Indoor Soccer Coaching Tips from Coaches
Tips, Tactics, Strategies, Drills

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Indoor Soccer Strategy, Tips, Tactics From SoccerHelp
Indoor Soccer Drills

Note: There are over 40 pages of Indoor Soccer Strategy, Drills, Tips and Tactics on SoccerHelp Premium.

1. From Coach Matthew, Seattle USA

Most goals that are scored on an indoor field are rebounds. It is very difficult to score on just a one touch shot past the goalie. So when telling your players this, devise a strategy where all your players know when your guy/girl is going to shoot the ball and have your forwards and center mid or rover charge the goalie so if a rebound occurs you have a high chance of a return rebound shot!                     Matthew Seattle WA, U-17 Girls Select P-1 Coach

2. From Coach Robert, U-8 Boys, NC USA

I have found this useful: In Practice, have the kids line up outside penalty area single file; have 2 coaches on both sides of goal fire shots at an angle off the wall so that the ball rolls or bounces out to kids; the 1st kid in line one touches a shot and goes to back of line; next ball served immediately from other coach. SoccerHelp Tip: Teach your scorers (usually Forwards and Midfielders) to NOT stand too close to the opponent's goal or the rebound off the wall will go behind them and they will block a teammate's shot by being in the way (i.e., they will be between the ball and the goal). They should stay out far enough (10-15 feet from the goal) that they can see the rebound and can quickly run onto the ball and one-touch shoot. One Striker off the Near Post and one off the Far Post would be ideal.

3. From Coach Joe

At the beginning of the game and after each of the opponent's goals start with on strong kick down field. While passing backwards is common on outdoors kick-offs, passing backwards will turn your offense into defense in indoor. The field is far to short to pass back across midfield.

Teach your players to be ready. When a shot is taken and hits the net above the goal it results in a throw for the goalie. If your offense is heading down the field the goalie can quickly put the ball back to the offense.

4. From Steven

As I said before..Love your web-site. Since you were soliciting tips on indoor soccer; I felt you missed two of the biggest differences (in my opinion) between outdoor and indoor.. The Wall and the length of the pitch.

The walls can be your best friend or worst enemy. If you have a player in between you and the person you wish to pass to, and you are off to the side of the pitch; the wall offers you a way to make that pass with zero chance of the player between intercepting. You need to practice getting your angles right. Also, a great way to go around the opposition is to bounce the ball off the wall to yourself! The defender will normally turn with the ball towards the wall.. so you receive the ball and get your body between it and the defender before they can recover. This is because you ran straight ahead and they had to turn.

Also a great way to pass to a forward in deep is chip the ball against the wall close to the goal keeper. The secret is to make it close enough to the goalie that they come towards it and get out of position but far enough that they cannot get it. Now your forward is running towards the ball, in front of goal, with the keeper not set! This works especially well if you have a forward that is faster than the defense, even if they are marked they are guaranteed to get the ball alone in front of goal. You need to practice getting the right weight on these passes.

The other aspect of the wall is the depth your strikers lurk at! In outdoor they will go as deep as permitted by a defense. However, in indoor... no point hanging around that deep as most goals are rebounds! I don't have a drill for this as adults naturally seem to get this, I never coached indoor kids. However I do remember my kids coach (copied on this e-mail) had a good drill last year that had one girl shooting off the wall beside goal and the other standing high for a rebound.. I am sure Chery will share it with you.

The length of the pitch is HUGE because if you fail to control a ball coming at you in midfield you are under threat in your own end instantly. Add to that, the ball bounces more than outdoor... higher and harder. So players should practice using their body to control the ball. How many times in adult indoor do you see somebody flailing their feet at a high bounce to their side and the ball ends up at a forward behind them! For this I do a simple drill that also helps wall passing skills. Set up a about 5 feet behind a line. Coach stands 5-10 foot behind the cone player stands the same distance behind the line. All around 10 - 15 feet from a wall! Coach bounces the ball so it rises around waist to chest height slightly to the side of the player. The player moves forward bringing the ball down with the chest then passes back to the coach around the cone. It is essential that they cross the line before passing because this will build the habit of moving towards the ball. If you stand still and chest it down 9 times out of 10 the person marking you will get it! The forward motion is to get separation and get your player moving in the right direction. My adult team last year gave up at LEAST ten goals where guys let the ball get past them and we were all caught out. The other benefit of controlling these high balls is it trains your forwards on how to better control those passes coming off the end wall I was discussing previously!

