July 16, 2012
AUCKLAND – The introduction of an innovative new format during the ASB Futsal Junior Festival last weekend at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington could be a blueprint for other events and even other sports.
The July 8-9 festival – the U-10 and U-12 component of a wider National Futsal Junior Festival and Youth Championship – mixed skill development activities and traditional games to create a more age-appropriate festival atmosphere to the weekend.
Final standings reflected points from matches and a wide range of festival activities including one-v-ones, FIFA Street, FutVolley and Italian squares.
“There’s a large emphasis of fun as there should be at these ages,” said NZF Futsal Development Manager Dave Payne, “and certainly the feedback we had from parents, and the kids themselves was that they really enjoyed the weekend.”
“But packaged within that approach is a focus on long-term development and trying to remove or diminish the things that stop kids developing skills at those ages.
“We still have skilled players playing against skilled players but in an environment where players aren’t scared to make mistakes but confident enough to challenge themselves and try new techniques.”
The approach is in line with New Zealand Football’s Whole of Football plan and a player development model benchmarked against some of the World’s leading football nations.
For the record, Central Futsal U-10s edged ahead of the pack thanks to their FIFA Street points in their final activity and competition in the U-12s was equally tight but Auckland Football Federation Futsal clinched the title with a one on one tiebreaker against Capital Futsal Wind.