How to build a winning 5-a-side football team

5th January 2021

So you want to play 5-a-side football in a league?  Great!  But you want to try win, even if your squad is fundamentally dry, right?  Well here are some of our thoughts on things to get your heads around if you want to be a successful team!

Back the organizer, with your words, time and money

All amateur football depends on a small, elite group of heroes. No, not star strikers, absolutely not!  Every team depends on the person willing to spend their time (and often money) getting everyone together and organising everything, like Rav Hayer in our photo, the gaffer of Dinosaurs FC, multi league winning legends in Shoreditch.

Probably one of the most challenging jobs in the world, running an football team is no simple task. From coordinating everyone's timetables and logistics, to extracting money from your players and managing the fallout from a big defeat and damaged egos, PLUS hopefully being a good player yourself, running a team brings a lot of work and pressure! If your team is going to win, everyone involved needs to respect and value what the organizer does for you and make it easy for them to manage the group. Back them with your words, time and money. Appreciate their efforts, support their decisions, make yourself available for the team as much as you can, and pay your fees ASAP!  

Goalkeepers are KEY

Everyone knows that to win a league a football team must have a strong core, and the base of that spine is your goalkeeper. It's not just about agility, reflexes, shot stopping etc, but also about communication and distribution - and these last two are things every goalkeeper can do well if they take the time to think about how they play.

It's important that your goalkeeper helps organise defenders. They are the only player that can see everything, the full picture, and they need to get used to giving good information to the team. Get them talking, and especially letting defenders know when a striker is lurking off their shoulder!

Goalkeepers can also help dictate your team's pattern of play, and play a crucial role in helping you build confidence on the ball throughout the match. You've all seen it so many times - the GK quickly tries to pass forward to a player directly in front of them, and that player gets ambushed, loses the ball, the opposition are quickly in one-v-one, and with your team exposed they smash home a cheap goal.

Let's be honest, most 5-a-side goalkeepers are not great on the ball, so the key is for them to consistently distribute the ball quickly to your better players in safe spaces so the team can build from there. The easiest way to do this is almost always to have your GK pass the ball out to good ballers in wide areas, and then your team can get on the attack! Keep the ball on the floor whenever you can, put it in front of your players, do it quickly (but make sure they're ready to receive the ball)!

Be compact

If you concede tons of goals, you can't win. You have to be able to stop the opposition to give yourself a chance. If you let a team get in down the middle with those low wide goals, even with the best GK, they're gonna score a hatful. 

You have to do the best with the players you have, but being organized and compact always makes a difference when you're defending, no matter how sick/dry your team is. Get everyone behind the ball ASAP when you lose it, show the opposition away from goal into wide areas/the corners, keep goalside of the player you're marking and close down anyone in front of the goal ASAP. Do these things consistently, and you'll see that you become harder to break down, harder to beat, and give yourself a better chance of winning!

None of this is rocket science, but you'd be amazed at how often we see 5-a-side football teams neglecting these basics and losing every week. Give them a try, we promise you'll improve!  If you need a bit of coaching, feel free to ask our refs!

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