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Inspiring the next generation: Five alternatives to get children into football


Inspiring the next generation: Five alternatives to get children into football

These alternative versions of football can help engage children in the beautiful game.

While millions of children around the world have a passion for football, enjoying going to matches and watching their heroes on television, many don’t take part.

From a lack of confidence in their abilities, to pressure from coaches and parents, there are a number of reasons why children might be reluctant to play the game. However, sport is an excellent way to promote a healthy lifestyle. As well as improving skills and confidence, these alternative versions of football seek to spark a passion by showing children how much fun sport can be.

1. Futsal

Many of the world’s finest players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas have cited futsal as a crucial part of their development. Recognised by FIFA and UEFA, this fast-paced version of five-a-side offers an intense game that helps to improve skills for players of all ages.

In England, the FA have issued a number of grants to help grow the game’s profile by funding goal posts and pitches as well as introducing the FA futsal fives events to encourage local participation.

2. Bubble/Zorb football

Above all else, sport should be about having fun. If youth football has caused your child to forget that, Zorb football is sure to remind them. The game is increasingly popular in the UK and can be played across the country.

Zorb, or bubble football is like five-a-side, except every player wears an inflatable ball that covers their upper body. Full contact is encouraged, making for some hilarious collisions. Although, they might have so much fun in their Zorbs that they forget about playing football!

  1. Multi-ball football

If a lack of confidence is the issue, then a variant like Multi-ball football could help to develop skills and confidence. The game is not regulated officially, so this would be an ideal exercise for training sessions and soccer schools.

The game follows standard rules, except each team has their own ball. This reduces the number of players standing and watching, increasing every player’s involvement, time on the ball and understanding of the tactical difference between attack and defence.

  1. Beach Soccer

Another FIFA-recognised variant, beach soccer, is high scoring, fast-paced and not just for hot countries.

Leading the way in developing UK beach soccer, Dorset hosts an annual Beach Soccer Cup in July. Local councils in the region are looking to establish leagues, camps, and sessions to give children the opportunity to try the sport including Poole which offers two permanent pitches for the general public.

  1. Non-rectangular pitches

In major cities across the world, simply finding an outdoor space to play can be challenging, limiting children’s chance to get involved in sports. In 2016, a property developer found an innovative solution, constructing four irregularly-shaped football pitches in Bangkok.

These four pitches are thought to be the first of their kind anywhere in the world, but the innovation could lead to unique pitches being constructed in other cites, creating new environments for future stars to play.


Article type



Terry Hearn


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 19:12

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