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Why futsal goalkeepers don’t wear gloves?

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  • The article was written by Dusan Matic, Finland's national team goalkeeper coach and author of the book Goalkeeper in Futsal.
  • In-depth analysis of goalkeeper’s role in creating plays and especially counter-attacks.
  • Goalkeeper has to feel the ball under his fingers in order to have better ball control.

 

Connections between football and futsal are a known thing. Many players and goalkeepers tried both sports, so some parallels in many aspects of the game come automatically.

When talking about football goalkeepers, the most recognizable part of their equipment are goalkeeper gloves. It is an unavoidable part of their kit and gloves are very helpful to goalkeepers without any doubt. However, all of those who imply that futsal goalkeepers also wear gloves, find themselves in shock when they realise that is not the case. In futsal, very small number of goalkeepers wear goalkeeper gloves, while most of them do not use them at all.

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What are the reasons for this?

First and basic reason for wearing gloves is extremely practical in nature: they help goalkeepers in football to protect their fists from powerful shots, to amortise them, to prevent the ball from slipping out of their hands and to ease their ball control.

On the other hand, when we take a look at futsal, first obvious difference is the size of the ball. In futsal, the ball is smaller in volume and it allows goalkeeper to control it much better. Therefore, goalkeeper’s role in creation of plays is also more important, especially having in mind the dimensions of the playing field. This is particularly important in creation of counter-attacks. In that situation, goalkeeper is in position to directly assist his teammates in eventual goal scoring.

This is the situation where goalkeeper’s ability to be more successful in this segment of play comes to importance. It is of outmost importance that goalkeeper is able to feel the ball under his fingers to have better ball control. During these plays, using gloves would not have the same effect, in most cases at least. Inability for goalkeeper to control the ball with tips of his fingers usually means that that ball will be slower and less accurate.

Tipless gloves as a potential solution?

Nevertheless, there is a solution that can, in a way, reconcile these two approaches – “tipless” gloves. That way goalkeeper has protection concerning the power shots, but on the other hand his fingers are free and they allow necessary ball control during passing with hands.

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One more thing that person should have in mind is that in futsal, compared to football, percentage of shots that goalkeeper catches with his hands is very low because distances are smaller and shot power is bigger. Having this in mind, this aspect is not a priority when discussing “for” or “against” gloves.

When all these elements are taken into consideration, we can conclude that comfort is the top priority for our goalkeeper and if he think that gloves are necessary for him. It is, at the end, his choice.

To conclude, advice to all goalkeepers would be: if you use gloves during matches, use them during trainings as well… and vice-versa.

 

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