If you want to be a successful professional player you have to be willing to do the extra work inside and outside of the playing field. There is no better time than to start training on the basics when you are young to lay the foundation of your future soccer career. Follow my 12 tips on how to be a good soccer player and I can guarantee you a solid foundation for your future soccer career.
These tips are to be treated as guidelines or references when training your kid.
If your kid is playing in the school team or a soccer club then you need to listen to the coach and the trainer.
Your role as a parent is to ensure your kid’s training covers all the areas discussed below.
Without wasting time let’s dive into the topic:
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1. Committed To Your Training
There is a saying that “Rome was not built in a day”, and this still holds true for your dream to become a good soccer player.
You cannot learn anything after playing 2 soccer games or doing soccer drills in 1 week because you have to be committed to your training and put in extra hours just to master your skills.
If you are committed and remain consistent you will gradually develop the skills and knowledge needed to be a good soccer player.
Here are the areas you need to be committed to:
- Soccer drills – You must perform all your drills properly and do not cut corners – do not fool yourself
- Physical fitness – Improve your physical strength and cardiovascular fitness
- Stick to a proper diet, and nutrition, and avoid junk foods and drinks.
- Learn more about the game, and rules, understand team formation and observe how your favorite player plays on the field
Having said that you are going to have to manage your time wisely to accommodate school, time spent with parents and siblings, and friends.
All these are equally important and you should not neglect them.
Also, watch out for overtraining that will slow your progress and can cause injury to you.
2. Learn Your Basics Properly
There is no point rushing through the basic training just because you want your kid to do the advanced training and drills.
Basic ball passing, receiving, and kicking are the fundamentals of ball handling.
So are basic soccer rules and guidelines like fouls and infringements you should avoid.
Things like the offside rules when you fully understand it you can use it to your advantage to beat the Defenders.
The advice is to take time to understand the basic Drills and rules so that they don’t become a problem for you in the future.
Check out these basic drills:
- How To Kick A Soccer Ball
- 10 Incredibly Simple Soccer Drills For Toddlers
- Soccer Drills 4-Year-Old Kids
- Soccer Goalkeeper Drills
- 5 Fun Soccer Warm Up Drills
- 5 Basic Kids Soccer Drills – Excel In Ball Control
3. Proper Diet & Nutrition
Nutrition and diet play a large part in making you perform at your peak level.
By eating the right food at the right time you will ensure that you get the maximum fuel you need and your recovery will be quick for the next game.
Poor diet and nutrition can cause you the following:
- Feeling tired and weak during game
- Your general physical strength will be low and expose you to injuries
- Your recovery time will take too long
- You may end up growing fat and heavy instead.
Please read my post “Foods Your Kid Should Eat Before A Soccer Game” so that you can understand the importance of proper diet and nutrition.
4. Improve Core Strength, Speed, And Agility
Soccer can be a very intensive game where players jog, sprint, jump and turn and a strong player with speed and agility is an important requirement.
Kids who are still trying to learn the basics will slowly develop physical strength as they run around the field.
But for older kids above 8-year-olds, should start doing speed and agility drills.
5. Know Your Position’s Roles
If you are a defender, you must know that your primary role is to defend your opponents from scoring goals.
It also means that you must have the skills to defend your opponents properly.
Seek advice from a senior player who plays the same position as yours
You will be surprised by how eager they are to help you.
There are plenty of books and DVDs you can buy online that will teach you how to play a specific position in soccer.
Please read my post about Soccer Positions Numbers And Roles
6. Be A Team Player
A team player is a person who believes in collaborating with his or her teammates in order to win the game.
Toddlers might not understand the concept yet but older kids are encouraged to play as a team, not as individuals.
Here are some examples of a team playing
- Communicating with teammates about strategy, encouragements,
- Be able to perform the task you are assigned to do on the field – reliability
- Stepping in to assist a teammate and doing your utmost best
- Accept mistakes and learn from them
7. Multi-Role Player
Have you seen someone who can play defense as well as forward?
They are called utility players because the coach can put him or her anywhere on the field and he or she can adapt and perform brilliantly.
Some are expert defenders that can play in the left, right, and center backs or run up both flanks.
These players are versatile, with excellent passing and kicking skills with either left or right foot.
They can score goals and tackle well.
Encourage your kid to try every position on the field, this is especially important for kids 8 years old and above
8. Watch And Learn From The Pros
Take your kid to a soccer match at his school or the local league matches.
Watching and learning from professional and experienced players is a perfect way to improve your kid’s knowledge about soccer.
A lot of professional players will admit that they have their soccer idols to look up to when they were beginners and strive to emulate them.
And most ended up like their hero, playing the same position and style, even at the same club!
Firstly pick out a player that also plays your kid’s position and observe how they dribble, pass, and kick the ball.
Study what the player does when he or she does not possess the ball.
Did the player stand idle, does he or he communicate with other players, or run to another spot to receive and pass the ball?
It will be a perfect opportunity to see his or her football skills and also learn from some mistakes made on the field.
You can watch a soccer game at your school, or on TV, buy a soccer DVD online, or simply go to YouTube.
9. Use Both Feet For Passing And Kicking
Have you ever watched Christiano Ronaldo dribble, pass, kick, and score goals from either foot?
Did you see how the defenders tried to contain him but failed?
- Defenders and goalkeepers will be confused as to when you will strike the ball
- You have a higher chance of scoring a goal
- The ball will not always come rolling to your preferred kicking foot, and when it does you can still control it.
- Imagine all the lost opportunities to score because you cannot use your weak foot?
My post “12 Simple Soccer Drills For 4-Year-Olds [+ Coaching Tips]” puts emphasis on training your weaker foot.
10. On-Field Experience
Playing real soccer games with real players will give your kid an idea of what to expect such as pressure, quick thinking, accuracy, and fitness.
You will experience that other players will put pressure on you, whether they are your teammates or opponents.
You also soon find out that every second counts and any delay will risk you losing the ball to your opponents or a scoring opportunity lost forever.
Your entire team will not be pleased with you.
Your passing and kicking have to be 100% accurate otherwise your teammates will not trust you.
You will also test your physical fitness and strength. If you are gasping for breath after 5 minutes of play then you have a fitness problem.
The soccer field is where you gain experience and measure yourself so that you can improve on what is lacking.
Sportsmanship shows your maturity in terms of your character and behavior.
Any player lacking sportsmanship will not play too long in the field because they got red carded and sent off for committing too many fouls.
First of all, sportsmanship is showing respect to your teammates, coaches, referees, opponents, and spectators.
Unsportsmanlike behaviors can cause injuries to other players and yourself.
Read my post “9 Tips About Teaching Sportsmanship To Kids“
12. Play FIFA Video Game
OK, this may sound crazy and may not be counterproductive and you might end up addicted to it!
But if you are committed you can slot in time to play FIFA during your rest times.
Playing the FIFA game will actually benefit you in many ways.
- You will learn about the soccer rules
- Having a birds-eye view of the field will actually stimulate your creativity on how to play strategically and score goals
- Learn about the best players in the world and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
To be a good soccer player is a combination of many factors, both on and off the field.
When you work on all the 12 tips I give above you will surely earn the respect of your teammates, coach, and parents.
Did I miss any attributes of a good soccer player? Please leave a comment below.