Today is the 2nd match of the Malta Futsal League season and I want to share with you my futsal match routine: how the day goes for me. It’s very different to when I was in England as we play on weekday evenings rather than Sundays, so we have a full day before we play, which is usually filled with a day job or for me, coaching and meetings.
I loved Sundays in England. It was a day for only thinking about the match. Nothing else; so my futsal match routine there was somewhat different. Although at Tranmere I had to control everything from tickets to set up, kit and then prepare the team so it wasn’t as simple as in Malta, but I’ll go through just the preparation of them team.
Futsal match routine: Malta
We’ve had just over a week of training (last match was a Monday when we beat Pieta 6-2) so last night’s session was light and tactical and we wanted to be careful not to pick up any injuries and make a final decision on the rotations (subs) for the match.
With this in mind, when we worked last night we worked with the probable two quartets (though it won’t necessarily go exactly to plan).
We’d normally also use this session for any tactical changes for use against the opposition, but as we haven’t yet had chance to scout opposition we are still focused on our game. Video analysis would ideally be done after the previous match to correct our mistakes, then just before the next match to prepare for the opponent.
Choosing the starting 5
The starting 5 in futsal is important, but not as key as in football due to the fact we can make unlimited subs during a game and if we’ve made a mistake or someone doesn’t start well, we can immediately rectify the situation. I prefer to focus on who will finish the match and work backwards.
Normally, between myself and Bobo (player coach), we choose a starting 5 (as this has to go on the teamsheet) and then I will make a plan thereafter using the document attached below. I look at each 4 and see if I feel that we are always at our strongest, while keeping people fresh for key moments in the match: last five minutes, start of 2nd half and end of first half. It’s not a good idea to use all our energy in the first half to then tire and lose a game at the end.
You can’t win a game in the first half, but you certainly can throw it away.Damon Shaw
The above quote means we have to stay in the game, whatever the result, until the end. Most futsal matches are decided at the end, whether because of fly goalkeeper or because the game has been tight and one team tires.
I am happy if in the last five minutes we are within 2 goals and always confident my team can turn it around at the end, or indeed hold on to a lead.
Countdown to the match
Meeting time is normally 1 hour and 15 minutes before kick off, so tonight, 7pm. By this time (2:30pm) I have already prepared the game plan, packed my bag and am ready to go. In my bag I have the following:
- Tactics board
- Whistle (in there for coaching, not really needed for matches)
- Game plan
- Futsal trainers
- Match day kit
I always feel like I am missing something, but as long as the rest of the technical staff do their roles, then all is perfect!
– 60 minutes: Dressing room
At 7pm we all meet and once everyone arrives, head to the changing room. At this point, the physio sees to any injuries, the team manager completes the team sheet and I personally like to leave the player to get changed and relax. I’ll discuss with Bobo the three key points to talk about and when everyone is ready, music off and we talk about the game plan.
-40 minutes: tactical talk
A short, concise talk before we head out to warm up focussing on three key messages and nothing new. The work is done during training and now players must focus on things they know. So it’s mostly about emphasising things we’ve discussed during the week. I aim to keep this to less than 7 minutes. Players will be in their own world and any longer will lose their attention. Try to let the starting five know early so they can focus on the match and not be surprised 2 minutes before the whistle goes – a mistake I’ve made a few times!!
-30 minutes: Warm up
When I was assistant manager at Industrias Santa Coloma my role included taking the warm up. Ideally we’d have 30 minutes, but mostly we had 10-15. You can see the warm up I used in the above video and I only slightly adapted this for Tranmere Rovers. Now, with Bobo as player coach, he leads the warm up and his preference is to vary it each week.
At this moment I’ll be watching the players, gathering my thoughts and thinking of any last minute tweaks or things to say to individuals before the match.
-5 minutes: line-up, motivation
We normally need to be lined up 5 minutes before kick off so we head back to the changing room and the players and staff motivated each other for them game. A rallying cry in the changing room before heading to the court and off we go…
Next up I’ll post about the post match routine, which will include video analysis (if possible) and a technical report/looking at stats.