Practice Itinerary

5 min - Accountability Followup

15 min - Sport Skill Development Workout

10 min - Skills Discussion

Become A Better Soccer Player

1. Set A Practice Schedule

Some players have more natural talent than others. But everyone needs to practice efficiently and train properly to become better at soccer. Set a detailed schedule for practicing that you can follow.

  • Plan out what you will work on before you practice. If your practice is unorganized and you just shoot the ball around or pass and dribble you won’t improve. Think about what specifically you need to improve.
  • Set a dedicated time for training. You might allow yourself one hour every day to train. During that hour block out specific time to work on a specific skill. For example, you may decide to spend 20 minutes on ball control with your off foot.
  • Being specific and setting goals will allow you to advance at a faster pace than when you just play around.

2. Perform Basic Drills

Advanced dribbling and finesse shots are fun. But you will never be able to perform these advanced moves if you haven’t mastered the basics.

  • Messi wouldn’t be able to weave in and out of defenders with ease if he never mastered basic dribbling and passing. Ronaldo wouldn’t be able to curve the ball just under the crossbar if he never mastered proper shooting technique.
  • To be a better soccer player you have to first become a great player when it comes to the basics. The building blocks may not be as fun to learn or practice, but without these tools, you’ll never develop the ability to perform the advanced moves.
  • Practice simple passing, receiving, shooting, dribbling, etc. Many players never effectively master these basic skills and, therefore, don’t even know how to defend against the simplest attack. Once you can perform basic skills without even thinking, you’ll be ready to advance your training and skill. You’ll also be amazed at how many other players who skipped over the basics can’t keep up with you.

3. Exercise The Whole Body

Look at professional soccer players and you’ll notice the incredible shape these players are in. The shape these players is in isn’t solely due to practicing, playing, and running up and down a field. It’s due to strict diet and exercise that benefits the whole body.

  • While your legs are doing a lot of work you need to exercise and train your whole body so that you can support your legs. Proper exercise will also help you prevent injury.
  • An elite soccer player will typically run 6-10 miles during a match. So you need to be able to run without getting winded. But, you will notice that much of your running is in shorter bursts and sprints. You won’t train for soccer the same way you would for a marathon. Instead of just running long distances, do interval training.
  • Do sprint workouts that get your body used to working hard for shorter periods of time. You may be able to run 10 miles at a steady pace, but during a game, find yourself winded after a few minutes of bursts and sprints. That’s because your body isn’t used to this kind of running.
  • You also need to strengthen your muscles. Lifting weights to build muscles in your legs, back, and abdominal region will benefit you and allow you to improve. Start with higher reps at lower weights to build lean muscle. Squats, deadlifts, and ab workouts are going to help you on the field.
  • High-intensity interval training will help you with strength, endurance, and agility. This kind of training involves working your body hard for shorter periods of time, taking short rests, and then working another area of the body.
  • For example, to improve your explosive speed and endurance you may train in intervals for 17 minutes. Alternate between sprinting for 15 seconds and then walking for 45 seconds. This kind of training will help your body perform during a game without getting as fatigued.

4. Keep A Healthy Diet

Elite players may burn between 1500-3000 calories in a 90-minute game. That means that you not only need a proper diet to keep you energized for a game. You also need it to help your strength and endurance training as well.

  • You won’t become a better player if you don’t take care of your body and mind. A proper diet will allow you to stay energized, focused, and will reduce the risk of injury.
  • Some basic tips for a soccer player diet include eating the least processed foods you can get. Such foods as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-fiber carbohydrates will provide you with proper nutrients to stay in great shape.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that are colorful. Foods with natural colors provide plenty of nutrients. Lean proteins like fish, chicken, and even a little pork will build lean muscle. Healthy fats in olive oil, nuts, fish, and avocados are great for restoring your body after intense activity.
  • Additionally, eating breakfast and smaller meals throughout the day will get your metabolism going and keep you energized and focused. After training or working out eat a post-workout recovery meal full of healthy carbs and protein.
  • After a match or intense workout, eat a healthy post-game meal to ensure your body recovers properly. Try eating three cups of whole grain pasta with one cup of tomato sauce with mushrooms. You can also add a bit of parmesan cheese for flavor. Greek yogurt with strawberries or other fruits can be a great dessert too.
  • Stay hydrated. All that running around and training makes you sweat a lot. The more dehydrated you are, the worse you perform. Drink plenty of water. Finally, get enough rest. Your mind and body need time to relax and recover. If you aren’t getting an average of eight hours a night, your body won’t regenerate and perform as well.

