Football is the most popular sport in the world and it isn’t even close. One of the main reasons soccer is so popular is because you really only need a soccer ball to play. Other equipment is optional and not mandatory.
If you play in an organized Football league you’ll need football cleats and shin pads, but there are billions of people that manage to play Football with no equipment other than a football in every country in the world.
FIFA hosts a “Big Count” survey every few years and in 2014 there were an estimated 265 million people playing organized Football in the world. However, there are more than two billion people that play football recreationally.
Here are some tips that’ll help you become a better soccer player.
Football is a game of speed and you need to be constantly pushing the pace even when you don’t have the football. You should always be moving and looking to open up the field for the rest of your teammates.
You don’t need to be lightning quick to be a great football player either. If you’re not as fast as other players you need to learn the angles and know how to takeaway the field from your opponent without exerting too much energy.
Work as a Team
This is extremely important and often overlooked. A lot of players focus on stopping the player they’re assigned to stop and that’s it, but if you see a teammate needs help defending you need to work as a unit and help each other out.
The same can be said when playing offence. Don’t be a “superstar” and try to out dribble everyone on the pitch. The more you and your teammates pass the ball, the more likely you are to open up scoring opportunities.
Close Down Opponents Quickly
Far too often players will give too much space to the player they’re marking on the field. As soon as your mark touches the soccer ball you should be right over that player and making life miserable for him or her.
Don’t allow your opponent to get their head up and see what’s available on the pitch. As you get better at anticipating passes, you’ll be able to start jumping passing lanes before the pass even comes, allowing you to make a counterattack.
Make Quick Decisions
Football is a game of seconds regardless of what you may have been told previously. Sure, there’s lots of time to attack and you don’t want to push the pace just for the sake of doing so, but you also need to make quick decisions on the field.
Passing lanes close in seconds and if you’re not fast to act you’re going to miss chances. If nothing is open ahead of you, don’t be worried about passing it backwards or crossing the ball across the pitch to force the defenders to regroup.
These tips can help everyone become a better football player. There are going to be other parts of your game you need to work on constantly as well, but will vary based on the position you play. For example, goalkeepers don’t need to be lethal goal scorers.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, but practice makes perfect. Grab your football, get some friends and hit the field to practice, as that’s the best way to become a better football player. Remember, play safe and enjoy yourself.