How to Best Coach an Indoor Soccer Team

Indoor Soccer view - (Photo:

Indoor soccer is nearly the same sport as outdoor soccer but there are quite a few key differences that present an entirely new challenge for coaches of indoor soccer teams.  Beyond simply avoiding key differences in weather conditions and a smaller team and field size, the game takes an entirely new form.

One key difference in the game is that there are no out-of-bounds, so there are very few breaks in the action.  Players will find themselves running and often sprinting for five minutes at a time, and this can be extremely exhausting.  When combined with the cold temperatures outside, such intense exertion can truly hamper a soccer player.  With a pained chest from the outdoor cold and heavy sprints, an indoor soccer coach will need to have subs rotating every few minutes in a game.  Therefore, be completely aware of how the team looks and keep track of the minutes each player is putting in.  Although indoor soccer matches are typically only about half as long as outdoor games, a player involved in the whole match will be just as tired after the game.

Also, a coach will need to help organize the match in the best way to support the team.  Indoor soccer games usually feature only five outfield players and a goalie.  As the game features no offsides rule, your team’s shape will be very important.  Usually teams play with two defenders and they will need to be very disciplined to prevent quick counter attacks from the opposition.  My recommendation is to suggest these two players never leave their own defensive half, because the moment they do an opposing striker will be ready to latch onto a loose ball and score.

The midfield and offense should consist of the remaining three players.  Depending on your team’s attributes, you can either have 1 or 2 strikers.  Two forwards helps attacks but limits defensive support.

One key point about indoor soccer play differing from outdoor soccer is that since the field is so small, players will wear multiple hats as play shifts so fast.  If a defender is stranded from a run upfield, one of your forwards will need to drop back to cover defensively.  These situations develop very fast so players will have to be aware so they can help.

Goals come quick in indoor soccer so the coach will need just as much ability to think quick as the players do themselves.  The game is very fun because of this, but as a coach you will need to be just as energized to best manage your team.


  • Faye Salomone

    This is my 1st season coaching indoors after about 23 seasons outdoors! Thanks for the tips. I’ll let you know how helpful they are.

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