In line with the proverb that says “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime”, FIFA’s endeavours to use education as a primary tool for development were much in evidence between 9 and 13 May at the headquarters of the Spanish FA (RFEF) in Madrid.

There, nearly 40 participants from Planet Football’s six confederations attended a seminar for futsal coaching instructors, which featured new teaching material prepared by the world game’s governing body.

During these working sessions, the FIFA instructors who will in future lead training courses for futsal coaches in every corner of the planet were actively involved in the new programme set out for these courses by FIFA’s Development Division.

“This seminar represents a turning point, because a new manual is being unveiled which is aimed at achieving three fundamental objectives: unifying the language and terminology used by all instructors; creating a methodological guide, a way of passing on knowledge; and teaching people how to teach, not just to coach,” explained Javier Lozano, who coached Spain to the world title on two occasions and is currently President of Spain’s Liga de Fútbol Sala.

The latter objective was perhaps one of the most touched upon during the week’s working sessions, where those attending the seminar were taught how to teach. “Being an instructor and a coach are quite different things,” was the verdict of former player Eduardo Valdez Basso, better known as Morruga, who is now working as a futsal coach in Brazil. “But I think it’s harder to make the leap from instructor to coach than vice versa.”

By means of theory and practical classes, the experienced instructors went over teaching formulas that they will need to introduce into their own courses in future. These included time management, audience interaction and the use of presentation tools.

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“It’s like going back to our roots, going back over the basics and learning how to explain them. We’ve brought all the methodologies together, while leaving a small margin for creativity. The teaching material we’re using is sensitive, simple and can be adapted to any situation,” explained Paulo Cesar de Oliveira, who coached Brazil to the world title in 2008. 

As well as the aforementioned Cesar de Oliveira and Lozano, other respected futsal figures in attendance were former Argentina coach Vicente de Luise, current Spain coach Venancio Lopez and ex-Costa Rica coach Carlos Quiros - a clear demonstration of the extensive and quality experience of the participants. Moreover, their excellent existing knowledge base will thus be supplemented by more efficient and proven teaching skills. There were also three women present, in the shape of Spain’s Meritxell Rubio, Shahrzad Mozafar from Iran and the Portuguese Paula Rego.

The previous edition of this seminar for futsal coaching instructors also took place in Madrid back in 2005. However, since then the sport has grown rapidly across the globe, with the number of training courses demanded of football associations increasing by the day. All of which has a knock-on effect on the need to strengthen FAs’ teaching resources.

“This new manual is a tool that will come to represent the calling card of a FIFA instructor. From now on we’ll all be teaching the same content along uniform pedagogical lines,” said Lozano, whose teaching degree is undoubtedly a huge help when it comes to giving training courses.

The final word went to Lozano, who, based on his experience of the sport in Spain, where futsal is extremely popular and successful, offered this advice to those looking to boost the game in their own nations: “It’s very important that there’s synchronicity when it comes to working alongside a country’s FA. It’s also important to have a specific organisation dedicated to working towards the development and strengthening of a country’s futsal infrastructure.”