Ultimate List of Soccer Skills to Master

Ultimate List of Soccer Skills to Master

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Watching professional soccer players in action is amazing. They make seemingly impossible moves look simple. Their soccer skills are a work of art as they compete for almost 90+ minutes.

These results can’t have been achieved without extensive training in the fundamentals of soccer, which are essential for success especially at the highest levels.

soccer skillsSoccer is based on a wide variety of abilities and techniques beyond simply dribbling and passing.

There are specific skills that are more important for certain positions in soccer than others, but the skill sets required to become elite are universal.

The more well-rounded you are as a soccer player, the better prepared you will be to maximize your natural talent. It’s super important to work on your foot skills, your agility, defensive abilities, body control, physique and mindset.

Our goal in this article is to provide you with a few pointers to help you become a better soccer player so you can play at the highest level possible.

Without further ado, let’s get in it.

Soccer Skills Every Player Should Work On

These are the seven key skills in soccer that the best players in the world have mastered to reach the top.

Working on these everyday can elevate your soccer game to an entirely new level. It’s important to realize that everything is going to be a work in progress. Having a growth mindset as you pursue these skills will help you understand that work needs to be done.

Also, as an athlete, there may be times when you have to sacrifice things. For example, instead of Fortnite, you may have to go in your backyard to do one hour of training instead. Compounded over time, this one hour can make you great. One hour of video games everyday will just leave you with wasted time.

The choice is up to you. Now, let’s get into it.

Ball Control

 

Being able to control the ball well is a crucial skill for any soccer player to learn. Having the ability to play with the ball at your feet is essential, so it will need to be one of the first things you learn.

Just think about Messi and his team’s advantage when the ball is played to him. He’s a threat every match to attack, pass and shoot.

In soccer terms, “ball control” means to maintain possession of the ball.

By working on your dribbling and ball control, you’ll be able to move laterally, backwards and at different paces.

The receiving of the ball is also crucial to ball control. This is called your touch. In order to successfully receive a pass, you must be able to stop the ball in midair so that it does not bounce back to the initial passer or the opposing defender.

After mastering the fundamentals, progressing to more advanced forms of control over the ball is what it takes to make the ball an extension of your feet and move across the field smoothly.

Mastering ball control skills requires lots of time and effort. Not only do you have to master foot skills but you’ll also want to keep your head up and on a swivel while doing so.

As a young athlete, working on your ball control can give you a solid foundation as a soccer player.

For starters, here are six dribbling moves you can work on today.

Professional soccer players make controlling the ball look simple, but many subtleties and specialized techniques are involved.

Passing

soccer passingIndividual ball control is crucial, but teamwork wins games in soccer. You must learn how to pass the ball with purpose if you want to be a team player.

The ability to pass the ball effectively ensures that your teammates can receive it easily. One of the things I see in youth soccer games are passes that are bouncing. Receiving players have a difficult time seeing it through cleanly. It’s important to keep the ball on the ground. Simple in concept but it takes repetition and awareness.

Surprisingly, a lot of skill is involved in passing the soccer ball. You’ll have to have the right velocity, timing and distance in order to make a precise pass. Mix in quick defenders and you’ll have to do it in less time or with less touches.

To be a great facilitator, a player must be able to pass the ball both short and long distances with preciseness.

Stamina and Speed

It’s no secret that soccer players must be physically fit in order to perform well throughout a game. In fact, on average, soccer players run 7 miles per 90-minute match.

The physical demands of a soccer game, which include extensive short and long-distance running, can take a toll physically and mentally.

Regardless of a player’s position (maybe except a goalie) on the field, all soccer players must have stamina and speed. This can be the difference between good and great players.

Those players who get tired fast will often make silly mistakes they are capable of not making.

Stamina and speed are also simple to increase and maintain, as you can devote a small portion of your training time to activities like running sprints, long-distance, hills, etc. This is the ‘boring work’ we talk about that no one sees but makes a huge difference.

In order to play at your maximum potential, players will need to increase their stamina while maintaining high levels of concentration and decision making.

Footwork

Improving your footwork is similar to ball control but affects other aspects of the game. A player with solid footwork can turn with the ball quicker, can get their foot into dribblers, is able to find holes in the defense and has more balance.

The elite soccer players are always working to improve their footwork. Their footwork gives them an advantage when it comes to maneuvering in tight spaces to either come away with the ball or slice through a defense.

Proper footwork established at an early age makes other aspects of soccer easier including accurate passing, shooting and crossing the ball across the pitch in a single motion.

It also helps defensive players stay balanced and maintain proper positioning to make on-ball tackles.

If you want to take your footwork to the next level, you need to put in the time and effort to improve the techniques involved and practice those motions over and over again.

Shooting

Scoring goals is the game’s primary objective and the key to coming out on top in a soccer match.

