How to play soccer for beginners

Soccer
1. Soccer, also known as football everywhere besides the U.S., Canada and Australia, is a fun, competitive game. It is the most played sport in the world, with over 200 million players in about 200 countries. Now, it is referred to as the beautiful game because of its dazzling degrees of technical skill, team play, and individual contribution. If you re serious about playing soccer, know that you re going to have to train harder, longer, and faster than your opponents, and always have a ball on hand. (Maybe you ll sleep with a ball instead of a pillow.) So what are you waiting for? Read this article and you will learn how to play this wonderful sport. .....
Learn how to dribble
2. Dribbling is controlling the ball while running. If you want to keep the ball in your team s possession, you re going to need to dribble well. Dribbling is all about touching the ball strong enough to carry it forward, but light enough so that it stays by your side ? and away from opponents.

  • Learn to dribble at different speeds. When you re running down the sideline and you ve beaten your man, your dribbling will look a lot different from when you re taking on a defender head on.

  • When you re dribbling slower, you usually keep the ball close to your side at all times. This way a defender has to make a move to take the ball away.

  • When you re dribbling faster, you can sometimes kick the ball further away and run to the ball. This is usually if you ve already beaten your enemy. You do this because most players can run quicker off the ball than they can dribbling it.
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    Learn how to pass
    3. Passing is all about putting the ball exactly where you want it. In order to pass a soccer ball, kick the ball using the inside of your foot. This will give you less power but more accuracy. Once you master the basic pass, you can then try to slice and hook the ball in order to pass it to one of your teammates.

  • Pay attention to where your planter foot is placed. Your planter foot should be right next to the ball, your toe pointed in the direction you want the ball to travel.

  • Anticipate where a player is going to be. Because you re often going to be passing on the fly, kicking the ball to an open space where you want your teammate to be is essential. If your teammate is running, always kick the ball ahead of them so that they can run to the ball.
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    Know how to shoot
    4. If you re really close to the goal and all you need is accuracy, you can shoot using the sweet spot of the inside of your shoe, like a pass, but usually, you re going to be farther away and will need power as well as accuracy,of course.

  • Set your planter foot and aim the toe of the planter foot to where you want the shot to travel and always have a slight look at the target before you shoot.

  • You don t have to get much of a running start, but you do want to bring your foot back, bending it as you do in order to get more power.

  • Hit the ball on the middle laces of your shoe, with your foot pointed down at the ground. Keep your foot pointed down at the ground as you follow through.

  • Use your hips to swing through the ball. Bring your foot across your body if necessary to generate even more power. This should cause both feet to lift from the ground.
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    Think about moving off the ball
    5. Some estimates say that professional soccer players run 6 to 8 miles (9.7 to 12.9?km) during a 90 minute game.[1] That s a lot of running. It doesn t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot of the running you ll be doing is when you don t have the ball. Learn how to get into open space, how to run to where to your teammate expects or wants you to be, and how to run past a defender who s guarding you. .....
    Learn how to defend
    6. Defending the goal is an underrated achievement. It can be extremely difficult staying on your man or getting the ball away from your man. There are three basic things that you need to remember when guarding a player in soccer:

  • Don t be fooled by feints, tricks, or jukes: keep your eye on the ball. A good soccer player will try to juke or feint with their body in order to get past you. They re hoping that what they do with their body will distract you from what they re going to do with the ball. Don t let this happen. Keep your eyes on the ball at all times, not on the player.

  • Stay in between the ball and the goal. In other words, don t let the ball get behind you. This is harder than it sounds. It s a delicate balance keeping enough pressure on the ball and giving the person who s attacking enough space so that they don t get behind you.

  • Learn to anticipate the dribble. Right after an attacker hits the ball on the dribble ? that s the time when try to hit the ball away. This is called anticipating the dribble, and it s essential for knocking the ball from an attacking player. Just be sure not to lunge and miss; you re vulnerable when you do this!
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    Get comfortable heading the ball
    7. Try hitting the ball with your head right where your hair meets your forehead. Do not use the top of your head! When getting ready to head the ball, don t lift your head back; move your upper torso back instead. This will give you more power and won t strain your neck as much. .....
    Learn how to juggle
    8. Juggling is very hard to master but an important part of the game. Truth be told, you won t need to juggle very often in a game, but knowing how to juggle does several things:

  • It helps you control a ball that s coming at you from the air. Not all passes are on the ground. The ones that aren t will need to be intercepted and controlled by some form of juggling.

  • Juggling helps improve your touch on the ball. If you know how to juggle your touch on the ball becomes a lot more sensitive. Your first touch on the ball is extremely important in soccer.

  • Juggling will help you use both feet better. Learning how to juggle is an exercise is using your non dominant foot better. The best soccer players in the world can use both feet as dominant feet.
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    Learn how to use your non dominant foot
    9. It s really important to be able to dribble, pass, and shoot the ball with your non dominant foot. Good defenders will take away your dominant foot and force you to play with your non dominant foot. If you can t use your non dominant foot, you ll be playing with a handicap.

