Very few people are blessed with the divine soccer skills of Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world right now. The very top players in the game have that little piece of extra talent and spacial awareness that the regular player just doesn’t have, and that is why they are so amazing to watch. But just because the lofty heights of the greats may be beyond your reach, there are some techniques that you can use to improve your game significantly. These five techniques can be utilized at home, away from the practice field, to develop your personal skills to their fullest potential.
Tip 1. Make sure that when you’re working on your skills you are actually working on your skills. You need to make sure that you put in the required time and effort. Watching your favorite team on TV can inspire you, and may help in understanding tactics, but save that for practice with your team and coach. Get off the coach, get outside and start moving the ball around, consider rewarding yourself with little treats when you hit certain milestones. Remember we’re developing personal skills here, stay motivated, have fun with it and express yourself.
Tip 2. Get some useful equipment to make your practice go smoothly. You can get cheap soccer balls out of discount bins, that you can kick around the driveway without worrying about scuffing a more expensive ball. A lighter softer ball is ideal for practicing headers without giving yourself a migraine. Cones for dribbling practice can be expensive but if used regularly they will help to improve your skills. Make use of a stopwatch or alternatively just get an app that performs the same function.
Tip 3. Passing is a key basic skill, use the inside of your foot to increase your accuracy and practice quick short passes against a wall or garage door. Use both feet when doing this and use two touches, the first to get control of the ball and the second to quickly pass. Once you gain confidence,trymixing things up with some longpasses using the outside of the foot or shoelace kicks. Start trying to use one touch passing and keep a record of how many passes you can complete in a row, Repetition will build muscle memory and soon passing will become second nature.
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Tip 4. Receiving is a very useful skill to practice. You can throw a ball high up onto a sloping garage roof or against a wall and try to judge where it will land. Try to quickly get control of the ball by trapping it with your chest or bring it down to your feet using your thighs. Obviously if you’re practicing at home with a friend or team mate then this is easier to do
Tip 5. Dribbling is a massive subject in itself, but to get the basics set up a line of eight to ten cones and have space of a yard between them. Slowly at first move through the cones controlling the ball with the inside of the foot. Again use both feet and slowly start to build your speed. The key here is to make sure that you firmly plant your supporting foot. This isn’t easy, and it won’t come naturally at first but over time you will get quicker. Once confident try again, but this time work the ball laterally with the outside of the foot. Later you can add a goal of two cones at the end of your dribble so you can practice shooting.
Kev Anders is an experienced football player in Sussex, England and the owner of Both Teams to Score