5. Study the Game - Play Correctly In Your Position

Often at lower levels players will clump together and not play the correct positions. But if you want to be a better player you will have to learn how to best play in your assigned position.

  • Learn the roles of your position, where your imaginary limits are on the field. For example, if you are a right forward, your zone is the right side of the attacking third. You need to stay in this area of the field so that you can receive passes and loose balls. When you are on offense you will be responsible for using your position to advance the ball and possibly score. On defense, you will fall back to the center circle or near the center line.

6. Develop Field Vision

Having a great sense of where the action is happening on the field and where the ball will go next is a necessary skill.

  • When playing and practicing you should learn to not only know where each player is but also the most likely path of the ball. Even when you’re not close to it.
  • When you don’t have the ball you still need to be active. Don’t just watch the game as if you were a spectator. Practice predicting what kind of passes will happen, which players will get the ball next, and how those players will move into a new position.
  • Being able to predict the next action and placement of the ball and players will give you a great vision of the game. It will allow you to position yourself in the right spot to get the ball, block an attacker, and support. Being a great soccer player isn’t only about scoring goals. It’s about being ready at all times to help your team.

7. Support Your Teammates

Supporting your teammates means more than just giving encouragement. You need to physically support your team as well. [7]

  • As you progress you will discover that you excel at certain skills more than others. Recognize where you’re most valuable and use your skills to help the team, not yourself.
  • If you are skilled at dribbling and moving the ball up the field but lack shooting ability, you can easily support your team. You’ll best support your team by getting the ball near the goal and passing it to a striker.
  • Talk to your teammates on and off the field to build a rapport. During a game, you should be helping your teammates by giving encouragement as well as alerting players to open passes or shots, even if you aren’t sending the ball to yourself. Call for the ball loudly and use your hands to signal.
  • Don’t hog the ball. Your teammates won’t pass you the ball if you never pass it back. Your teammates also won't give you the ball if you always miss a shot or lose it on a run. Remember that you’re not a star and can’t win alone. Make smart passes and learn to get rid of the ball when you need to. If you don't hog the ball, and instead to learn to pass, you'll probably end up getting it back more often.

8. Improve Your Skills - Practice Drills & Ball Control

Most likely you have one dominant foot that you pass and shoot with. But to advance your skill you’ll need to be able to handle the ball with both.

  • Being able to handle the ball with both feet will greatly open up your ability to pass, move, and score. A lot of players are right-footed, being able to use your opposite foot well will throw off the opponent.
  • You may also find yourself in a position where using your off foot is the only way to keep the ball, pass, or even shoot and score. Being comfortable with both feet will give you confidence and allow you to succeed in any situation

9. Practice Finesse Moves & Learn Passing Tactics

Passing effectively is the best way to move the ball forward. But passing forward isn’t always the best way to get closer to your opponent’s goal. Additionally, when done correctly, finesse moves will allow you to beat your opponent and press on.

  • Lean the different kinds of passes and when to use each one. You’ll also need to learn how to effectively receive each type of pass.
  • Run drills where you practice passing and receiving. Pay attention to your foot placement and which parts of your foot touch the ball. As a general rule, you should pass and receive with the inside of your foot, not with your toes. The inside gives you greater control.
  • Learn to use the correct passes to achieve the best result. You may do a short pass to make your teammate rush to the ball to create space. Or, you’ll need to do a long through ball so your teammate who is running forward can meet the ball without stopping.
  • Finesse moves are fun but hard to pull off. However, learning a few once you’ve gotten good at dribbling and passing can put you leagues ahead of other players. You have to learn to sell the move. You’re not only moving your feet, but you have to use your body to trick the defender as well. Practice cutting and chopping while keeping your body up and square so as not to give away your move.

