for such a mass following is the minimal infrastructure and equipment it takes for players to enjoy a game of football.
A standard football ground is in the range of 100 m x 64 m, and a standard game requires 11 players per team. However, as long as you have a football, and there are two or more players and even a small-sized ground you can enjoy the game.
- Soccer, or football, is typically played between two teams of eleven players each on a rectangular-shaped ground, also called a pitch.
- The game involves players primarily using their feet to propel the ball around the pitch in an endeavour to score goals.
- The team that scores the greatest number of goals in the allocated period of ninety minutes, wins.
- The game lasts 90 minutes, divided into two 45-minute halves, with extra time added for any delays.
The simplicity and flexibility that the game offers are the prime reason for its huge popularity the world over. You go around any locality and it is a common sight to find groups of children competing in a game of soccer in small grounds, community parks, school playgrounds, and sometimes even on the streets. The increase in urbanisation has made it challenging for players to locate parks and fields. Having access to a full-sized soccer field is a privilege enjoyed by only a few. In such a scenario, indoor mini-soccer comes as a big relief for soccer aficionados.
Indoor mini-soccer ground
Indoor mini soccer grounds can be as small as 40m x 20m which is less than even half of a standard soccer ground. These grounds typically have a synthetic or wooden surface covered with artificial grass to simulate an actual soccer ground. Such grounds have gained popularity in the last decade or so, and are especially easy to find in urban areas. Small-sided matches can be enjoyed on such grounds.
Indoor mini-soccer teams can range from five, eight or even a full-fledged eleven-a-side game. Most of these indoor courts also have facilities of floodlights supporting players to engage in their favourite sport even after dark. A big relief to those who are occupied with work or college during the day time.
Small-sided soccer games offer a lot of benefits to players:
- More ball time for each player: Given the lesser number of players, each player now gets more time on the ball as compared to a full eleven players in a side game.
- Supports the athletically challenged: Given the smaller size of the field, and also the smaller duration of matches, it is conducive also to those players who may not possess the stamina and strength to play in a full-sized field for a complete duration of ninety minutes.
- Fast pace and more exciting play: Given the small size of the field, the zone between attack and defence gets reasonably blurred. This leads to a higher likelihood of more goals being scored, making the game faster and more thrilling.
- Quicker transitions between attack and defence: Owing to the small size of the field, the distinction between attack and defence gets fuzzy. The transition between attacking and defensive positions is fast-paced and swift.
- More engaging and fun: Mini-soccer games are more engaging, fast-paced, action-packed and fun.
- Better replication of real game situations: While the size of the field is small, proportionately players are also less. Thus, it acts as a decent replication of real-game situations.
- More goal-area action: The small size of the ground means the ball travels faster to the goal-mouth areas thus giving rise to more goal-mouth action.
- More avenues for game creativity: With the emphasis on physicality reduced significantly, it gets down to player creativity for gameplay and to score.
- More opportunities for one-on-one duels in attack and defence: Players are cramped in a smaller area with fewer empty spaces. This increases opportunities for exciting one-player duels.
- Good opportunity to boost fitness and stamina: Small-sided mini-soccer matches could be a good opportunity to boost stamina and fitness.
- More opportunities to work on and improve your game: The easy access and availability of indoor mini-soccer, more time on the ball, and smaller game duration are some factors that allow players more opportunities to work on their game and improve their technical abilities.
- Better placed system for monitoring player progress and providing individual feedback: Small-sized grounds also enable better monitoring of player progress. Small-sided games allow coaches to monitor individual plays better and provide individual improvement feedback.
- Suitable for those engaged in work or education during the day
Apart from regular small-sided games, mini-soccer grounds also allow players to be creative in their games and drills. Some such examples are:
- Passing to each other while standing in a circle
- Man on man marking
- One-touch pass play
- Touch, touch, and shoot
- Goal mouth dribbling attack
- Penalty shootouts
- Penalty corner drills
The mini-soccer setup allows for many more such creative drills and game plays for players to engage in. However, the transition from a mini-soccer game to a full-fledged game of football could be challenging.
You might be a star in mini soccer but might find it extremely challenging and tedious, both physically and mentally to adapt to a full-sized field with 11 players a side for 90 minutes.
Given the fast-paced urbanisation and increasingly vanishing open spaces, parks, and playgrounds, small-sided matches in indoor mini soccer grounds are a relief for soccer enthusiasts.
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