Skills

Footwork Improvement:

Juggling:

Messi JugglingOnce you become more familiar with the ball, it’s easier to control it on the field. One way to improve your touches on the ball is to juggle the soccer ball. Juggling is basically bouncing the ball off your feet (or thighs for beginners) multiple times without letting it touch the ground. Using your thighs is easier if you’re just starting out, but using your feet will help you out more in the long run. If you’re a beginner, try throwing the ball up in the air and then juggling it, or bouncing it off the ground.

When juggling the ball on your thighs, try to hit the ball about mid thigh or just slightly towards your knee. Bend your leg at the knee and as the ball starts to come down out of the air, raise your leg and hit it with your thigh. Be careful not to let the ball hit the front of your knee, or it will fly forward and will make it harder to regain control over the ball. At first, try just hitting it off your thigh once and then catching it until you get the feeling of it. As you get more comfortable with that, try juggling it twice, and gradually build up from there.

If you’re using your feet, try to hit the ball with the laces of your shoe. Your foot should be “locked,” which means to keep your foot tensed as you juggle the ball. When you are first learning to juggle with your feet, try bouncing the ball off the ground and hitting it once, and then twice, and so on. As you get more comfortable with juggling with your feet, try rolling the ball backwards towards your foot with the top of your shoe and then flicking it upwards to juggle it. Once you get the hang of that, set challenges for yourself, such as trying to keep the ball below your knee as you juggle or get 50 juggles in a row. Some players suggest that the ball should have a backspin on it, meaning that the ball should spin back towards you, and others argue that it shouldn’t spin at all. It’s all up to you as a player and what is most comfortable for you. Once you master juggling, you can even use it in a game!

 

Passing:

FC Barcelona's Brazilian Ronaldinho shooPassing in soccer is one thing a team cannot do without. It makes up about 50% of the game (if not more).  The best players in the world have learned and mastered many different types of passes in order to succeed in a game. To master the art of passing in a soccer game, you will first need to know what kinds of passes there are in order to practice them. Practicing different kinds of passes on your own is really important if you want to master it. 

The first thing you should know about before you start trying to master different types of passes is the V-Swing. This is a form of striking the ball in which your striking leg has a constant “V” shape throughout the motion of the kick. The motion starts with your plant foot next to the ball. Then, swing your striking leg back, making sure to exaggerate that V shape your leg should create. Depending on the type of pass you are executing, you will step through the ball one way or another and continue the V motion all the way through. This will need to be practiced and may not come naturally to some people (it took me a while to understand it), especially if you aren’t familiar with the term. 

Another thing you should know before you start trying to master different types of passing is that in every kind of pass except for one, your toe will point in the direction the ball will go when you kick it. The only exception to this rule is the outside-of-the-foot pass, where, much like the name suggests, is used with the outside of the foot. 

 

The Instep Pass:

Let’s start with one of the most common passes used in a game: The Instep Pass. This pass uses the inside part of the foot. When you are using this pass, the ball should hit the curved part of your foot on the inside part of it.

 

The Straight Pass:

The straight pass is rarely taught by coaches nowadays, especially in America, but it is a great tool to have on the field. To properly understand the straight kick, you’ll need to know what an angle kick is to be able to determine whether you have executed the pass properly. The definition of an angle kick is fairly simple-it’s whenever you swing your leg outward to kick the ball. A straight pass comes straight through the ball with a large load in the back (you should still be using your V-swing)

Corner Kicks:

Corner kicks are a common form of restarting the play after the opposite team has kicked the ball out on the same line where the back of the goal lies. Corner kicks present a big opportunity for the attacking team and a stressful assignment for the defending team. The perfect corner kick depends on your team’s game plan (who is taking the kick, where should everyone be positioned, etc).

One type of corner kick is the in-swinging corner kick. An in-swinging corner kick is a corner kick that curves in towards the goal.This type of corner kick is useful in a game because the spin on the ball places it closer to the net, making it easier to score. The downside to this is that it makes it easier for the goalie to catch. To get the effect of an in-swinging kick, your striking foot should not be matched with the appropriate corner. For example, a left footer should take the corner kicks on the right side, because the spin on the ball will carry it inward. Likewise, a right footer should take the kicks on the left side for the same reason.

Another type of corner kick is the out-swinging corner kick. An out swinging corner kick curves away from the goal and towards the top of the 18 yard box. Out-swinging corner kicks are more difficult for a goalie to catch, but the ball is pulled further from the goal.

The last type of corner kick is the short corner kick. In this corner kick, the ball isn’t played into the goal area. Instead, the ball is passed to a nearby teammate who runs up  the outside of the field to the corner flag. That player has two options: Cross the ball, or dribble into the goal until pressured.

Many teams make up code words for different plays. Other teams make up their own corner kick strategies. Don’t let this intimidate your team. Instead, encourage each of your teammates to find a player they can mark, no matter where they are when the kick is being taken, and do not lose sight of them until the kick is taken.