Futsal & Pattern Recognition

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” – Mark Twain

If you spend countless hours doing something specific, you gain insights into it. On the surface, pretty duh, right? And yet, it’s uncommon for most to dive deep into an area and become an expert. It requires sustained effort, curiosity, and an ability to discern what works and what doesn’t. Over time complicated patterns often become easier to recognize. This plays out in futsal and countless other areas.

Many of the most successful investors have extensive reading libraries. From Charlie Munger to Marc Andreessen, these hedge fund managers and venture capitalists dive deep into the rabbit holes of history. Inflation, housing bubbles, and disruptive new technologies are nothing new. By studying each generation’s ebbs and flows, they place bets on where the future lies. And this is facilitated through the parsing of the patterns. What happened before, will happen again.

In modern soccer, it is often those players with a futsal and/or street background that excel most. Brazil’s entire youth soccer system is predicated on futsal being the best training option at the younger ages. What provides futsal players an edge is a relentless stream of decision making opportunities. And these are placed on steroids when time and space constraints are factored in. 3v2 and 3v1 numbers up situations occur frequently in futsal. But each and every one is uniquely different. Are the defenders back pedaling or challenging aggressively? Are the attacking wings high enough up the court? Is the goalie covering the near post? And on-an-on it goes… an infinite amount of variation on each and every attempt. Numbers up situations also appear with less frequency in soccer, but at a slower pace and with more space. So who’s likely to solve this moving puzzle more successfully? You got it, the kid who has seen the patterns thousands of times more.

To this end, the best coaches are often the ones that train the mind. The less successful ones train the feet. Endless hours of cone work, ball mastery, and juggling are fine at home or with a personal trainer. But higher level coaches earn their pay by developing a player’s ability to read, interpret, and solve in game situations. Patterns, like history, repeat over and over. One’s ability to recognize them is a huge advantage.

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