Soccer is a great sport in which anyone can get involved and have fun playing. However, to become an advanced soccer player, you have to start early and work hard. You will have to work in your good shape and learn to imitate the greats of soccer, but above all, you will have to have enthusiasm for the sport. Practice is the only key to advanced soccer skills, but you’ll need to make sure you practice the right things.
Improve your overall game
1 Play as much as possible with friends or local club teams. Get your friends together for a casual game or join a local club team for matches every week. You will never get better if you don’t play soccer as often as possible. All things considered, there are no shortcuts to becoming an advanced soccer player except playing and practicing frequently.
* Take a test for the best teams in your area. Better coaches and competition will help you improve at a much faster rate.
* If you don’t have anyone to play with, go out and throw 100 shots against a wall or pass the ball from one side to the other. Juggle or do your tricks in the garden. The only thing you need to become a better soccer player is a ball and the will to work.
2 Increase your game pace. Advanced players see someone, make a decision, and execute the pass, shot, or move in milliseconds. The best way to become an advanced player is to work on these quick decisions. To do it:
* Don’t hold the ball for too long. 1 to 3 touches and a pass or shot are usually sufficient. The longer you have the ball, the defenders will have more time to prepare.
* If you want to haggle, attack with rhythm. Get the defender to react quickly to you instead of giving him time to get into position.
* Let the ball do the work. You can never run faster than the ball can move. So move the ball often. Changing the field with a cross pass or a passed pass can leave the other team in confusion.
* If you lose the ball or get beat, immediately turn around and try to get the ball back or get into position.
3 Practice with your non-dominant foot as much as possible. The best players are not limited to one foot. If you do, other advanced players will quickly pick up on this and force you to use your weak foot, greatly decreasing your ability to pass, throw and defend. Whenever possible, focus on your nondominant foot, even if it’s terrible when you’re just getting started. A two foot soccer player is an incredible threat anywhere on the field.
The best players are not limited to one foot. If you do, other advanced players will pick up on this quickly and force you to use your weak foot, greatly decreasing your ability to pass, shoot and defend. Whenever possible, focus on your nondominant foot, even if it’s terrible when you’re just getting started. A two foot soccer player is an incredible threat anywhere on the field.
4 Learn to defend. No matter where you are on the field, the ability to get the ball back is essential for advanced players. Individual defense (1v1) is one of the basic skills of soccer players along with passing and shooting and should not be neglected. To practice it, simply play against a friend, taking turns attacking and defending. Good individual defenders must:
* Stay in a low position. You should stand on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent in an athletic position.
* Force an address. Place one foot forward and angle your body so that you invite the player to go in one direction. Generally, this is towards another defender or towards the sideline, but it could be, for example, towards someone’s weak foot if you know that they never use their left foot.
* Try not to use your leg or hip to move the ball away from the player who has it unless necessary. A good defender waits for a good opportunity, such as when the ball moves too far forward or the attacker gets too close.
* Observe the hips. The belt buckle almost always telegraphs where a player is going. The feet move quickly (especially for tricks) and the heads and shoulders that move from top to bottom or move around are often used as tricks. The belt buckle, however, is roughly a player’s center of gravity and is very difficult to change on the fly.
5 Use training to improve your weak points, not to show off your talents. Training is where you improve, not where you keep repeating the skills you’ve already mastered. You should make mistakes in practice, test your opposite foot, play in a position where you don’t normally play (such as working in individual defense as a forward) and come up with new combinations and passes with your teammates. The best players are not afraid of embarrassing themselves in training because they want to embarrass the other team during the match.
6 Watch the professionals play. A great way to learn is to observe someone who is more advanced than you. If you play in a specific position, you should focus on the player playing in your position and take note of what he does. Where is he when he doesn’t have the ball? How often do you go back or forth in defense? What kind of passes are you looking for?
* European leagues, such as La Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga, are often the best places to start, as well as international championships like the FIFA World Cup.
* You can also buy or borrow soccer tapes. These tapes analyze the different exercises and tactics that will help you become an elite player. They are very easy to follow and proven to be extremely useful to soccer players around the world.
7 Accepts advice and guidance gallantly. Your coach is there for a reason and can often see things that you cannot see while playing. Learning to accept and use the advice your coach gives you will prevent you from repeating the same mistakes over and over again and help you find your weak points.
* Once or twice in the season, ask your coach what you can do to improve. Where do you think you can improve and what kind of exercises or ideas can you practice on your own? This is a great way to constantly find new ways to improve.
* Hire an individual coach if you have different goals than the team you are on. Many highly qualified coaches or college soccer players train singles per hour and are relatively inexpensive. This direct attention to the player and their needs is a great way to become a great player much faster.
