An elite winger in soccer can have a major influence on a soccer game. Your ability to create and score goals can give the spark needed for your team.
With that said, even the most talented wingers can fall prey to common mistakes that can hinder their performance. Based on what I’ve seen on the field, there are some common themes wingers do to get an advantage but also hold them back.
In this article, we will discuss five common mistakes that wingers make in soccer and how to avoid them. Let’s get to it!
Common Mistakes Wingers Make
As a player that usually adds width to the field, it’s essential to understand the common mistakes that players in your position make. Recognizing these mistakes can help you improve your game and avoid costly errors that could hurt your team’s chances of winning.
Neglecting Defensive Duties
One of the most common mistakes that wingers make is neglecting their defensive duties. While it’s important to focus on attacking and creating scoring opportunities, wingers must also be willing to track back and help defend when the situation calls for it.
When you do track back, making hard and clean tackles will make you a complete forward.
Neglecting defensive duties can leave your team exposed to counterattacks and put unnecessary pressure on your defenders.
Solution: Focus on effort on the defensive end. Make clean tackles to get the ball back so you can do your thing.
Poor Decision-Making in the Final Third
As players get older and physical attributes start to level out, decision-making becomes crucial. When you’re in a scoring position, it can be tempting to take the shot yourself, but sometimes passing to a teammate is the better option.
Wingers must learn to read the game and make quick decisions based on the situation at hand. Typically, you’ll only have a split second to make that decision. That second can be the difference between a goal or a turnover.
Solution: Constantly make quick decisions in life. Don’t hesitate in practice. And, consider playing basketball in the offseason…it’s great for making quick decisions.
Ineffective Crossing Techniques
Wingers are responsible for delivering crosses into the box, but ineffective crossing techniques can lead to wasted opportunities. It’s important to practice crossing from various angles and positions to improve your accuracy and consistency.
Additionally, wingers must be aware of their teammates’ positioning to deliver crosses that are easy to convert into goals.
At the end of the day, you must be able to kick across your body on the move. Practice this more than you do standing still and kicking the ball. If you can nail this part of your game down, you’ll be dangerous on the flank.
Solution: Always practice passing on the move. Try different angles when you are looking to pass across your body.
Lack of Communication with Teammates
In soccer, communication is everything. As a wing player, you must be able to talk to your striker, midfielders, and defenders at all times.
Whether it’s calling for the ball or providing feedback on the game, effective communication can help your team work together more efficiently and increase your chances of success.
Solution: Become a vocal leader. This will put you in a great position to lead by example on the field.
Misjudging When to Dribble or Pass
Finally, wingers must learn to judge when to dribble and when to pass. Dribbling can be an effective way to beat defenders and create scoring opportunities, but sometimes passing is the better option.
Passing should be your priority. But, if you don’t see a teammate and it’s just you and the defender, don’t be afraid to take them on. Great wing players can beat their opponent off the dribble to create an even better chance of scoring.
Solution: Learn to read defenses better. Always have your head up. Only when you don’t have passing options should you look to beat your defender with the dribble.
Your Role as a Wing Player in Soccer
As a winger in soccer, your primary role is to create opportunities for your team to score goals. You do this by using your speed, agility, and dribbling skills to get past defenders and deliver accurate crosses into the box.
Responsibilities on the Field
You have both offensive and defensive responsibilities. In attack, your main focus is to create scoring chances for your team. You should be constantly looking for opportunities to get behind the defense and deliver crosses into the box. You should also be able to take on defenders one-on-one and create your own shot opportunities.
On the defensive side of the ball, you need to be aware of your role in the team’s defensive structure. You should be tracking back to help your fullback defend against opposing attackers. You should also be able to press the opposing team’s defensive players when they have the ball, to prevent them from advancing up the field.
Spatial Awareness and Positioning
One of the most critical skills for a winger is spatial awareness. You need to be able to read the game and anticipate where the ball is going to be played. This will allow you to position yourself in the right place at the right time to receive the ball and make a play.
You need to stay wide and close to the touchline to stretch the defense and create space for your teammates. At the same time, you need to be able to cut inside and link up with your central midfielders when necessary. Good positioning will allow you to receive the ball in dangerous areas and create scoring opportunities for your team!