Attacking & Marking


The attackers will try to create an opportunity to finish against the defenders who in return will try to keep the ball away from their goal or disrupt the attack and go in a counter attack. This situation constitutes the game in itself and coaching it involves group attacking and marking principles. We are going to approach here the basic tactics and mechanisms of playing Futsal.

General Activities for Attack and Defence

Cross the line. 3 against 3. The objective of both teams is to cross the end line in possession of the ball.

Attack against defence. 3 attackers will come from one goal to the other. As soon as they cross half court 3 defenders will try to disrupt the attack by stealing the ball from the attackers and kick the ball out. If the attacking team is successful in creating the opportunity of finishing, not necessarily scoring, they are given the chance of a second attack.

Variation :- If the defenders steal the ball they go in a counter attack

Group Attacking Principles

a) A – Width and depth. Once the team has possession of the ball, players should position themselves in order to give options to the player with the ball. Young children tend to go all together to the ball and it takes time and patience for them to realize they have to spread out. Different positioning or systems apply to different situations. It is important however, to understand that these formations have to be used just as a starting position from which players will elaborate various movements in court, never staying static.

b) B – Movements off the ball. Futsal is a game that demands constant movement of the attackers specially those attackers without the ball. Where to run to is the key consideration and training for this is the first step in developing the tactical knowledge of the players. Move without the ball to give options to the player with the ball.

c) C – Possession and good pass. Passing is the key element for an effective attack. Retain possession, not carrying the ball for long, but passing until you find the opportunity to finish.

d) D – Support – all players should be able to support the attack. Even the last man can be an attacker and he/she should not stand static close to the “D”, but go forward still as a last man.

e) E – Counter attack – counter attack are one of the most effective forms of scoring goals in Futsal. Coaches can work on the capacity of doing a fast and objective counter attack with simple 2 against 1 or 3 against 2 situations.

f) F – Use of the target and use of the empty space. We can identify these two principles as the main offensive mechanisms of Futsal. Most of the attacking movements will be variations of these two:

Hit the target and run to receive the lay off. One basic attacking mechanism in Futsal is to play with one or two deep targets close to the opponent's goal. The keeper and the players at the back will try to find a gap to pass the ball to the target (s). Once the target receives the ball he/she will have two options. Turn and beat the pivot to shoot for goal or lay the ball off for the runners to finish. In Brazil this set piece is called “4th century” because it is the oldest attacking principle of Futsal and still extremely effective.

Create the empty space and hit the runner. The attackers will move and position themselves in order to create an empty space in a certain area of the court close to the opponent’s goal. Usually the target has the job of creating the space by opening wide on the court. Once the empty space is created, runners will run into it to receive a pass behind the defensive system.


Activities to improve group attacking

Width n depth game. In this game we are going to use volleyball lines or mark a big rectangle with cones in the middle of the court. Players can run into the rectangle, but they are not allowed to receive or carry the ball inside the rectangle .The ball can be passed across the rectangle as long as the receiver is outside it. In this way players will have to position themselves always wide and deep to receive the ball.
Variation :- Players can dribble but not receive the ball inside the rectangle.

Pass and move game. Divide the court into four rectangles as showing in diagram below. One player in each rectangle, passing the ball to each other . Every time a pass is done the attackers have to go to a different rectangle . There cannot b two players in the same rectangle, players cannot retain the ball for more than 4 seconds and they cannot receive the ball outside the rectangles.
Variation: Players can change positions (rectangles) without passing.

10 passes attack. Teams can score only after 10 passes without losing the possessions of the ball.

Hit the target and run. One line of players wide in each side of the goal. A deep target. Keeper throws the ball to the target and 1 runner from each line goes to finish the lay off from the target.
Variation: - instead of the throwing of the keeper the drill starts with a pass to the target from the player in the line, ( as in diagram ).
- Runners cannot make a straight run. They have to make a change of

Pass and move to the empty space. Target moves wide on the court. Player with the ball passes to the opposite flank and runs into the empty space up front which the target has vacated. Target varies the side he/she will open up on the court, this way the runners have to look for the empty space.

3 attackers game. Normal Futsal full game, but teams must have 3 players in their attacking half court to score. If the team scores and they do not hav three attackers, the goal is not valid

Group Defensive Principles

a- Close the middle. Closing the middle of the court is the first step for keeping the ball away from your own goal because you avoid the ball being thrown to the target or to a runner close to your goal. Depending on the formation of the attacking team, the defence will use two or three players to close the middle.

b- Behind the line of the ball. When marking, all the players should be behind the line of the ball, except on corners.

c- Do not stay in line. The defender who is marking the player with the ball should push on, taking the space of the attacker, while the other ones drop back behind him/her creating other defence lines.
d- Communication. Good communication between the players is essential for a successful defence.

Activities to improve group defence

3 on 2 close the mini goal. Three attackers passing the ball to each other and trying to score in the mini goal (2 metres). Every time the attackers pass the ball, the defenders have to alternate between putting pressure on the player with the ball and dropping to goal to block the shots.

Close the middle. 2 defenders closing the middle. They have to block the throwing of the keeper and the passes of 2 attackers to a player who moves over the half way line. If the defenders block a throwing or a pass they swap with the attackers.

Close the middle with 3. Divide the court into 3 zones with 3 players in each. The players in the middle zone have to block passes from one end zone to the other . Players in the end zones will pass and move the ball until they find the gap. High balls are not allowed. Players swap zones when the middle players block 3 passes. Diagram on next page.

Communication game. Every time the attackers pass the ball, the defenders have to say the name of the marker in charge of that player. If the defenders do not say the name of the name of the marker in charge, it is a free kick.

Variation: Coach chooses one player to make the calls.

4 defenders. Normal full game. When a team loses the possession of the ball, all their players have to drop behind the half way line. If a team scores and the defending team does not have 4 players in its own half court, an extra penalty shot is given to the attacking team. In this way we will force the “superstars” to drop back and mark.

After analysing group attacking and defensive principles, we have a better view of the dynamics of Futsal. The next and final coaching components of the game we are going to discuss are the dead ball situations. While these could have been included in the group attacking and defensive principles, we separated them to facilitate the identification of specific aspects of these situations.