How to Improve Your Game in Soccer

When you play soccer, mental, physical, and technical skills all come into play. If you want to improve your game, it isn’t enough to focus on just one of these aspects. The best ball-handling skills won’t matter if you’re poorly conditioned and get winded just 10 minutes into the game. Likewise, a skillful and well-conditioned player still won’t succeed without the right strategy and focus. Create a training program that works on technical skills, soccer strategy, overall fitness, and mental focus to substantially improve your game.

Practice juggling to improve your ball control. You don’t need a lot of space to work on juggling. While you may not specifically juggle the ball during games, being able to juggle the ball well gives you stronger control and better ball-handling skills.

  • Try to juggle for a little longer each time without losing control of the ball. If you can go for 5 minutes consistently, try to go for 10 minutes. Set a timer on your smart phone, or use an analog kitchen timer.
  • Juggling also helps you get better at controlling and stopping the ball.
  • Set up cones or flags for dribbling drills. You can get cones or flags for drills at any sporting goods store or general online retailer. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can do drills in a small patch of yard. Set the cones or flags in a row and dribble through and around them as you move forward.

    • If you’re allowed, you can also practice dribbling inside the house – although you probably don’t want to wear your cleats indoors. Dribbling inside gives you plenty of obstacles and opportunities to change direction.
    • Kick the ball against a wall to improve your first touch. Find a solid brick or cement wall so it isn’t damaged by repeated kicks. Stand about 2 feet (0.61 m) away to start, and kick the ball as hard as you can against the wall. Get in position to receive the ball, control it, and immediately kick it back against the wall.

      • As you get better, gradually move further away from the wall. Try to kick the ball just as hard from the longer distance as you did from the shorter distance.
        Create a regular practice schedule. Even if you have regular practice with your team, you also need to practice on your own if you want to really improve your game. Find a time when you can dedicate 20 or 30 minutes every day to practicing your soccer skills.

        • Include at least 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your practice for warming up and cooling down to help prevent injury.
        • You may want to schedule different drills so that you are constantly training different skills. Think about how you can adapt drills you learn in team practice so that you can do them by yourself.
        • If you have a close friend on your team who lives nearby, you might also plan joint practice sessions with them.
        • Develop a specialty skill. Think about one aspect of soccer that you really enjoy and can do relatively well, or that seems to come naturally to you. Focus on that skill in your personal practice sessions and turn it into a signature move.

          • Perfecting one skill adds value to you as a player and gives any coach a reason to have you on their team. For example, if you’re a defender, you might work on your defensive heading.
          • Finding an opportunity to use a specialty skill that you’ve perfected can also enhance your own self-esteem and help you build confidence as a player.

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