Anyway, as much as I love theorizing on soccer... I have to work!

5. From Coach John, St. Louis USA

Here are a few shooting tips for indoor 'wingers'...keep 'bounce' passes low, especially near the goal to allow the 'pass receiver' or your striker to have a better chance at a 'one-timer' or one touch shot on goal... remind players that like on a pool table, generally the 'angle of incidence equals angle of deflection' other words, a pass that meets the wall at around a 45 degree angle will roughly come off the wall at an equal but opposite angle. If a winger can deliver a pass from near the side wall to 6 or 8 feet off the 'near post', the ball should meet the center near the middle of the front of the goal. Try to avoid kicking the ball into the corner near the opposing goal, as it will most certainly roll right into the goalie's waiting hands. (Much like a hockey puck shot into the corner) from John- St. Louis rec coach girls 14-U and boys 11-U

6. From Coach Dawn, BC Canada

Here's a few tips that my team has found helpful in indoor play.

1. In 6 aside play, we use one sweeper, two mids and three forwards in a triangular formation in front of the opponents goal. Some indoor fields have a semi-circular crease in front of the goalie that no other player is allowed to handle the ball in (although it's ok to run through the crease). The triangular offensive positioning allows for passes through the crease to team mate to provide shooting opportunities.

2. The ball travels much faster indoors, therefore the play is very quick and decisive. It works best in these conditions to keep the ball low, often fast, hard passes with top spin.

3. There is no offside rule in indoor soccer, so we always have a striker high up in the field ready for the transition to offence.

4. If not playing off the walls, the ball is kicked in on the touch lines instead of a throw in. Hope these are helpful, kind regards, Dawn

7. From Coach Garry, TX USA

Indoor defense: Keep one of your mids/fwds/ backs on the attacking side board when on defense. Deny this attacking "expressway" to your opponent. It is protected even more than the touchline is in outdoor. Force them into the middle at the center of the "pitch", where opportunities for steals, tackles and stops are better. The GK's vision of the attackers is also clearer when the ball is away from the wall. The cross and slam attack can also be thwarted by keeping the attack in the center.

Our Reply: Hi Garry,

Could you expand on this a little? Would you leave one player on each side? Would it be better for most teams to have the mids cover the sides (wouldn't it be dangerous to ask the Fullbacks to cover the sides?)

Garry's Answer: In transition we encourage the appropriate depth player to get to the boards on the side that the ball is advancing and to keep her outside shoulder in close proximity to the boards to stop an attack up the boards. Her partner moves over to the center of the pitch, ball side of second attackers. We play 5 on 5 with GK's so we only have 1 MF on the field. When the MB is the player stopping this kind of attack, the other MB must get in front of the goal immediately. The MF must get back and play as a rover, clogging passing lanes.. If the attack is broken up by a F or MF, the other two move to near support positions ball side of the second attackers to receive the ball if the tackle is successful and to otherwise deny space and passing lanes to the pressured attacker towards the center and up the pitch. When the ball is played away from the boards by the attacker to avoid our pressure, the defending player ( first defender) must move aggressively to continue the pressure, tackle the ball, or force a pass that can be taken away by the remaining F, MF, or MB. We prefer for the attack to come up the middle where we can defend and pressure the attacker from both sides. Play off of the boards is also limited and easier to react to when the initial attack comes from the middle. This usually results in a slower developing attack and presents many opportunities to tackle the ball or to intercept a wayward pass and then move onto the attack ourselves. As in hockey, a ball well driven up the boards without defensive pressure will wind up deep in the attacking zone and often will negate the defense of one MB and the MF. The GK is left to deal with these sorts of balls as the primary stopper. It is easier for an attacking team to develop numbers at the goal when the ball is advanced swiftly up the boards. A loose ball in this zone can mean disaster for defenders if a speedy attacker gets a "one timer" opportunity in this area.