10. Always Be Courteous And Have A Good Attitude

Being a great team player is not only the right way to be, but it will make you valuable to the team.

  • Even if you’re losing, always be encouraging and supportive. Don’t check out just because you think the game is over. Offer support and keep trying until the actual end of the game. Be a courteous loser and a graceful winner.
  • The more support you offer on and off the field the more people will want you around. If you’re not the best player but always do your best and offer support you’ll have more opportunity to play and practice.
  • Lastly, have fun! Don’t get too caught up on winning. Soccer should be a fun sport. You play because you love the game. So remember that you’re supposed to be having fun. And that even if you lose, you are still getting better because you paid attention and learned from the game.

Soccer Fitness Conditioning

Activities To Become Stronger

 

PLANKS

The plank is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a position similar to a push-up for the maximum possible time.  Come into a forearm plank, with hips parallel to the floor, elbows directly below your shoulders. Grip a cable with 10 to 20 pounds in one hand with palm facing toward the body, then pull your elbow toward you and slowly release. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps on one side, then switch and repeat for one set. Do 3 to 4 sets.

DUMBBELL LATERAL LUNGES

Start standing with your legs wide, about shoulder-width apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand (5-15 pounds), lunge to one side, and as you do it, lower the dumbbells towards the ground. Once your reach that spot, push hard off the leg and back to the starting position.

DUMBBELL STEPUPS

Start by standing in front of a solid, stable bench or a box while you’re holding dumbbells at your sides. Bring one leg up onto the bench, making your thigh parallel to the floor. Step up onto the bench while keeping the dumbbells at your side, leaving your trailing leg just off the bench. Step down. Repeat for 10-15 reps.

KETTLEBELL SWINGS

Start with the kettlebell on the floor between your feet, which should be about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and get into a squat-like position while keeping your back flat. Grab the kettlebell with both hands. Using your legs and glutes, explosively extend your hips as you swing the kettlebell between your legs and bring it up to eye level. Make sure you use your legs and hips to push the movement—this isn’t a shoulder exercise. Repeat continuously for 10-15 swings. Use 20-25 pounds to start.

GOBLET SQUATS

Stand with spine tall, feet shoulder-width apart, and grip a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest. Sit back and down as if you’re lowering onto a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with knees and toes pointing forward. Press your weight back into your heels and mid-foot, then push heels into the ground to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 4 sets of 6 reps with a heavy load to improve strength, or 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps with a lighter load if you’re focused on endurance.

JUMP ROPES

Start with basic jumps for 2 minutes. Then do alternating skiier jumps on each side, 10 to the left and 10 to the right, followed by 10 single-leg hops (do all on one side, then switch sides and repeat). That’s one set. Do 4 sets with 60 seconds of rest in between.

LATERAL SLING LEG BOUND

Start on the left leg with the knee bent. Bound to the right, exhaling on the jump and landing on the right leg with bent knees to help you balance. That’s one rep. Do 5 to 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

LADDER SHUFFLES

Stand with your right side next to one end of the agility ladder. Quickly step right foot, then left foot, into the square to the right. Repeat, moving at a quick pace to the right, one square at a time. When you reach the other end of the ladder, have your partner throw you the ball with some force. Catch it, then throw it back to them. Repeat the shuffle, this time moving to the left and leading with left foot, back to start. That's one rep. Do 10 reps.

Soccer Mental Game

Soccer Mental Game Questions

How do you mentally prepare for a soccer game?

What is your training schedule like?

What foods should soccer players avoid?

How do I know what my strongest position is on the field?

Activities To Become Mentally Prepared

Develop a consistent pregame routine that instills confidence. 

Focus on what you need to do to perform at your best without overthinking.

Focus on your game not your competitors. 

Focus on the process, not the results.

Have trust in yourself.