Futsal: A new and exciting Sport……in fact the fastest growing sport in the world

Futsal: A new and exciting Sport….in fact the fastest growing sport in the world

By: Dr Markus W. Laupheimer & Dr. Daniel Berdejo-del-Fresno

Futsal is a high-intensity, intermittent sport where accelerations and short sprints (usually with a duration of 1 to 4 seconds) are performed at maximal or sub-maximal intensity. These actions are interspersed by brief recovery periods (activities of low intensity or pauses), during a long period of time. The 75% of the playing actions last between 1-18 seconds, while the resting intervals between 1-15 seconds are the 83% of them. A match is organised in 2 halves of 20 minutes each with 10-15 minutes break between them. However, due to the clock is stopped every time that the ball goes out; a match can last 75-80 minutes. In World Cup games the average duration of the games was 77 minutes (half time not included); 37 of those the ball was stopped, therefore, that means the 48% of the duration of a game is rest time and 52% is playing time. In futsal, the ratio work:rest is almost 1:1, with approximately 15 seconds of play followed by 15 seconds of rest. Furthermore, futsal players cover an average distance of 4,500 metres, 50% of those are at high intensity. The average heat rate during a game is 174 bpm in Spanish first division professional players (90% of their maximum heart rate). In fact, the 83% of the time that a player is on the futsal court is above the 85% of HRmax, being a 16% between 65-85% HRmax [1-6]. From this, it is deduced that, in order to improve their futsal performance, players must arrange specific futsal conditioning with some additional resistance (good aerobic endurance and great recovery capacity) and sprint and agility-COD training.

Futsal participation in England is growing a lot [7]. The number of competitions, teams and players is increasing season after season. However, there are still some barriers: venues to practice the sport, availability of local teams, and poor standard of the coaches and level of the competitions… but also the lack of knowledge about the game. Futsal is a sport itself, but it can be also a perfect tool to develop football players as the number of touches on the ball is higher, the number of times you are involved in the game is more, the reduced space will help the players with their technical abilities and finally the time, in futsal players have less time on the ball which will enhance their decision making skills. However, some coaches, teams and clubs see futsal as a counterproductive sport for football players due to its injury ratio. Argument that we do not understand. Most futsal injuries are caused by contact with another player and involved the lower extremity (70%), with most frequent diagnosis being contusion of the lower leg (11%), ankle sprain (10%) and groin strain (8%) [8]. The studies demonstrate futsal’s similarity with football, in terms of the location of injuries, but also the difference, suggesting that futsal provides an environment where injuries are less likely to occur, compared with football [9]. Finally, studies have also demonstrated the validity of “The 11+” in futsal as an effective conditioning tool to improve physical fitness and technical performance of youth futsal players [10].

We can conclude that a good physical condition is essential for futsal. That seems to be a major factor. If you are not in a good physical condition and you play for a long time, you get tired and that is when injuries happen. To achieve a good physical condition, high intensity interval training should be incorporated in to any training routine or programme. Then, more and more core stability exercises or Pilates type exercises mixed with some balance work seems to reduce injury. FIFA has been promoting this a lot with their “The 11+” initiative, which is good for both amateur and professional levels and football and futsal.

Futsal is a great sport. Fast, exciting and skilful. We hope that futsal will take off in the United Kingdom. This is not only because you can watch it indoors (and avoid the bad weather), but also, if you can fill an indoor hall, the atmosphere is amazing and the supporters will be entertained.


  1. Álvarez Medina, J., Serrano, E., Giménez, L., Manonelles, P. & Corona, P. (2001a) Perfil cardiovascular en el fútbol-sala: adaptaciones al esfuerzo. Archivos de Medicina del Deporte XVIII (82):143-148.
  2. Álvarez Medina, J., Serrano, E., Giménez, L., Manonelles, P. & Corona, P. (2001b) Perfil cardiovascular en el fútbol-sala: respuesta inmediata al esfuerzo. Archivos de Medicina del Deporte XVIII (83):199-204.
  3. Álvarez Medina, J., Serrano, E., Giménez, L., Manonelles, P. & Corona, P. (2002) Necesidades cardiovasculares y metabólicas del fútbol sala: análisis de la competición. Apunts: Educación física y deportes 67:45-53.
  4. Barbero Álvarez, J. C., Soto, V., & Granda, J. (2003) Temporary analysis during match play in futsal (indoor soccer) with photogrametric system. Book of abstracts: Science and Football 5, 266.
  5. Barbero Álvarez, J. C., Soto, V. & Granda, J. (2004a) Análisis de la frecuencia cardiaca durante la competición en jugadores profesionales de fútbol sala. Apunts de educación física 77:71-78.
  6. Barbero Álvarez, J. C., Soto, V. & Granda, J. (2004b) Effort profiling during indoor soccer competition. Journal of Sports Sciences 22:500-501.
  7. Moore, R. & Radford, J. (2014) Is futsal kicking off in England? A baseline participation study of futsal. American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 2(3):117-122.
  8. Junge, A. & Dvorak, J. (2010). Injury risk of playing football in Futsal World Cups. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44.15http://pubs.sciepub.com/ajssm/2/3/8/image/pra1.png: 1089-1092.
  9. Ribeiro, R. N., & Costa, L. O. P. (2006). Epidemiologic analysis of injuries occurred during the 15th/ Brazilian indoor soccer (futsal) Sub20 team selection championship. [Análise epidemiológica de lesões no futebol de salão durante o XV Campeonato Brasileiro de Seleções Sub 20] Revista Brasileira De Medicina do Esporte, 12(1), 1e-4e.
  10. Reis, I., Rebelo, A., Krustrup, P., & Brito, J. (2013). Performance enhancement effects of federation internationale de football association’s ‘the 11+” injury prevention training program in youth futsal players. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 23(4), 318-320.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <abbr> <acronym> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Send a Message