8. From Lee, Player and Coach, Orange NSW Australia

1: While Soccer is a methodical game, indoor is much different, it is a fast paced game requiring a team that can work together without need of a set plan; by knowing each others games, positions and Strengths, team members can adjust and make do with any changes in a game

2: Indoor Soccer is a fast game that usually forces no player to remain motionless, this of cause results in players save for the goalie getting exhausted, a team with enough players will need to work out a substitution system. I've noticed that a close game is not necessarily won by the team with the best players, tactics etc, but by a team that can play Indoor soccer for Both halfs!

3: When being chased into a corner in your own half but having lots of time, an effective technique is to hold the ball in the corner, this will result in different things happening depending on your opposition. a) An opposing player/s will be committed to intercept you, this draws a player off one of your own! You can then counter by passing up the line or at an angle to a free player. b) Players will stand off waiting for you to pass, giving you the option to run yourself. If something goes wrong, you can play the ball to the goalie, or if they manage to take the ball, considering you remain in the corner, won't have an angle to openly attack the goal.

4: Calling a name when asking for the ball may not be the best method of opening a play, by calling a name, you draw attention, not just from your team mates. A simple whistle or raised hand can be effective and discreet.

5: Directly passing to a player is often not the best method or option, the rule of thumb is to pass the ball into space where your player is most likely to gain possession.

6: NEVER pass the ball across the front of the goal if you can help it, this opens up a massive chance for the opposition to score if a mistake occurs.

7: Its best not to try fancy footwork directly in front of your goal , because if the ball is lost, your goal is wide open.

From Lee, Orange NSW, Mid-fielder for "Strength and Honour" 16-18 Mixed division. "Play-On" Indoor. I currently Coach 2 Teams and play for 3, my Top Team, Strength and Honour won State Representation, which was extremely satisfying in all aspects of the game.

9. More Tips From Lee, Player and Coach, Orange NSW Australia

Here's some more Indoor tips as you requested, if you have any requests etc, please don't hesitate to ask.

1: Most indoor stadiums are bordered by a net, play this to your advantage, simply kicking the ball off the net and running around the other side of a contesting player is very effective as the opposition has to keep track of 2 objects, also, kicking a ball up the line using the net as a guide assures accuracy and a hard ball to stop for the defender. HOWEVER, you may want to check your local rules, the traditional "Rebound" Rules state that by leaning into a net, gripping the net, or using the Net in conjunction with your body to your advantage is illegal and a penalty will be given at the discretion of the Ref.

2: Goalie Hint (As provided by Strength and Honour's Goalie Jono Gordon): Talk to your Defenders and inform them of players in possible goal scoring positions and inform your defenders if they haven't picked up strays.

3: Goalie Hint (As provided by Strength and Honour's Goalie Jono Gordon): Deploy the ball quickly after a save, this will trigger a counter attack, and the attacking players will be out of any possible defensive position.

4: Goalie Hint (As provided by Strength and Honour's Goalie Jono Gordon): In one on One situations, creep forward slowly but keep an eye on your position relative to the goal, get low and spread yourself to cut down as much angle as possible.

5: Goalie Hint (As provided by Strength and Honour's Goalie Jono Gordon): Knee and Elbow Pads can make life easier on your body, while you'll want to stay on your feet as much as possible, this is not always an option, better to be safe than sorry.

6: An important rule to know (if it applies to your team) is the backwards motion rule, if a player is in possession of the ball, they are NOT allowed to back into a defender to gain ground, there is a 2 meter Le-way, the only exception to this rule is when the player receives the ball while moving in a backwards direction, then its up to the Ref when enough ground has been gained. This opens up a number of cheap tactics that can be played. One such tactic is to shoulder the defender then claim the defender was pushing into them, this is dishonest, but watch for it when defending. When in a defensive position, it is a natural reaction to place your arms out to the sides to indicate you're not pushing the possessing player, but if the player tries to make a break, and runs into your arms, its considered a block and a penalty will be issued.

