Becoming better at any skill requires a lot of hard work and commitment. Once you’ve decided that you want to work on a particular skill, you have to decide how you’ll go about doing that. Most pros in any field will tell you that improvement entails working on your skills daily, and in a structured way. In sports, building your muscle memory and skill is all about consistency. Here are a few tips for improving your soccer skills.
Soccer Balls in Your House
If you live with your family and are working on your ball skills as part of your gap year ideas, this tip could become a bit irritating for others. But a great way to make soccer practice a part of your daily life is by keeping a few soccer balls around your house. If you have any long hallways, you can dribble on your way to the refrigerator, over to the TV, and back down the hallway again.
You might be surprised by how quickly your ball control improves when you’re trying not to hit the wall or knock over furniture. Controlling the ball will become habitual for you, and you’ll no longer feel intimidated when trying to dribble around obstacles during practice. Plus, keeping soccer balls around you at all times can help reinforce the idea that this is part of your daily life now.
There are a few ball skills every soccer player needs to be adept with if they want to improve: dribbling, passing, and running with the ball. Soccer isn’t just about scoring goals or faking out other players with fancy footwork. A large majority of the game is just about getting from point A to point B without losing control of the ball. You can create a setup to do daily drills of these skills by having a wall to bounce off of for passing and a stretch of about 20 yards to practice running with the ball and dribbling.
For running with the ball, you want to practice counting about three touches of the ball for every 20 yards. Your goal for dribbling should be to keep the ball close to your foot, touching the ball with the inside part of the foot. By focusing on your three main skills and how you want to improve them you’ll soon have a daily drill schedule that will help you improve in no time.
Aside from drills and practice, how do the pros get better at their game? By playing it all the time. Try to see if you can get together a group of friends or neighborhood kids for a pickup game once in a while. This will give you a chance to practice your skills in real life and with a variety of different players. Even if it’s just you and one other person, you can practice your passing and scoring skills against one another. You can even get your family involved with practices, right down to letting your dog join in on the fun.
If you’re playing on a team, you’ll most likely only have a few formal practices every week and could use more playtime. If you’re in the off-season, maintaining the muscle memory of a match is essential for improving between seasons. Plus, it’s really important to keep your love of the game alive and to remember how to have fun with it. It can be hard to remember why you started playing soccer in the first place when you’re preoccupied with running drills.
The Right Mindset
Improving at a skill is all about being humble enough to admit you can do better, while still believing that you can get better. Even the best players can continue improving at the top of their game, and with a little commitment, the worst players can join them at the top. Use these tips to start improving your soccer skills and enjoy the rewards of consistency.