Manipulate the ball“You don’t see many dribbles in small-sided football, but the players need to be able to manipulate the ball,” says Peter Sturgess, manager of England’s futsal team. “There isn’t the space to go on marauding runs – it’s tight out there, and you need to be able to control the ball skillfully and quickly to avoid tackles and work an inch to find a pass or a shot. To master this, work on dribbling in tight spaces against defenders.”Shoot with sniper-like accuracy“Shooting with speed, power and accuracy is crucial,” explains Sturgess. “The goals are smaller, the goalkeepers are agile and you don’t always have much time or space to shoot. You want to try and catch the goalkeeper cold – shoot early, low and aim for the corners. Work on shooting through small gaps and shifting the ball to the side of a defender and pulling the trigger. Work on making a sweet and clean connection with the ball.”Pass with precision“Small-sided football is like basketball: it’s end-to-end, so you need to be able to move the ball around quickly and accurately,” says Sturgess. “Play 4 v 4 in a tight area with a floater who plays for the team not in possession. This creates an overload of 5 v 4 in favour of the defensive team, forcing the attacking players to work hard in possession.”Mitre Star is an online hub designed to improve your 5-a-side game. It has expert tips and useful advice to help you and your team in 4 key areas: tactics, technique, fitness and nutrition.For more tips and advice see #mitrestar, @mitresports, www.facebook.com/mitre and instagram.com/mitreFor more 5-a-side tips see:Speed up your attackControl the ball under pressureSupercharge your reaction speedFuel for 5-a-sideBoost your speed off the mark Build explosive change of directionKeep possession in tight spacesImprove strength, balance and agility
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