Improve your foot skills
1 Learn to haggle with every part of your foot. Practice dribbling in an area of 27 m (30 yards), varying your speed and the part of the foot you use to move the ball. Try to make the ball feel like a natural extension of your foot, stopping, moving and changing direction at will. Some ways to practice this are:
* Obstacle courses: Place cones or small objects in zigzags and then haggle through them with the highest controlled speed you can. Your goal is to pass all the cones without hitting or skipping any. As you get better, speed increases.
* Juggling: Although this is not used directly in real soccer, performing better juggling will improve your “touch” and overall comfort with the ball. Juggling is simply using your whole body (except your arms and hands) to keep the ball in the air as long as possible. Start by trying 10 touches in a row, then increase to 20, 50, and 100.
2 Raise your head when haggling. This requires very good foot skills, but you should start working on them as soon as possible. Advanced soccer players intuitively know where the ball is on their feet most of the time, allowing them to look up and find the next pass or next shot opportunity. Although you’ll always look down occasionally, the longer you can keep your head up, the better.
* Practice raising your head with every dribbling exercise you do, especially in training.
3 Work on exercises to manipulate the ball. These simple and quick exercises are a great way to work on your footing skills, even if you would never perform the movement itself in a match. For all of these exercises, start moving your feet as fast as possible while staying in control.
* Bounce the ball between your legs as if you were passing it quickly from the inside of your right foot to the inside of your left foot. Work on using small movements to “cut” the ball from one side to the other.
* Perform pounding with your toe leaving the ball in front of you and alternating touching it on the top with the bottom of your foot. To get faster, try falling onto the balls of your feet each time and keep your knees slightly bent.
* Place the ball between your legs. Roll the bottom of your right foot over the top of the ball, bringing it to the right. Once you have rolled the ball, bring your right foot back to the center, passing the ball to your left foot, and repeating the procedure. You can also do it in reverse, rolling the ball inward, pushing it to the right with the outside of your foot, and then cutting it back toward the center. This exercise, while advanced, is a great way to practice total control.
4 Practice passing in an instant. The best players know that soccer is a team sport. If you haggle too long, they’ll take the ball away from you every time. Therefore, you have to spend the same amount of time practicing your passes as practicing your individual footing skills. You must be able to make quick passes with one touch (not stop the ball as it rolls towards you), and be able to prepare and launch a good cross pass in just two touches.
* Throw against a wall for quick and easy passing practice. The worse you pass, the more difficult it will be to retrieve the ball and shoot a return shot.
* Ask a friend, usually a striker, to work with you on cross passes. Stand in a corner and ask your friend to point out where your passes go. Ask him to start running and then pass to him so he doesn’t have to interrupt his pace to catch the ball.
* Think about your weak areas and commit every week to improve them. For example, if you want to work on your shots, choose 2-3 days a week to go to the field and shoot for an hour. Once you feel good, use the same amount of time to work on dribbling or crossover or some other advanced skill you need to practice.
5 Perfect some advanced moves. Warm up by spending time with the ball by yourself. Dribble much faster with precision. Keep your head slightly raised as you dribble the ball so you can see the field. Here are some popular moves you should learn:
* The flip flap, the snake, or the Ronaldinho
* Move the ball out with the outside of your foot, then quickly flip it over with the inside of your foot.
* Your foot will wrap around the ball, pushing it in the opposite direction from you and then returning it, fooling the defender.
* Stop and start
* Slow jog with the ball.
* Stop for a moment, placing the bottom of your foot on the ball.
* Then, roll the ball forward and to the side of the defender, then make a great touch and run away, passing close to the immobilized player.
* The scissors
* Bring your foot to the top of the ball, pretending that you are going to push or pass it.
* Once your foot is on the ball, return it, catching the ball in the path and going in the opposite direction from the one you faked.
* You can do it with the inside or outside of your foot.
6 Follow a training program. This should be a ritual and not something you choose to do on certain days or times. Training with a soccer ball 3 or 4 times a week will definitely improve your skill. Volley against a wall or practice throwing with both feet on a trampoline or goal, if you have one. Practice foot skills and juggling. Juggling will help you control the ball. You should do it with both feet so that you are comfortable with both. You should also throw and volley with both feet.
* Many coaches recommend spending 30 minutes or more on your skills every day.
Improve your good shape
1 Focus on achieving ‘good match form’. This means that you could play a full game, usually 90 minutes, without significantly getting tired or losing your skills. Soccer is a constant, fast-moving sport that requires a lot of resistance, and your first point of reference should be running for at least 45 minutes without getting tired. There are many ways to practice this:
* To work on endurance, run 2 to 3 miles (3-5 km) twice a week and take time. Try to improve it every week, working slowly until you can run between 8 and 9.5 km (5 to 6 miles) in each race.
