Thinking back to when I first played soccer I was living in Evergreen, Colorado. I still remember going to the store to get my uniform and shinguards. To this day, it was one of the most memorable times in my life. I guess because soccer has been so good to me. You can probably remember your first game too! I don’t remember having any questions about how you get better at soccer, but I was only 5 or 6 years old. Once I turned 11 or 12 I remember watching pro soccer wondering, what exact parts of the foot they were using. Back then there was no slow motion replay. Maybe that type of wondering helps me now, as a skills trainer.
First steps in how you get better at soccer
Knowing the right fundamentals and then learning proper mechanics. It’s important to know why these are going to help a players overall game. Then when practicing, being corrected so you know what is right or wrong. When players come to me they improve fast because they get tons of reps and being corrected on form/mechanics. These reps the right way helps them get quick wins on the field. I don’t mean winning the game, but winning your own battles on the field. Feeling more comfortable with the ball, and most importantly not losing the ball.
One of the keys to soccer is don’t lose the ball. Don’t worry about how pretty your skills are, just try not to lose the ball. If you can complete 80% of your passes that good. Unless you’re the playmaker #10 your goal should be to not ever lose the ball.
Players who train solo, know that the practice from the week before had a lot to do with the success in their games. If you want to improve either get a trainer or work on the right things with teammates or family members. Doing the proper amount of reps is going to be the key. You can do all the right drills, but if you are not doing them enough it won’t sink in. If you are working on precision passing, start off where things are easy. Once you get it smooth and consistent, then start to challenge yourself by using a smaller target.
3 elements to help you get better at soccer
Find a wall, teammate, family member or skills trainer and work on the basics. In soccer you for sure want to know these 3 elements: Knowing how to trap, pass and dribble will make you feel much more comfortable at practice and in games. It will also help you to become a better defender, because when you are comfortable with the ball it makes it easier to go and steal/win the ball. These 3 elements are what you are going to want to know in terms of controlling the ball. Then there are other things like knowing how to defend and get open for a pass in soccer.
The thing most players and coaches don’t know is how to have good form, what parts of the foot to connect with the ball and also all the ways to pass, trap and dribble. You want to practice using the inside, outside, sole, top of both feet. Don’t just practice using the strong foot, make sure you spend time with the weak foot.
Prepare yourself for the games! You don’t want to keep getting put in situations where you are not comfortable shooting or passing with the weak foot. You can bet that you will come across times where you need to use both feet. This all starts with spending time with the ball at home!
Spend time doing the simple things
There are certain skills & drills that are better than others. I can promise you that there are over 1,000 different drills and skills. Most of them don’t even work! Many of them are just tricks that might look cool, but will never help you in a game. Or if you keep doing them over and over you are missing out on all the skills that will make you better. It’s really unbelievable how many kids can do cool trick or kick the ball really far, but they can’t trap the ball from a throw-in to save their lives.
Spend your time working on passing with both feet as well as trapping with both feet. Think about what you mess up on in games and go from there. Finding what our weaknesses are and improving in those areas is vital. If you are really good at passing with your right foot, then practice more on your left. If you can kick the ball far, but can’t control it out of the air then work on that. If you are that person who wants to know what really work, because you work hard then get my online ball control courses. There are different tiers, or you can get all of them saving you money.
Mistakes SO many are making in soccer practice
A friend of mine from high school called me the other day. He played college soccer and was a good player, but said he was overwhelmed trying to find what works best to help his kids team improve. He said there was just too much content and it was hard to know what really was good for the specific age and level.
Going to YouTube could be one of the worst things you can do for soccer development. You would end up clicking on whatever is popular, which means you are getting trained by a tech geek. Instead make sure you do research and find someone who is a licensed coach or former player. Someone who has experience coaching, because these are people who know what does and doesn’t work. Better yet go to my site and get you my training that is proven to work for all ages and levels. Save yourself time knowing and doing what works.
Best soccer skills to learn early & forever
One touch volley passes using the inside of the foot, short passing on the ground 5-10 yards away using the inside of both feet. Both of these your toes should be up not down. Then you have volleys using the laces are also important in how you get better at soccer. Striking (shooting or long passes) the ball with the laces is going to be something that should be introduced early. This is one of the hardest to learn and retain, because most select soccer players are not taught how.
Most rec, select / club soccer players are only told how, not taught or shown. Trust me when I tell you most high school soccer players do not know the exact & different ways to shoot with the laces. There are like 10 things you have to do and know. Check my recent blog post on how to strike using laces.
You have to continue practicing many hours
Nowadays many people live in the microwave society. Hey I want things fast too, but I learned to understand that it takes time for most good things to happen. Especially playing soccer!
Most people including college soccer players never know how fast they can really improve in soccer. The reason is because not every soccer family wants or has the opportunity to do private individual soccer lessons. There is just no way that team coaches, even the best can make you as good as a player who gets private lessons and works on their own solo.
Ball on the wall to improve kicking technique
Spending time kicking the ball against the wall is by far one of the best things you can do. To improve your game you need to work on first touch and passing. These two elements you will do the most. I can tell you that the main reason I learned to pass and shoot, using different techniques is because I spent time with my ball and the wall. It’s better than using a person, because with the wall it comes back to you right away.
One of the best things about training solo, is when you mess up nobody sees it. This means you don’t get embarrassed or get sports anxiety, because feeling like that will only slow down your progress.
Improving fitness will help your game
We all know that fitness will improve your game, but when and who should focus on fitness? I think that kids [club soccer] nowadays are working on fitness younger and younger and honestly too early. There is no reason that 10 year olds should be running 3 miles. Yes, this happens but shouldn’t. When I think of improving fitness I think of high school, college and pros. The higher the level, the more fitness you need.
If you are wanting to play college or pro then you better be working on fitness. A pro players main focus during the off-season and playing season is fitness. This doesn’t mean they do sprints every week, but they make sure they are eating right and resting properly too. There is a fine balance you need and at this level, you usually are having to run more than you want. It’s never easy!
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