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Grassroots football is based on the philosophy of ‘small sided games’. It is adopted in all major football countries for a long time and has great benefits in terms of player development. Countries such as The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Australia etc have all adopted small-sided Games as the format for Grassroots football. Research conducted in most top football countries suggests that small-sided Games are more enjoyable for the kids and helps improve their technical ability. It maximizes individual participation and involvement; with kids having more touches on the ball by each participant. There is also a continuous focus on development rather than winning.


What are the benefits of adopting the Grassroots football program in India?



AIFF believes that Grassroots football development is critical to the development of football in the long term in the country. With this objective in mind, the AIFF launched the Grassroots Development Program in the 2012.


Children at this age are in their ‘golden age of learning’ which is why it is essential that the kids start playing football early, which gives them a headstart.


Grassroots football is the start of a child’s first introduction to football. Following on from the Grassroots Program, the AIFF player pathway defines that the talented players from the Grassroots program will be selected into the AIFF Regional Academies.


Benefits of grass root football in India:


  • Increase participation in the sports; more children have regular access to football.
  • Widens base of football pyramid.
  • Identify talent and guide them through pathway for elite football.
  • Benefit all levels of the game.
  • Develop an affinity and loyalty towards the game; long term involvement.
  • Allowing young and eager coaches to get involved.


What format has best benefits at the Grassroots football age group?


Small sided games have been adopted as the format for Grassroots football across all top footballing countries and is hugely beneficial to the development of young players. AIFF too has adopted small sided games (SSGs) as the format for all its Grassroots programs.


Some of the Technical benefits of adopting small sided games format are:



·         Players touch the ball five times more in 4 v 4 and three times more in 7 v 7 as compared to 11 v 11. 


·         Players attempted three times more 1 versus 1 in 4 v 4 and two times more in 7 v 7 as compared to 11 v 11.


·         Goals were scored an average of every 2 minutes in 4 v 4 and 4 minutes in 7 v 7.


·         There were between two and four times more technical skills performed by goalkeepers in 7 v 7 than 11 v 11.


·         The ball is out of play 8% of the game in 4 v 4, 14% in 7 v 7 and 34% in 11 v 11.