* Play matches. The best way to get this good shape is to play matches. These do not have to be complete matches; 3-on-3 matches for an hour is a great way to get true, match-like endurance training.
* Get exhausted at every workout. Training is where you build your endurance in preparation for games. If you train hard until you run out, you get your body used to performing with less energy, making you more effective later in the game.
* Try interval training. This is when you alternate jogging and running at full speed in a race, usually jogging for twice as long as you run without stopping to rest. This is a great way to simulate a match when you train on your own.
2 Increase your speed with exercise routines for short runs. To improve your speed, work on short runs. Find a soccer field, start from the goal line and run at full speed to midfield. From there, jog to the line at the other end. Repeat this step, then walk across the field to cool off. Do this for as long as possible until you are too fatigued to continue or for about 15 minutes.
* Speed is partially determined by genetics, but the time it takes you to reach top speed and your ability to keep running are determined by your training. The more you work, the faster you will become.
3 Try whole-body exercise routines. Some exercises that are considered useful for all ages are donkey jumps, wheelbarrows and lunges. Perform all these exercises 2 to 3 times on the field and you will radically improve your strength in the legs and abs. While doing so, be careful not to injure your wrists, shoulders, knees, and ankles.
* When jumping on the donkey, start from a squatting position and jump as far as you can, rest for a couple of seconds and then repeat it.
* When lunging, start standing, step forward as far as possible with one foot and touch the ground with the knee of the foot with which you did not take the step. Then place your weight on the foot you stepped on, step forward with the other foot, and touch the ground with the other knee. Continue to do it the entire length of the soccer field.
* To carry the wheelbarrows, you will need a partner. Ask him to stand up while holding your ankles. You should be in front of him touching the ground only with your hands. Both must walk simultaneously (you with your hands and your partner with your feet) to the midfield. Change positions in midfield.
4 Exercise your core and torso muscles, not just your legs. Just because you can’t use your hands doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise your arms. Having great full body strength means you will be able to fight hard for loose balls, withstand input from defenders and get close to players who have possession of the ball to put yourself in position during header shots. While you don’t want to become The Incredible Hulk, light toning on the torso is essential for great players. A light weight training is perfect for soccer players from any position. Work on the following muscle groups 3 to 5 times a week:
* Chest and Back – These muscles are essential for staying strong on the ball and in the air. Perform 100 push-ups a day and do as many pull-ups as you can, completely in batches of 3.
* Arms: Basic bicep curls, bottoms, diamond lizards (with hands touching below your chest) and chin-ups are great ways to exercise your torso without going to the gym.
* Abdominal and central muscles: essential for all positions. The central part of your body is how you transfer energy from your torso to your lower body, which is essential for tight turns, big shots, powerful head shots and catching the ball. Sit-ups and plank poses are an essential part of your exercise routine. Do them daily until you are too tired to continue.
* Always work on your weakest points. Practice each exercise with both feet. Try practicing in all the different positions.
* Try to become a leader in your team. Be talkative and encourage others to do the same. Coaches will be very impressed by this and, ultimately, this is how captains are chosen in teams.
* Practice with more advanced players than you so that you can learn from their techniques.
* Fully stretch, hydrate and massage your body. Tension-free muscles will perform better.
* Everything you can do with one foot must be able to do it with the other. You must become ambidextrous with your legs to be a great soccer player.
* Do not practice (or play) with people you know you will beat. Playing with more advanced players will also improve your skill.
* Always drink plenty of water.
* Focus on all areas of the game. For example, being in shape does not mean that you have a good touch or that you can dribble correctly.
* Practice makes a master. Sitting at home is not going to help you. Come out and play! Find some friends, practice together, and then play a practice match using the skills you learned in training. Sitting at home playing video games will not help your game.
* Hydrate yourself every day. Dehydration is a major concern and danger for all athletes. It is the main reason behind muscle cramps that soccer players often suffer from. Drink plenty of water and Gatorade several hours before the game, but be careful not to drink too much as there is nothing worse than running on a stomach full of water or Gatorade. Also adopt the habit of eating healthy.
* Take days off, as this will help your body develop.
* If you have long-term stomach pain after playing soccer, see your doctor.
* Always stretch properly before and after all training sessions. Torn ligaments and other injuries can be very expensive for a soccer player’s career, so be sure to warm up before stretching, as failure to do so can cause injury because the ligaments are “cold.”