How to make your players as skilful as a Brazilian

If you've ever wondered how Brazil always have the knack of turning out some of football's most skilful players, this could be the secret that creates them.


In most countries organised coaching means having to gain qualifications set out by the governing bodies. Each country adopting its own blue print for how they want coaches to develop young players. It has been said that in England the objective is not always the same as the outcome.


Will Partington of Brazilian Soccer Schools talks to players

The Brazilian way with Will Partington


When I used to do coaching with the traditional pathways, I didn’t feel like the technique was really given enough attention’ 

This can prove a little disheartening for some, especially if the preferred method of playing is more in line with what they see in other countries.

‘Players in Brazil always seem to have this more enjoyable approach to the game’  

Will Partington - Brazilian Soccer Schools


Socrates playing for Brazil 82

 Class of 82 


A change in point of view can start with what you grow up watching on TV or maybe a particular player or team that you followed when you were young.

We [football4football] have always endorsed what the game’s top coaches tell us; ‘every coach should have their own approach and belief system’ but it must start somewhere.

Will Partington, is one such coach who wasn’t satisfied with what was in front of him, he needed more.

Football qualifications are given as confirmation of completing course/exam requirements not necessarily the mantra for the rest of your coaching life. On his quest for meaning, he was drawn to the continent of South America, in particularly Brazil.

It was the freedom and expressive nature in which he saw how players there went about the game of football. Even those who’d travelled to Europe still had ‘a way’ in the manner of plying their trade.

For Will, it meant one thing, head for the source. On a mission to research where the greats such as Pele, Jairzinho and Socrates hailed from, he was introduced to futebol de salão.

‘We didn’t quite know that it actually existed’ - Will Partington

Some maybe aware of Simon Clifford’s foray with Brazilian Soccer Schools back in 1996? 

In fact, it was actually the former Middlesbrough and Brazil star Juninho who first alerted Simon and the Brazilian Soccer Schools hierarchy to the benefits of the hidden gem that was the development tool of his country’s youth and indeed his own game.


Juninho playing for Brazil National Team

Product of the game

Once the make-up of the game was revealed it was apparent to Will that this was a major contribution to the production line of highly skilled players hailing from Brazil.

As someone who’d always wanted to coach but was missing that something to really help him enjoy it, it made sense to join the movement to bring the teachings of futebol de salão to the UK.

With any approach/method or philosophy in football there needs to be a goal. So, were and how are Brazilian Soccer Schools aiming to create an army of Ronaldinhos in the UK?


“The thing with Brazilian Soccer Schools is we’re not trying to just copy Brazil. We’re basically saying, there's some things that Brazil does really well and we recognise that and we applaud that and we want to give that opportunity the very best elements of the game to anybody

But it will be very foolish to think that’s the only correct way of doing things on all levels of player development.”

Will Partington - Brazilian Soccer Schools


Brazil football star Socrates with Brazilian Soccer Schools

 The Great Socrates 

The belief of it’s benefit came from none other than some of the greats of the Brazilian game, after all it was this futebol de salão game and environment that was to shape their careers in football.

Even for Will and now Brazilian Soccer Schools, validation is always welcomed. That said, there’s no better validation for a coach than the enjoyment, engagement and ultimately the progress of their players. What do Brazilian Soccer Schools see as success then?

Will feels it’s not the result at the end of a game but more the end result of the player as they are continually coached in his way.


Brazilian Soccer Schools players training

Skill from Brazil

I would like to think a Brazilian Soccer School's player is a brave player, he’s un-fearful and technically superior 

Will Partington - Brazilian Soccer Schools

The above are all traits most coaches would love to possess, these players come more with coaches than just winning junior football matches though.

To have players with those qualities means a long term technical approach, sometimes ignored in junior football as coaches strive for a successful grassroots existence.

Will faces this head-on ensuring Brazilian Soccer Schools’ methodology and reasons are understood:

"Conversations that I might have is how a child who's brought up in a traditional way especially primary and early teens play low number aside games on relatively big pitches. A boy would make a pass to a teammate on a bigger pitch and the parents on the side will applaud. The pass in actual truth isn't to the teammate, it's into a space and that boy has been able to run into that space, and the parents have all applauded.

Forward it a season or two and the children are playing on the same pitch but there's suddenly more children on that pitch. That particular boy has now made the same pass into that area, yet it's unsuccessful. The players or the parents then say, “That was a poor pass.”

But the boy played exactly the same pass two years prior and was applauded. That boy’s confidence drops off, he's doing the same things that he's been doing for a couple of years, he's already plateaued. By making them play in tight areas on a futebol de salão court they now try to play passes into tight areas. That ability will stay with them as they progress up the age groups."



Brazilian futebol de salao

The 'original' - futebol de salão 

Small pitch and tight areas might sound all too familiar for some, isn’t that futsal you ask??

Will Partington soon makes clear the contrast between the two and why Brazilian Soccer Schools favour futebol de salão for their students:

Futsal and futebol de salão are two very different games, futebol de salão has a smaller ball. A Futsal ball is much lighter and still bounces around. In truth a futsal ball isn't greatly different than a five a side ball. Futsal is a game that’s very tactical and it also becomes a game where there's limited dribbling at players. It’s a game requiring lots of passing whereas as futebol de salao using a smaller and heavier ball, long passes aren’t such an option. It allows players to be more expressive, trying 1 v 1 movements, without the fear of a quick one or two pass goal against them, which you often see in futsal. 

Will Partington - Brazilian Soccer Schools


futebol de salão


As you’d expect from the mechanics of the game, the coaching of futebol de salão means its students have some impressive ball manipulation in the locker to pull out when required.
With these technical abilities is licence to try them out with attitude, all key in making your own players as skilful as a Brazilian.

Futebol de Salão

Yes, you may have heard of futsal but those in the know are aware of the game's origin. Futebol de salão can boast more Ballon d'ors than any other development game and probably more World Cups than most. A game previously born out of desire to showcase individual skill in small sports halls now has a messenger in Brazilian Soccer Schools who hope to inspire a new breed of player. So, if you've ever wondered exactly how South America keep producing flair players, this could go some way in unlocking their secret. 

Got something to say?

© football4football 2018