What are small-sided games?
They are football games with fewer players competing on a smaller-sized field. They are fun games that encourage players to have more contact with the ball because fewer players are playing in a smaller playing area. SSG have a definite developmental impact on younger football players.
Why change to small-sided games?
It makes the game of football a better experience for children. More touches on the ball, more opportunities to make decisions, more actual play. Players will be more active due to playing both attacking and defensive roles and will become all-rounded and understand the importance of team-mates and playing and working together.
Do other countries play small-sided games?
Small Sided Games are played and endorsed throughout Spain, Brazil, England, The Netherlands, Scotland, Germany, France, Korea and USA, to name a few. The idea of Small Sided Games is not new.
Benefits of Small Sided Games
A significant amount of research has been conducted in countries where Small Sided Games are prevalent, which overwhelmingly highlights the following benefits:
· More touches of the ball by all players throughout all areas of the pitch
· More shots on goal
· More efficient use of facilities, given there can be multiple games on one standard-size field
· Repeated decision-making experience
· The ball is in play far more often
· The emphasis is on player development rather than winning or losing
· Better success rate leads to improved quality of play, self-esteem and player retention
· The game is easier to understand
· Freedom of expression – no positions in early stages
· Less perceived stress on the players
· Less perceived pressure from coaches and parents
· Parents more likely to volunteer for SSG game leader roles
· Children enjoyed the progressive and sequential game formats.