#Training foundations

Graeme Dell on a constraints-led approach

FIFA, 12 Sep 2023


Graeme Dell, a distinguished figure in the world of futsal, holds the esteemed positions of FIFA Futsal Technical Expert and FIFA Futsal Development Consultant. Boasting an illustrious career as both a coach and a coach educator, he has a place in the history books as the first-ever coach of the England national futsal team.

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Dell begins the interview by talking about the new futsal coaching manual published by FIFA and the methodology applied to the training sessions therein. He stresses that all of the exercises have a strong relationship to the game and do not involve a fixed outcome. The expert futsal coach and coach educator underlines that the idea is to use the game as the teacher, and that the exercises are appropriate for every age group. 

The FIFA Futsal Technical Expert goes on to explain the constraints-led approach adopted in the resource, in which the coach is tasked with imposing a series of constraints to achieve the ultimate objective. Dell notes that the relationship between the pitch size and the ability and age of the player is an important factor when it comes to session planning. Another key aspect of this approach is to use underloads and overloads to allow players to get used to dealing with such environments. 

Dell then elaborates on the benefits of the constraints-led approach. The main benefit is that it can be applied to every age group, with some minor adjustments. In order to ensure that all children have access to playing opportunities, it is important that prospective coaches are able to engage with futsal and are not deterred by what they consider to be complexities in coaching. By using game-based scenarios with a small number of basic constraints, Dell hopes that a larger number of people will be encouraged to contribute to the development of youth futsal and may be inspired to attend coaching courses or obtain coaching qualifications. 

Towards the end of the interview, Dell shares some interesting insights into the new futsal resource produced by the FIFA Technical Study Group. He notes that the group identified some issues of concern in its analysis of recent national-team competitions. The increasing complexity of the tactics employed in the game poses challenges for players lacking the technical prowess to perform some tactical actions.

Dell speaks of the importance of having coaches in place who understand the players and their needs. He believes that it is crucial to provide the next generation of futsal players with the right tools so as to prevent the senior level of the game from suffering.

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