The summer of sport just keeps getting better and while we mourn the end of another wonderful Wimbledon, some of us are really getting into the UEFA Women’s Euros and we’re pretty sure that after the England Lionesses performances so far, the rest of the CopriSystems’ team will be equally as invested in the tournament soon enough. It would be impossible not to feel a sense of pride and inspiration after an incredible eight-goal victory over Norway and an extra time goal that has sent us through to the semi-finals!
No matter which country goes on to win the whole tournament, the most important thing is not going to be the trophy but the legacy. Clubs should already be drawing up plans for capitalising on the success of this event and encouraging more young people to get in to football at grassroots level but in particular the girls.
Having indoor facilities can help. It may traditionally be an outdoor sport, played in all conditions but it’s not surprising that the unpleasant conditions can really put a child off. From a club’s perspective, having the option of using indoor facilities means that the weather cannot dictate whether a training session goes ahead. Young players can stay dry and warm, in a comfortable, safe environment without the risk of them heading home in tears because they can’t feel their fingers. Junior membership numbers will increase not only because word spreads that the kids are loving their football but because parents quite like cheering them on in the warm instead of outdoors on a Saturday morning in the brutal winter months!
The limited space indoors also has so many advantages to helping young players develop their skills. The walls allow the ball to be in-play for longer and encourage more touches, which is great for improving ball mastery. Tight playing areas mean the players are forced to protect the ball, use turns to escape sticky situations and make decisions at speed. The fast, repetitive nature of indoor football means that if players do make a mistake, it’s not long before they get the opportunity to have another go.
Coaches will tell you that they also like playing small-sided games from time to time and being indoors gives them the perfect opportunity. Less players on the pitch mean more touches on the ball per player, more goal-scoring opportunities per player and high tempo matches. Each player tends to be more physically involved at pace so games can turn around quickly, which never gets boring.
Not wanting to discriminate against anyone over the age of primary school level, indoor football can help develop every footballer’s technique and confidence as part of a broad training programme, even the professionals.
Increasingly, it’s the older generations in our local communities who are looking for more opportunities to stay active and indoor, walking football is the ideal inclusive sport for them. Right now, girls and boys, young and old are all looking at our national women’s football team for inspiration so it would be great to see that momentum build.