It’s a common misconception to assume that five-a-side football is somehow easier than the standard game – the truth actually being quite to the contrary. So many newbies set out to get involved in 5 aside football in London under the assumption that it’s a pretty simple nut to crack – what with there being less players, smaller pitches, shorter games and so on. But it’s really not until you get started that you realise this isn’t the case at all – in many ways it’s actually a much more demanding game than 11-a-side.
For those looking to take their five-a-side skills to the next level, it’s of crucial importance to approach the game in a very different manner than they might a full-sized soccer game. Unsurprisingly, the misconceptions regarding five-a-side in general tend to breed some particularly bad habits which never fail to stand in the way of those looking to make real progress.
So if you’re looking to go pro or would just like to up your game a little, here’s a quick look at some of the most common five-a-side bad habits you should be looking to break sooner rather than later:
The very nature of five-a-side is such that you’re likely to become much more tired much more quickly than you would playing a standard game of football. Needless to say, playing tired is no good for anyone on your team, so be sure to use the rolling subs rule or get yourself in goal for a while when and where rest is needed.
There’s a time and a place for hanging around one spot when playing regular football – there’s no such time and place with five-a-side. The simple rule of thumb to follow here is that if you’re not moving, you’re pretty much useless to your team. Five-a-side is all about creating space, passing and moving at all times – hence why it’s so much more tiring than other types of football.
If you play your cards right…and very right at that…it’s more than possible to score a hefty handful of goals in a single minute. As such, even if you’re a fair whack behind and there’s only a few minutes left on the clock, there’s really no sense in giving up as five-a-side games can turn around quite unbelievably at the last moment.
In a five-a-side game, the goalie should play a far more active role than they might in a regular game of football. So if you’re in goal, don’t just hang around in one spot waiting for something to happen – get stuck in!
If you get into the habit of going hell-for-leather trying to score goals out of desperation, you won’t be giving nearly enough attention to defence and thus are 100% guaranteed to leave things wide open for your opponents. Stay balanced at all times, even if your gut tells you to do the opposite.
It takes only a split second for things to turn around in a five-a-side and what doesn’t appear to be a goal-scoring opportunity for your opponents becomes an easy goal. More often than not, this tends to happen when one or more players loses focus for just a second or two and creates that perfect opportunity. If you can’t focus for the whole game, you’ve no business playing.
Is it easy to keep your cool after conceding five goals in three minutes? Not bloody likely, but at the same time it’s 100% crucial as the moment you lose your cool, it’s game over. And it’s worth remembering that when and where your opponents have something of a goal-scoring streak, it could easily lead to them being complacent – keep your cool and strike back strategically.
Everybody wants to be the hero of the game, but fall into the trap of being selfish and even if you do come out on top, you’ll struggle to find anyone who wants to play with you next time. Win or lose, nobody likes playing with a selfish player and your reputation will take a muddy dive.
Last but not least, you’ll be lucky if you ever get as much as two seconds to think about what you want to do after receiving the ball, which essentially means you need to know what it is you want to do in advance…every time. If you’re slow to react and cannot do the right thing as and when required on instinct, sadly you won’t get very far.