7: Indoor soccer balls are usually made of different materials and behave much differently than normal soccer balls, it may be a wise investment to buy one or go to your local stadium and practise with them to understand the physics and movement of the ball.

8: When running at high speed with possession of the ball, a simple tactic to rid opposition is to merely put your foot on the ball and stop moving! Their momentum will carry them away from you, and you'll be able to react quicker because you knew what was going to happen.

Hope these are insightful, I'll send you more next when I have a chance.

Thanks for your time and this opportunity :)

10. From Coach Dave

Help ! I have gotten a lot from your site and I need more help. We have been having a lot of indoor practices because of the weather. Do you have suggestions for effective indoor practices held in a gym ? My team is made up of 8 year old girls. Thanks.

I could also use advice on formations for 8v8 that will be played on a large field. We are a recreational team, and I am thinking about using two fullbacks by the goal with a stopper in front. I am not sure about the number of midfielders and forwards. Any suggestions ? By the way we are using the soccer patch incentives and the Mia Hamm videos, the girls love them ! Thanks Dave.

Our Answer: " Hi Dave,

1. for indoor practices most of the Premium Practice Games work and are the best thing to do. Another option are the drills on the Championship Soccer Drills tape, although the Premium games are better.

2. for 8v8, there is an 8v8 section on Premium that discusses how to teach a 2-1-2-2, which is a formation I recommend, and a 3-3-1 and 3-2-2. If you use 2 FB's and a Stopper, use 2 MF's and 2 Forwards."

11. From Julie, U-10, Pennsylvania USA

My son has played lots of indoor soccer. The most successful line-up seems to be 2-1-2, with a roving center like you suggest. The best tip he received on defense was to make sure the defense never is flat. One pushes up and almost plays as a forward while the other stays back and but to the opposite side. This way if the forward defender gets beat he just moves over which is quicker then turning and running. The defenders alternate who goes up and who stays back. Depending on the experience of the players the coach has them decide or he will direct. This can work even at 2nd grade if the players are advance but will my son's team really started using this well at U10.

12. From Coach Dale, Canada

The center forward should play like a midfielder. When on defense, the center plays defence responsible for the top of the box. When on an attack the center backs up the wingers providing an option for the winger to pass the ball back. The wingers tend to get trapped in the corners trying to pass the ball out in front. This creates an opportunity to pass the ball around the defence to the other winger who should be positioned in front of the net. Also, when the defence tries to clear the ball it is usually along the boards. If the team can control the ball in the offensive zone long enough for the defence to take over this role, then the center can take a position at the top of the keepers box.

13. From Coach Kristjan, Nova Scotia Canada

I am a competitive Tier 1 Soccer Coach for Halifax City Wanderers. I coach a Tier 1 under 14 Girls city soccer team from Halifax Nova Scotia Canada. The following is my one tip (of many) for indoor soccer:

1) Stress the importance of everyone being a striker in indoor soccer that is on the floor. Indicate that it is important to shoot at any opportunity when past the half mark and send your fastest strikers (2) in for the rebound.

To practise this in a drill have all your players with a ball dribbling it around the gym in a coned off area. The Keeper will be in net. The players are to do the following at the sound of the whistle or key word:

1) one whistle - sprint with ball for 2 seconds then slow down with ball
2) two whistles - change direction with ball
3) turn - 180 degree turn with ball going opposite direction
4) stop - stop with ball on one foot
5) juggle - stop and juggle ball on stop

During this drill the Coach will say players name throughout the drill and the player whose name is called has two touches to kick the ball at the goaltender from wherever that player may be. The keeper then passes the ball back to the player and the player then continues dribbling with ball.

I find this drill sharpens the players agility with the ball and also improves their reaction time. Not only this but it demonstrates that in indoor soccer you can shoot from almost anywhere past half and have a good opportunity to score.

14. From Matt

Here are two tips for indoor soccer.
1. take as many shots as possible as the rebounds off the walls can set up scoring chances
2. Ground passes are necessary in indoor even more so than outdoor due to how small the field is and if the ball is cleared outside the field you will be giving a free kick from that spot.

