Should I Play Futsal or Basketball?
Now that soccer season is winding down, it’s time to start shifting focus to winter sports. For many soccer players, futsal is a natural progression. At the same time, basketball is a top choice for many athletes to play in the winter.
Key Takeaways In This Article:
- Futsal and basketball are popular winter sports among soccer players.
- Each sport benefits soccer players. Lateral movement, quick decision-making, and constant action are just some of the benefits.
- Sometimes you can play both sports in the same season (jump to explanation).
Both sports are similar in some ways, but they also have their own unique features that set them apart. My 14-year-old son played both sports but basketball took over the majority of our winters up until this year. He loved both sports. In the end, I do think playing multiple sports, especially basketball in. the winter, helped his soccer game a lot. Not only did it keep him in shape, he was able to accelerate his quickness and open up different skill sets.
- I would recommend playing both if you can.
- If not, decide what your skill sets are. If you have good hand-eye coordination and can jump, basketball might be a good fit for you. If you have good foot skills and want to improve on that, futsal may be preferred.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at futsal and basketball and help you decide which one you should play based on your interests and abilities.
Understanding Futsal and Basketball
When deciding between playing futsal or basketball, it is important to understand the key differences between the two sports. While both sports involve a ball and require similar skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting, there are distinct differences in the rules, equipment, and playing surface.
Futsal is a variant of soccer that is played on a hard court with five players on each team. The ball used in futsal is smaller and heavier than a traditional soccer ball, which makes it easier to control and maneuver in tight spaces. The court is also smaller than a traditional soccer field, which means that players have less space to cover and must be able to quickly transition from offense to defense.
Futsal is action packed. Unlike outdoor soccer, every player will get many touches on the ball and have direct responsibilities to score or defend.
Here in the northeast, it is quite popular as the harsh winter comes and it’s too cold to be playing soccer outdoors.
Basketball, on the other hand, is played on a rectangular court with two baskets at either end. The court is typically made of hardwood and is divided into two halves by a midcourt line. Each team has five players on the court at a time, and the objective is to score points by shooting the ball through the opponent’s basket. Basketball is typically played from the waist up.
Benefits of Playing Futsal
If you are looking for a sport that can help you improve your soccer skills, then futsal is an excellent choice. Here are some of the benefits of playing futsal:
- Enhanced Tactical Awareness: Futsal is a unique and exciting sport that can help players develop enhanced tactical awareness. The fast-paced nature of the game encourages quick thinking and decision-making, while the emphasis on fluidity and counter-attacking helps players learn to be more attack-minded.
- More Opportunities for Touches by Each Player: In futsal, the ball is constantly in play, which means that players get more opportunities to touch the ball. This can help improve their ball control and dribbling skills. I’ve seen many kids accelerate their soccer game through futsal. Their touch and dribbling in tight spaces really improved.
- More Passes Moving Forwards Towards the Goal: Futsal is a game that encourages attacking play, which means that players are constantly looking to move the ball forwards towards the goal. This can help improve their passing and shooting skills.
- Increased Practice for Goalkeepers: In futsal, the smaller court size means that there are more shots on goal, which can help goalkeepers improve their reaction times and shot-blacking abilities.
Overall, playing futsal can help improve your soccer skills and provide a fun and exciting way to stay active.
Benefits of Playing Basketball
I’ve always played basketball growing up, here are some of the benefits that I’ve experienced:
Improves Overall Health
Basketball is a high-intensity sport that involves a lot of running, jumping, and quick movements. Playing basketball regularly can improve your cardiovascular health by increasing your heart rate and strengthening your heart muscle. It also helps to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Builds Muscular Endurance
Playing basketball requires a lot of physical strength and endurance. It involves a lot of fast twitch muscles and requires players to have a strong body. Your upper body is more important in basketball than soccer so it encourages athletes to be in peak physical condition.
Enhances Balance and Coordination
Basketball requires a lot of agility, balance, and coordination. Playing basketball from November to February can help to improve your balance and coordination, which can be beneficial in other sports like soccer as well.
Improves Mental Health (During the Dark Winters)
In many parts of the country, the winter months can be dark, cold, and just downright gloomy. Therefore, playing a sport like basketball can also have a positive impact on your mental health. It can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by providing an outlet for physical activity and social interaction. It can also help to improve your self-esteem and confidence by providing a sense of accomplishment and teamwork.
Basketball is a team sport that requires constant communication, cooperation, and teamwork. Playing basketball regularly can help to develop friendships with ‘non-soccer players’.
This one was a big one for my son. Although he’s very close to his teammates on his club soccer team, he enjoys playing basketball with his hometown friends. They’ve been playing together for the last five years and it was fun seeing them grow up together.
Can You Play Both in the Winter?
You may already be leaning towards futsal or basketball…but can you play both? I do believe you can play both sports and we’ve done it.
For a few seasons, basketball practices were during the week, and games were on Saturday mornings. Futsal was either Saturday afternoons or Sundays. Although it was busy, this worked with our schedule.
By playing both, my son was able to keep active and have a nice mix of activities.
With this said, the two sports might conflict in your situation. You have two options in your case. First, try to play both but understand that you might have to miss one or the other from time to time. Or, choose one.
It’s a personal decision but I think it’s great if you can swing both!
What if Soccer Is Your Primary Sport?
If soccer is your primary sport, I strongly believe you will benefit from basketball or futsal. There are different movements and styles of play that will help your defensive and offensive game in soccer.
Both sports help intangible skills like making quick decisions in tight spaces or finding the open player cutting to the basket or goal will pay off.
If you have an opportunity to play both, I say go for it! But, if they conflict, choosing one of the other will improve your game for the spring soccer season.