Small-Sided Soccer Games: Why 5v5?
The newest addition to our Hotspurs training program is our in-house 5v5 league. With our players training twice a week, many playing in futsal, indoor leagues, and even other winter sports, why in the world did we decide to offer another league? And outdoors to boot!?
Unarguably, the game itself is the best way for players to learn, grow, and develop. Around the world, kids used to play in their own time. But fields and individuals are all over-scheduled and American kids aren’t organizing the street style games on their own.
So, to create a competitive playing environment where players can just show up and play in a safe environment, we began our 5v5 league. Our players are tested and forced to make quick decisions while surrounded by their Hotspurs teammates creating the setting to allow our players to grow.
5v5, or 5-a-side, is another variation of the small-sided game. At practices, we regularly utilize small-sided games that mimic the larger game. Here are some of the benefits of the 5v5 game:
- We’ve all witnessed teams that display great team chemistry. Two players that don’t verbally communicate, yet connect on every pass. This sort of chemistry is developed by playing the game together.
It needs little explanation as to ‘why’ seeing a teammates habits to receive the ball, make a run, preference for where the ball is played — all in a competitive setting — leads to players that more easily develop that chemistry.
Speed of play
- Smaller field size leads to a faster press and a faster attack creating more transition moments and scoring opportunities.
- With fewer players on the field and a smaller size space, the counter-press from the opposition is quick. This forces quick decision-making habits.
Individual touches & Player Involvement
- Fewer players on the field and less on the bench mean more opportunities for each player to get ample touches on the ball and further refine the execution of their technique. In the small-sided game, there is not a place to ‘hide’ on the field as everyone plays a vital role in the teams attack, defense, and transition.
The game of soccer is beautiful in that it can be played with many variations of players, surfaces, altered rules, and you still can see the quality and skill of players come to light. With our 5v5 league, in its first season, we know we’ll have tweaks and updates to continue to evolve it to see heightened success. In the meantime, we love seeing greater opportunities for our players to compete — even in the snow!