15. From Alison

I think you should really stress on teaching how to use the walls, it comes in handy when getting around people, or even centering the ball for a shot!

16. From Coach Charles

I'm a 4 year rec coach, into my first year as a travel coach (1 outdoor season) and I have some questions about indoor soccer. I coach a U11 Boys team and we're in between Fall and Spring outdoor seasons. The town has offered me the use of gym facility for the Winter and I'm trying to put together a training plan/approach. I've checked Soccer Help and gotten good tips, but don't know what size to make the goals indoors (3,4,5 steps) ?? And I'd like an opinion on whether or not indoor training can be beneficial for outdoor players??? Are the same type and size soccer balls used indoors(i.e. size 4) ???

Our Answer: "Hi Charles,

Yes, indoor training can be beneficial for outdoor players, but be careful to keep it relevant (e.g., have them play like they would outdoors, except in a smaller area, and don't allow play off the walls).

Many of the SoccerHelp games work great indoors, and many were developed indoors.

I would make the goals 4 steps wide and scrimmage without a goalie. We used painters tape to mark "goals" on the wall and also used it to mark the floor (it is easy to remove and doesn't leave glue).

Yes, use the same size ball. There are fuzz covered indoor balls (like giant tennis balls), but we mostly used regular soccer balls, and I don't think it's worth the cost of the special balls. Have one ball per player. "

17. From Coach Jason, Australia:

There are 3 basic states to the game-

*Offense - When your team has the ball
* Defense - When opponent has the ball
* Set Plays - Penalties etc.

When in offence all players should break free of their markers and get into Space. Spread out evenly across the field. Pass instead of running it yourself and keep the game slow. But if the other team turned up without subs, speed up and run a lot to tire them out. If you can sub and they can't you'll have the advantage.

As soon as the ball is handed over, DEFEND. Each player has to choose 1 Opponent and mark him. Stay with him, on the goal side. If everyone on the Opposing team is marked by one of your players they'll find it very difficult to score.
If you double up, (have 2 defenders on one player) then there is an opposing player who isn't covered.
Set-play: Do not sub on set plays. Make sure you practice them as they are one of the best opportunities to score.

Other tips - Play quickly (i.e., quick shots) An unsuspected shot from the Kick-off can take the keeper by surprise. As can a shot from behind the halfway line.

Keep an eye open, if you see the opposition running off for a sub, pass it to the Man that's been left unmarked...

18. From Sasha, 29, goalie in Toronto Competitive Indoor Soccer League

When you're faced with a breakaway - and it happens more often than not, believe me - don't be afraid to come out and challenge the play. Just as in hockey, coming out and challenging the attacker will drastically cut down on the visible net they can shoot at. While doing this, don't go down too soon. By keeping on your feet and holding your arms and hands down low, you block most of the net.

19. From Sasha, 29, goalie in Toronto Competitive Indoor Soccer League

Talk to your defence, especially during corner attacks. When an attacker is at the side of your goal, your ideal position is against the post standing tall, with a defenceman covering the center of the crease in case of a centering attempt. It is up to you to coordinate this, and can be accomplished as simply as yelling "watch the center!"

20. From Shane, Melbourne, Australia

From personal experience the greatest key to success in indoor soccer is passing.

I see too many players who play indoor soccer like it is outdoors, they try to take on too many defenders with fast ball handling (dribbling) only to get caught or double-teamed and loose the ball. An indoor soccer field is too small to play like this (the defenders are too concentrated). Also, you are constantly on the move in indoor soccer so if you continue to attack in such a fashion you are not going to have the energy to defend.

My tip:

  1. Call for the ball!
  2. Make leads, don't just stand! (If you want the ball passed to you, run to open space so you are open for a pass. This will give your teammate with the ball a passing opportunity. Ideally, run to open space forward, not toward your own goal).
  3. Don't wait for a pass to come to you, run to meet the ball. This will prevent interception. (Otherwise, it's easy for the man marking you to step in front of you and steal the ball).
  4. Don't try to be a hero and take on the whole team by dribbling too much!