The ability to accurately aim and strike the ball is necessary if you want to reach your full potential as a soccer player. This is especially important if you want to be a striker!

It may not appear so, but there are multiple ways to shoot and kick a ball, and getting it right requires a lot of technique and foot/body positioning.

Just like golf, the degree at which you strike the ball is important. Being slightly off is the difference between a shot on goal and it going into the stands.

There aren’t many opportunities to score a goal in a soccer game, so mastering your technique can set you apart from your competitors.

It’s crucial to dial in your aim to perfection through repeated practice. You should be practicing shooting on the move so you’re mimicking real pressure. Muscle memory can be developed and scoring can become second nature.

Positioning

Eleven players make up a soccer team, and they all play important roles based on their assigned positions.

However, as the game progresses, the players can switch positions as necessary.

The ability to strategically place yourself and gauge your surroundings is often undervalued despite its importance. Soccer players frequently have to make split-second decisions, such as whether to rush an open area in their own defense or take advantage of a space left undefended by the opposition.

Keeping tabs on where your teammates are and where they need you to be will help you determine the best course of action to maximize your contribution to the team and increase your chances of winning.

In addition to being able to work well with others and coordinate strategies, this skill also includes the ability to communicate effectively and clearly with teammates.

Working on positioning will come with team training and more matches. Keeping your shape as a team is crucial to ensure field players are aligned with the coach’s strategies.

For some players, video analysis can be a great education tool to improve field positioning.

Discipline

Intangibles are important.

Mastering the previous skills will put you in a position to succeed but without proper discipline you will not be able to push through training when it gets difficult or boring.

Hard work and daily practice are essential if you want to advance your skills and technique to the highest levels.

Given the time commitment and potential monotony of the process, it’s simple to lose motivation.

Discipline, on the other hand, can see you through to the other side, where you emerge as a better soccer player.

The greatest soccer players in the world are consistently praised for their tireless effort, unwavering commitment, optimistic demeanor, and determination to succeed despite overcoming challenges.

That’s what it takes to get to the top, and that’s what it takes to become your best soccer self.

Also remember, “how you do one thing is how you do everything”. If you’re a student, work hard in school because it will carry out onto the field. 

Other Soccer Skills to Improve

 

At SoccerNovo, we like to keep things simple. For this reason, the previous skills mentioned will help you become an overall better soccer player. But, there are other aspects of the game that should be worked on. They include:

  • Trapping
  • Heading
  • Turning
  • Tackling
  • Goalkeeping
  • Change of Pace

These will naturally get better the more you play so we don’t want to put a huge emphasis on them. You will get further along if you continue working on your ball control, passing, speed/stamina, footwork, shooting, positioning and discipline.

Exercises for Soccer Players

The following activities are some exercises that will indirectly help you improve your soccer skills.

  • Jump Roping: Call us old-fashioned but jumping rope is an effective way to improve agility, coordination, and footwork, as well as increase speed and stamina. Start by jumping for one-minute intervals, gradually increasing the time you can jump for each session. You can also add in different jumps, such as double-unders or two-feet-together jumps, to mix it up and ensure you stay focused while doing the exercise.
  • Plyometric Drills: These explosive exercises help build power and explosiveness on the field, which helps when trying to gain that extra burst of energy needed during a game. Examples include box jumps, squat jumps, broad jumps, single-leg hops, etc. When performing these exercises, pay close attention to your form, as this will help you maximize the benefits of each activity.
  • Agility Ladders: This exercise is great for improving coordination and agility. You can perform different exercises with the ladder, such as running in and out of the squares or side shuffles, to challenge your body and get better at changing directions quickly. Start by performing these drills slowly and gradually increasing your speed over time to ensure you stay focused on form rather than just moving faster.
  • Core Workouts: A strong core is essential in soccer since it helps improve balance and stability while playing. Exercises such as planks, mountain climbers, Russian twists, sit-ups, etc., are all great options to incorporate into your routine to work on your core strength. Done right, this should only take up 5-minutes of your day.

Conclusion

It is important to understand that these essential soccer skills will develop at various times during a player’s career.

Setting a foundation at an early age can help players develop quicker as they get older. It’s always easier to progress forward than to revert backwards.

The road to becoming a top soccer player will take many years and even decades.

It’s important to set personal goals and write down everything you do to keep yourself accountable. As you put in the work behind the scenes, you’ll be presented the opportunity to showcase them during games.

Simply put, don’t forget:

  1. Put in your best effort!
  2. The more frequently you can commit to training, the better!
  3. Be a student forever!
  4. Don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes!
  5. Believe in your future!
  6. Don’t compare yourself to other players!
  7. Have fun! Have fun! Have fun!

As you embark on your playing journey, remember to not take it too seriously. The more enjoyable you can make it, the more frequently you will train. The more you train, the better you get. The better you get, the more opportunities present themselves to you. 


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      Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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