Playing in games
How to win in 1v1
Beating your opponent in 1v1 requires good reflexes and patience. When dribbling, you should always be the closest person to the ball. Therefore, when a defender challenges you, you will be able to contact the ball before he does. Be patient! Don’t try to beat your opponent right away, especially if he is faster or more experienced. Peek at the defender’s feet to see how far he can reach or if he is leaning one way or the other.
You only want to dribble around your opponent if he dives in for a tackle or when he is out of balance. If the defender is jockeying you, keep moving! Use feints and dribble sideways away from him. The most effective dribbling moves are simple. For example, try changing your dribbling foot by moving laterally in respect to the ball and then see how the defender reacts.
How to play without rushing or freezing up
During games, you generally want to play up to your strengths. Plan ahead before receiving the ball and decide what you want to do with it. Once the ball is in your possession don’t rush. Players who don’t know what’s happening around them treat the ball like a “hot potato”. You should always be aware of who is marking you and how much time and space is available. Get used to constantly looking around the field, especially when you have your back towards the opponents’ goal.
You should be mentally prepared for physical contact during games. It’s normal to get pushed around, especially for attackers. The best way to respond is with the mentality of a boxer: aggressive, but never losing your cool. Don’t be afraid about using your body to protect the ball.
How to defend against more than one opponent
Don’t try to go in for a tackle when there is nobody who can back you up. When outnumbered, you need to position yourself in front of the opponent with the ball so that you can block him from shooting or passing the ball to his teammates. If your opponent manages to complete a pass, move over to the next attacker with the ball and pressure him in the same way. The basic idea is to force the opposition to play the ball laterally until reinforcements can arrive.
How to improve your field vision
Usually, the more you observe the game, the better decision you will be able to make. When you don’t have possession don’t just watch on the ball, but try to be aware of passing opportunities and teammates who are running into space. When dribbling, look at the top part of the ball so you can see what’s happening around it using your peripheral vision.
How to take goal kicks
Goal kicks are usually taken with the instep drive technique which requires time to master. Until you learn to strike the ball properly, you’ll probably feel slight pain in your ankle. Rather than swinging really hard, concentrate on the mechanics and making good contact with the ball.
1.Approach the ball at a 45-degree angle by taking short steps.
2.Plant your supporting foot 6-8 inches to the side of the ball and slightly behind it. Your toes should be pointing towards the target.
3.Retrieve your kicking foot with your ankle locked and toes stretched. Strike the ball just below the equator, using the upper part of your shoelaces.
4.Make sure to follow-through in direction of the target. If you swing hard enough you may end up landing on your kicking foot.
Training and practice
How to practice dribbling
All dribbling moves are combinations or sequences of basic techniques. In order to learn the basics, put two cones about 10-15 meters apart and start dribbling. First, learn to dribble from cone to cone while keeping the ball under control. Then, practice pushing the ball with the instep, outside and inside of the foot. Learn to roll the ball with the sole of your foot. Experiment with cutting the ball, stepovers, scissors and other feints. Next, try mixing and combining these techniques together. After you’ve mastered the basic techniques with both feet, dedicate several training sessions to one particular move until it becomes your “trademark”.
How to practice shooting and passing
Find a nice flat wall and mark off a target on it. Try to strike the target while the ball is static. Eventually, learn to shoot and hit the target as the ball rebounds, without trapping. Every player should be comfortable with the push pass, the instep drive and the inside curve. Also, learn to volley the ball while it’s in the air.
How to develop your weak foot
Good soccer players can dribble, pass and control the ball with both feet. There’s no shortcut to developing your weak foot. Just go out and practice with it as much as possible. It takes many hours of repetition to learn the skills so keep working on it. As you get more and more comfortable, start using your weak foot in games and this will build up your confidence.
How to practice alone
Practicing by yourself is great, but unless you have some discipline, progress will be slow. Try to decide what type of conditioning and drills you are going to practice ahead of time. It’s easy to slack off when nobody is watching, so make sure to perform your drills at full speed. For example, if you are working on control, get in the habit of running to the ball instead of waiting for it to arrive. The general idea is to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
How to consistently sprint at top speed
Sprinting fast and recovering quickly is attributed to anaerobic endurance. Anaerobic training involves alternating between sprints and light jogging which is very relevant to soccer. A typical workout may take around 20-30 minutes consisting of 7-10 second sprints followed by 30-50 seconds of slow jogging or walking.
How to do the bicycle kick
You should never attempt a bicycle kick if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. To avoid injuring yourself, you need to build up your skills until you are ready for the bicycle kick.
First, you want to learn how to execute the instep drive correctly. Next, you’ll need to become proficient at volleying the ball, more particularly the side volley. The side volley is a technique where you swing at the ball when it is next to you, rather than in front. Practice the side-volley when the ball is at the height of your chest. This will teach you timing and how to strike the ball while jumping.
When you’re familiar with the side-volley, it’s easier to transition to the full bicycle kick. Before jumping, shuffle your feet quickly to adjust to the ball. A good bicycle kick depends largely on timing your jump. Extend your arms back and use them to cushion your fall.
What the benefit is of practicing with a smaller ball
The main benefit of playing with a mini ball is that it teaches you proper technique. When training with a smaller ball, it’s most effective to practice dribbling, heading, control, volleying or anything that involves timing. Concentrate on making good contact and work on transitioning from one skill to another. For example, start by kicking the ball up then control it and immediately start dribbling.
Why you should practice juggling
Juggling the ball improves your coordination and timing so make sure to practice with both feet. To make it more realistic, practice transitioning from juggling to other skills. For example, learn to flick the ball over your head, then shoot or control it as it falls.
Off the field
How to buy your soccer cleats
First, make sure to get the correct size. You don’t want cleats that are so large that your foot shifts back and forth. Soccer boots are not sneakers, they should feel tighter and will usually have less support. When you purchase new boots, they may feel tight or even slightly uncomfortable. If their quality is good, the boots will eventually conform to the shape of your feet.
The second feature you should look at is the material. It should be as thin and light as possible. If the boot feels unnatural or inflexible, look for another brand or model.
The number and the size of the studs determine for what kind of surface the boots are suitable. Boots with few and hard studs (including metal) are ideal for soft, grass surfaces. On the other hand, boots with a higher number of studs (plastic or rubber) are better for uneven or harder surfaces. Boots that have a raised pattern on the bottom instead of studs are good for artificial turf or hard, indoor surfaces. Generally, the harder the playing surface, the more contact area your studs should provide.