7 Important Soccer Skills to Train for Faster Improvement

What are the most important soccer skills to train for faster improvement? The best way to improve as a soccer player is to focus on training the things that are going to directly improve your performance on the pitch such as your athleticism, recovery, and of course your soccer skills.

At the highest level of professional soccer players do the same basic soccer skills they have been doing since they were youth players. The only difference is that they do everything better, at faster speeds, and more consistently.

Elite soccer players, and elite athletes of any sport in general, have identified the basic fundamental skills of their sport and spend their time perfecting them until they can no longer get them wrong. Professional players have practiced their skills repeatedly so many times that the skills are basically automatic and don’t require as much effort as before.

As an aspiring athlete, it is best to learn from professional players who have already done what you are trying to do, learn from their experiences, and master the basics, which is what they did to reach higher levels of performance. This blog will cover the most crucial soccer skills you must train to improve faster.

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Technique

In soccer, technique is based on how well you can feel your body, how well you can control your body, and how well you can control the soccer ball, even during pressure. You must learn how the ball’s spin works to position your body correctly, and to know whether to control it or pass it with one touch.

There are many subcategories of technique, which include your ball control, first touch, shooting, dribbling, crossing, volleying, and passing skills. To improve your technique, you have to practice a lot and spend as much time as you can with the ball. There is no other option.

Playing against real opponents, ideally in a team environment or through pick-up games, futsal, doing barefoot training and analyzing high-level soccer players in action are good ways to help you improve your technique. Seeing high-level players in action is a great way to stimulate mirror neurons in the brain, which means you are learning how to do a skill by watching someone else do it.

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First Touch

Your first touch, which is technically part of technique, is so important that it needs its own section. Your first touch sets you up for your next move: to pass or take the ball and dribble to space, then pass or shoot to the goal.

To improve your first touch, you have to get comfortable using all parts of both feet instep, outside, sole and laces. In soccer, seconds are crucial, and a bad first touch can waste time, slow down play, or lead to a goal-scoring opportunity for the other team.

An excellent first touch will help maintain the speed of play, can help you beat the opponents, and will help you keep the ball under control so that you can perform your next move with confidence.

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Game IQ

Game intelligence includes spatial awareness, risk assessment, decision-making, quick thinking, and a tactical understanding of your position and role based on your team’s formation. To improve game intelligence, you will have to play a lot of games, either through team training or pick-up games, ask your coaches questions, and be able to take constructive criticism.

You will also need to watch high-level soccer games and analyze them, not just enjoy them. Here are some key areas to focus on to help you become a more intelligent player.

  • Understand where you have to be positioned relative to where your teammates and opponents are on the soccer field
  • Be aware of where the ball is, where your teammates are, where the opponents are, and where the empty space is
  • Space = time in soccer.
    • Look for spaces called “pockets” to create time for yourself.
    • The more space you have, the more time you have. The more time you have, the better able you are of making the right decision.
  • Think 2-3, even more steps ahead of the play.
    • This means you should know what you will do with the ball long before you even get the ball.
  • Create angles for your opponent to receive the balls.
    • This means making triangles and different shapes with your teammates and knowing how to move together as one unit.
  • Know your role in your team, know what areas of the field you have to cover, and what your primary duties are

Image by Alexander Nadrilyanski

Scanning

One of the best ways to improve your game intelligence and overall soccer skills is by improving your scanning. Scanning refers to a player’s head movements when they don’t have the ball, to gather information about the current situation so they can choose the best option once they do get the ball.

By scanning, players learn how to survey their options before making their next action. However, scanning isn’t just about moving your head around for the sake of moving your head; it is more about the information you pick up when moving your head.

Whether you are a defending player or an attacking player, you have to scan so that you know where your teammates are, and where they are going to move to, as well as to gather information about where the opposing team players are. You also scan to look for pockets of space to move into.

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Skill Moves

Skill moves are one of the most exciting parts of the game and they add flair to a player’s toolbox, help players get out of pressure, and away from the opponents. Skill moves should be used sparingly, and ideally, they should come naturally and through instinct, which is done by getting into the flow state.

Most of the time, simple skill moves, like body feints, are the most effective, but occasionally, a fancy skill move will help get you out of pressure, and it will make you look cool along the way. These are some of the most effective skill moves to train:

The Body Feint:

A deceptive yet simple body movement, such as a drop of the shoulder, that is used to mislead opponents and change direction quickly.

The Step-over:

In a quick step-over motion, the foot goes over the ball to trick defenders and create space.

The Scissor:

Similar to the stepover, the scissor is a quick footwork maneuver used to fake out opponents, but this move is the opposite of a step-over.

The Cruyff Turn:

Named after Johan Cruyff, this skill involves a sudden change in direction with one foot, such as when you fake a shot or a pass and go the other way.

The Croqueta:

This skill was made famous by Iniesta, involving a quick sidestep to evade defenders.

The Ronaldo Chop:

Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature move is to use a chopping motion to change the ball’s direction.

The Roulette:

A skillful spin move to outmaneuver opponents and maintain ball possession.

Image by Dương Hoàng

Athleticism

What is athleticism? Most people would say that athleticism is the characteristics that athletes have in common, such as strength, fitness, and agility.

While that is true, athleticism is more about how well someone can effortlessly express their body to its full intent in real-time against competition. A lot of the best soccer players in the world are skinny yet powerful when they need to be, and they excel at moving effortlessly past their opponents. Nowadays, even kids and teenagers 14, 15, or 16 years old are making professional debuts, some even with the biggest clubs in the world.

This is because they are fascia-driven athletes with a completely different way of feeling and moving their bodies than a more muscle-driven athlete. Fascia, muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, the breath, tongue posture, your organs, everything is always working simultaneously, and nothing is ever working in isolation.

However, there is a massive difference between people who move more with their tendons and fascia and those who move more with their muscular system because they have completely different connective tissues qualities. If you are a soccer player, it is best to train your athleticism by prioritizing your fascia system and over time the muscles will come naturally.

Image by Alex Bracken

Mindset

As a soccer player, you must develop a strong winning mentality and a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. A strong mentality will allow you to express yourself and your athleticism better because you will feel more confident about your talent and who you are as a player on and off the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

How can I improve my soccer skills?

To improve your soccer skills check out this detailed blog to first find out what the most important soccer skills to train are. Once you have done that, go outside, and start training which means play the game as much as possible and variations of the game such as pick up gamesfutsal, beach soccer, soccer tennis, and soccer ping pong.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer the most important thing is to join a team and play the game as much as possible. If possible, analyze high level games as much as you can and your own games as well by recording them with a soccer camera. Also read soccer books, listen to podcasts, watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.

Conclusion

Now that you are all done with the blog I hope you know what soccer skills you have to train to really see improvement as a soccer player. To improve your potential and overall ability make sure you are playing the game, most importantly, but also analyze the players you want to play like and take care of every other aspect of your life that impacts performance such as injury prevention, sleep, recovery, nutrition, hydration, EMF exposure, relationship with nature, and mitochondrial function.

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