If you’ve been playing standard football for a while, it wouldn’t take you long to realise that five-a-side is a vastly different sport. Those who haven’t played it yet often assume that it’s just like regular football, but with five players instead of eleven and a smaller field. Yes, these are both true, but there really is much more to five-a-side – it’s a totally different kind of football, and oftentimes you really have to play it to truly get it.
Five-a-side rules have been modified to accommodate the different nature of five-a-side, and the game is generally much faster, which means five-a-side often provides non-stop excitement. And with the number of football leagues growing, the ease with which you can organise friendly games and how quickly you can find where to play 5 aside football in London there has never been a better time to learn how to play if you’re someone who likes his or her sport fast and furious.
But before you go looking for a team, here are the main differences between five-a-side and conventional football.
How Many Players Do You Need?
Just by the name alone, you know the deal with five-a-side football – you’ve got two teams with five players each, instead of two teams with eleven players per team. This may dissuade some people from playing, considering that you’ve got fewer players on the field but that’s actually the beauty of the sport and the reason it can be so challenging for those used to the standard game – you’ll really need to acquire a whole new set of different skills. If you’re a good goal-scorer, you also have to learn how to defend, and vice versa. And there’s simply no room to let your other teammates do the dirty work for you as everyone has an important role in every aspect of the game.
Size of Pitch
In most cases, a five-a-side football pitch is only about a third of the size of a standard football field. But one of the more interesting things about five-a-side is that there is actually no specific size for the pitch. But as there is no set size to keep in mind, you have to remember – a smaller pitch means less margin for error and less space to move around. You won’t get any wide-open spaces where you can stand back and contemplate your next move, and there are no situations when the goalkeeper can afford to make even a small error, or take a breather from his all-important task. It’s fast-paced all the way, especially with smaller pitches.
How Long do the Games Last?
With a much faster pace, it would be torture to let a five-a-side game last 90 minutes like in a standard football game. Instead, games rarely last longer than 20 to 30 minutes split into two halves. One similarity with regular football is that teams can switch sides at halftime, or choose to remain on the same side of the pitch.
How High Can You Kick the Ball?
This is a particularly interesting topic as the height a ball can be kicked is traditionally an optional five-a-side rule. In smaller indoor venues, players are often forbidden to kick the ball higher than head height, though this rule isn’t ironclad by any means.
Size of Penalty Area
Likewise, there’s no specific size for the penalty area in five-a-side football. But one main difference worth pointing out is that unlike standard football the goalkeeper is the only one allowed in the penalty area.
Referees on the Sideline
As five-a-side uses a smaller pitch and involves faster play, a lot of games are officiated by referees who usually sit on the sidelines. It would be very hard for a referee to pay attention to everything while on his feet and he may only end up inadvertently interfering with the flow of the game.
About the Kick-In
In standard football, you can throw the ball in if it can cross the line, but in five-a-side football, you have the kick-in. The principle remains the same, though you’ll have to kick the ball from a stationary position instead.
There is No Such Thing as Offside
One final difference between standard and five-a-side football is the lack of an offside rule in five-a-side. That should be music to the ears of anyone who’s found this rule a bit confusing. Furthermore, you don’t need to return to the centre spot after a goal has been scored, you can just follow that with a goal kick instead.