Making futsal engaging to maximise its benefits for young people in local communities; Over 350 children participated at Marjon’s Futsal Festival
On the 28th and 29th of January, students at Plymouth Marjon University delivered a weekend of competitive futsal for football teams in the local community. With support from members of Marjon FC, the three students presented a fresh and engaging festival for players from Under 8s to Under 14s.
Representing both Marjon and the Football Club, the Marjon Futsal Festival aimed to exploit the lack of football participation performed in the winter period along with targeting the potential growth of futsal as a sport.
Futsal has previously been overlooked, however creating a fun, sociable environment for players, parents, and coaches, involving maximum game time for all through fair scheduling, touchline spectating and support from parents, photography, and music. The children were able to enjoy the sport and explore its benefits through participating and observing other teams play without the pressure that comes with trying a new sport.
The winter season can be very frustrating for children who play grassroots football. Trying to fall asleep to the sound of heavy rain knowing that your game will be cancelled in the morning, ruins the weekend. Futsal tackles this issue by being played indoors. Our Festival was held at Marjon Sport & Health Centre with great facilities to ensure a positive weekend.
Futsal is a fast-paced, 5-a-side ‘football’ game. The smooth surface combined with smaller playing fields encourages players to constantly move, as well as to use technical skills such as ball control and dribbling to play out of tight spaces. The reduced bounce of the ball ensures that players maintain play on the floor, enhancing the confidence of children having the ball at their feet.
Futsal and football have a transferable skillset, allowing children to improve in both sports when competing in a futsal environment. This can lead to improved performances and results for Saturday or Sunday grassroots teams when games are not cancelled by weather conditions.
Kyle Dowling, BA Football Coaching and Development student at Marjon, said “We had wanted to make this event new and exciting for everyone involved. The festival highlighted the need to grow futsal and how It can further benefit many lives through not only the winter periods but all year round.”
Dr Phil Brown, Senior Lecturer in Sport Development at Plymouth Marjon University and Club Welfare Officer and Executive Member added:
“This was a fantastic collaborative partnership between the students and the community club. The students can develop applied learning and knowledge exchange, through the collaborative planning, delivery, and evaluation of this highly valuable futsal initiative. Plymouth Marjon FC and other local clubs and players can enjoy a new winter Futsal festival. We hope this becomes an annual event.”
Robbie Bagg, BA Football Coaching and Development student at Marjon added, “As a group, we’ve had to work on social media, team registrations, and scheduling, among other things. Having a clear main objective from the beginning and knowing what we wanted to get out of this event really helped us to push towards the final goal. It has been a rewarding experience.”
Dom Paine, BA Football Coaching and Development student at Marjon said, “Registering teams from all age groups has definitely provided me with some useful skills for the future. Setting up this event was challenging however I was always motivated to make it work due to understanding the impact we as a group could make on the community.”
If you would like to study a sport degree at Marjon, find out more here.
Authored by: Kyle Dowling, BA Football Coaching and Development Student