Preparing for Winter Season

What you need to do to get your team ready for the winter months

Preparing for Winter Season

Winter season is a unique season within the soccer playing community.

Many teams and individuals will take their practices and leagues indoors for the wintery months.

What many do not know is that there are some glaring differences between playing indoors and outdoors, differences we're going to elucidate for you today.

You've gotta get flats

This first point is the least interesting, but maybe most vital thing to know. Playing indoor soccer means you've got to wear 'flats' as 95% of facilities will not allow players to play on their indoor turf fields with cleats.

Many of the places you'll be playing indoor are not turf to begin with, making cleats an impossible choice to begin with.

But even in that instance the shape of a regular running shoe or an athletic shoe is drastically different than that of a soccer shoe (it makes a big difference I promise), so we highly recommend picking up a pair of turfs for all your winter soccer playing.

Smaller, Faster, Stronger

Indoor Sunset

Now we're onto the actual fun, soccer related stuff.

Indoor games are by design played in smaller spaces. That translates into a few key differences in terms of how to play effectively on an indoor pitch.

Since the space is smaller, there's not really that much room for players to make long runs down the field, or for long passes to be made in the air.

The focus instead is on making short runs and short passes.

It's very very rare that a player will ever take 5-6 full length strides. What's much more common is short bursts of speeds and changes in direction.

2-5 yards is just enough space for you to get open for a moment, receive a pass, and then pass the ball elsewhere, and continue moving as well.

The key is to keep things moving at all time.

The game is also a little bumpier just because of how close everyone is together.

Use that to your advantage and get closer to attackers as a defender.

Many times it's not the person who is the most deft on their feet who is successful in indoor, but it's the person who is always hustling and pushing to get in someones way.

If you're in a practice, ask your coach to run drills that focus on making short quick runs and moving the ball of your feet as quickly as possible.

These are fundamentals for both the outdoor and indoor game, but they're even more vital for indoor.

Putting The Pressure On

Bedford Armory Indoor

One thing many teams find success while playing in indoor leagues is what is called a high press.

That means when the opposing team has the ball in their end of the field, your team moves up and pressures them as early as possible. Basically once the ball is in play you get after it no matter where it is.

The reason this tends to be more effective is two-fold.

One, when you sit back and wait in your defensive half, the amount of space you give up is too large a part of the field to give up.

Since the field is smaller than it usually is, giving up all that space means your opponents will be within striking distance of the goal before you engage them. So you've got to step to them earlier.

Two, teams that struggle to make quick, accurate passes will buckle under this kind of pressure.

When they inevitably make a mistake, you'll be right near their net and able to take a strike at goal without having to worry about what you're giving away at the back.

It's up to your team to decide how high you would like to press.

Either all the way up the field (right when the ball leaves the goalies feet), or a 3 quarter press (you press once the opposing team moves just a little bit out of their backfield).

The most important thing is that you do it together.

Regardless of what pressure you decide to put on your opponents, the only way to ensure that you fail, is if everyone decides to do something different.

"Total Football"

The final difference between indoor and outdoor to understand is that, apart from the goalkeeper, positions are far more fluid.

There are simply too few people on the field (5 total including your goalie) to have a striker who doesn't defend at all, or a defender who isn't able to attack.

That doesn't mean run helter-skeleter all over the place.

Have positions and a structure in place at the beginning of the game, but make sure you're mobile across different parts of the field.

Indoor soccer is reliant on many different players moving in tandem across different parts of the field, filling in space where someone on your team has just moved from.

This is because the space is so much smaller, it's so much more important to move defenders out of the way for your teammates.

Midfielders and the striker should always be in rotation with one another, moving back and forth to try to get open and to get defenders out of position.

Defenders should also be able to move up when there is a lane because often the defender is the one person who the opposing team will leave open.

Movement on the field is one of the toughest things to grasp as a beginner because it takes game experience to really understand. So don't get frustrated if it's difficult at first.

When in doubt, and this is true of both indoor and outdoor, make sure you have at least one defender at the back, and if you're good there, then do your best to run into open spaces on the field and present the ball carrier with easy options for them to pass to.

That's all we've got for you this week. Looking forward to seeing you out on the pitch!