Legs burning, sweat dripping down your brow, another soccer practice is in the books. Practicing drills with a team is crucial to success on the soccer field, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With practice taking place a few times a week at two or three hour intervals, it becomes necessary to put in that off-field work to truly climb the ranks. The greatest soccer players know this, and often spend more time training individually than at official team practices.
After a long workout with his youth club did little Leo Messi go home and eat cheetos, fingers tapping away at the Xbox controller? Definitely not. He put in more work, he trained harder. Why shouldn’t the same apply to all players? Well, it does.
Of course, it’s ok to admit to confusion. Not everyone has the drive and inherent talent that Messi has, and it’s hard to know where to begin. At home training is difficult because there is no coach guiding you through the process, nor teammates to motivate you with a shared hunger for success. So rather than getting bogged down in that confusion, start with these seven tips guaranteed to help you improve your soccer skills.
Before you even begin to work on your technical skills, you better get running. No one likes this part about soccer, but cardiovascular fitness is crucial to being able to outpace opponents. Start off with a mile or two twice a week, and try to get progressively faster. The more you do it, the more the seconds will shave off. Your body will feel better and more comfortable and that will translate onto the field.
Work on your cone skills! Set up a five to eight cones or bottles paced out over ten yards and dribble through them, serpentining through the cones. Work hard on leading with your dominant foot, but focus even more on your non-dominant foot. It may seem basic, but being able to move the ball in tight spaces with each foot is fundamental to your success. Remember to keep your head up as best as you can.
Pass and touch the ball against a wall with each foot. Stand back about 15 feet and try to hit the same spot on the wall, receiving the rebound with one foot. Take the rebound with one touch to your other foot and fire it back. Rotate between your dominant and non-dominant foot to build a balanced skill set. Try your best to keep your eyes on the wall as if it were another player. Be as accurate as possible and stay on your toes.
Take a deep breath and stretch your muscles! Relax, take time to become in tune with your body. Spend at least ten minutes each day stretching your muscles, breathing deeply. Your body will be more limber and your mind will be clearer. Stretching and breathing is perhaps the most underrated tip for success on the field. Slowing things down and taking a mental minute is crucial to a healthy body.
Write down your soccer goals. Whether it’s making the next team, earning a starting spot, or scoring more goals, taking account of your mission is key to achieving it. Make sure your goals are measurable and time-bound to turn abstract dreams into actionable tasks.
Put up shots! Everyday, like a machine, head over to the park or your back alley and put shots on goal. Take some touches, practice your dribble moves, but make sure your shooting form is solid. Drive at the ball with your laces and follow through with your whole body. Take aim at different parts of the goal, and envision game scenarios.
Juggle everyday! Using different parts of your body, learn to settle the ball and make controlled touches, keeping it off the ground.Find your softspots and absorb the ball’s impact. Try to beat your records everyday, keeping the ball up for longer and longer periods of time.
As you practice these skills each week, it will become crucial to track your progress, figuring out what needs more attention and where you are improving. Only with this information will you be able to adjust your training regime to match your needs. Only with a guide to show you the ropes will you be able to master your skills.
Playform can be that guide. Its virtual coaches can give you the direction you need, and the global community of players can be your teammates, motivating you through competition. So rather than stressing out about where to begin, download Playform. As your skills evolve, Playform will evolve with you, suggesting new weekly drills catered specifically to your training data. But your improvements won’t happen overnight, the key to success is persistence and focus. Now buckle down and get to work.