    Practice only using your non dominant foot during practice or when you shoot or juggle by yourself. Accustoming your body to the muscle memory is an important part of being fluent in your non dominant foot. .....
    Practice taking corner kicks and free kicks
    10. You want to be able to send corner kicks right in the middle of the penalty area, usually up in the air so that a teammate can head the ball in. Free kicks can either be taken quickly and simply passes to a nearby teammate, or you can organize a set play where you kick the ball in a certain area while your teammates execute a play. .....
    Be original and spontaneous with your playing style
    11. Try to develop your own playing style, one that suits you. Are you a tricky player who relies on juking out other players? Are you fast enough to beat everyone with sheer speed? Are you great at using your body and power to blast goals? Are you expert at keeping opponents from getting off shots? Find out what kind of player you are, set goals for yourself on how you can become a more rounded player, and remember to have fun. Soccer isn t the most popular sport in the world for no reason. .....
    Understand the object of the game
    12. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opponent scores. A goal is scored when any part of the ball passes the goal line. Goalies in their own penalty area are the only players on the pitch who can use their arms. All other players may use any part of their bodies except their hands. .....
    Know the positions of soccer
    13. There are 11 total players on the pitch to start the game. Although the positions can be rearranged however the coach sees fit, there is usually one goalie, four defenders, four midfielders, and two strikers.

  • Goalie: this person protects the net and is the only one on the field who can use their hands in the penalty area. The goalie has to be flexible, quick to anticipate, and good at communication.

  • Defenders. Defenders usually stay behind the half way line in an effort to help prevent goal from being scored against them. They make good outlet passes and are usually bigger physically than other players.

  • Midfielders. Midfielders do the most running, as they play a combination of defense and offense They usually orchestrate the attack. They re exceptionally good at holding onto the ball and passing.

  • Forwards/strikers. These are the ones who get the most cracks at shooting the ball. They need to be quick, agile, and able to shoot a stunning shot. They also need to be excellent headers.
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    Know that kickoff starts the game and the beginning of the second half
    14. One team starts the game by kicking off. The opposite team gets to kick off after halftime. At the time of kickoff, each team s players need to be entirely on their half of play. Once the whistle has blown and the ball is kicked, the players can move freely into both halves of play, provided they are not offside. .....
    Understand offside
    15. Offside is one of the more crucial rules in soccer, and it s designed to keep soccer players from cherry picking, or bunching a lot of their players near the opponent s goal at all times.

    A player is offside when s/he is:

  • Ahead of the ball, as well as

  • In the opponent s half, as well as

  • Behind the last defender when the ball is passed to him by one of his teammates


  • Offsides is negated on:

  • Throw ins

  • Corner kicks

  • Goal kicks
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    Understand throw ins
    16. Throw ins happen when the ball fully travels outside the area of play. Possession goes to the team who wasn t the last to touch it. This team gets to throw the ball in from the place where it went out of bounds.

  • A player throwing can get a running start, but must generally stop near the area where the ball went out of bounds.

  • A player must bring the ball up with both hands behind his or her head and release the ball over his head with both hands.

  • A player cannot lift his or her feet off the ground while they are throwing the ball. Both feet must stay on the ground.
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    Know the grounds for a yellow card
    17. A referee issues a yellow card as a warning to a player. Two yellow cards result in a red card, after which that player must leave the game permanently. Reasons for yellow cards include:

  • Dangerous play. High kicking near a player?s head, for example.

  • Illegal obstruction. This happens when a player intentionally takes a position between and an opponent when that player isn t within playing distance of the ball.

  • Charging the goalkeeper in the goal area.

  • Goalkeeper playing the ball with his hands when the ball is kicked by a teammate.

  • Goalkeeper Infringements. Unsafe play such as charging the goalie.

  • Goalkeeper taking more than four steps while controlling the ball.

  • Intentionally wasting time at the end of a game.
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    Know the grounds for a red card
    18. A red card can be given out before a yellow card if especially dangerous play is involved, although a red card usually results from two yellow cards. Reasons for red cards include:

  • Kicking a player intentionally.

  • Jumping up at a player and making contact.

  • Charging a player in a rough way, especially if hands are involved.

  • Charging a player from behind.

  • Tripping a player.

  • Hitting, pushing, holding, or spitting at a player.

  • Handling the ball by a non goalie.
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    Know the difference between a direct free kick and an indirect free kick
    19. A direct free kick is when you can kick the ball directly into the goal for a score without the ball touching another teammate first. An indirect free kick must be touched by another teammate before counting as a score. .....
    Know that a foul inside the penalty box results in a penalty kick
    20. A penalty kick happens when a defender fouls an opponent in his or her own penalty box. All other players except the goalie and the player taking the penalty kick line up outside the penalty area. The goalie must stand on the goal line and cannot move off of it before the ball is struck. The ball is placed on a designated area called the penalty spot. After the ball is hit, it is live, meaning that if it ricochets off the goalie or post, it can be played by either team. .....
    Know the difference between a corner kick and a goal kick
    21. If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the defending team, the ball goes to the closest goal line corner and becomes a corner kick, with possession going to the attacking team. If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the attacking team, the ball goes to the edge of the 6 yard box and becomes a goal kick, with possession going to the defending team. The goalie usually takes a goal kick. .....
    How to Pass a Soccer Ball
    22. Passing the ball means kicking it to your teammate. Along with dribbling, passing is one of the most important skills in soccer as it occurs very frequently throughout the game. By passing the ball, a team rotates the possession among its teammates.
    A pass can either be grounded or aerial. It can be short or long. Depending on the situation, different types of passes are executed. However, the short grounded pass is the one which is used most frequently as it is easy to execute and receive.

    Technique

    The most basic technique employed in passing the ball is using the inner side of the foot, as shown in the picture. The area marked by the red circle shows the surface where you should make contact with the ball while passing. This is because the large surface area of the side of the foot makes it easier to get a full contact on the ball and hence deliver the pass accurately. Accuracy is the key in passing , as a misplaced pass can give away the possession to the opponents. Also, remember to follow through. Following through means that once you have kicked the ball, let your kicking foot continue to move in the same direction for a fraction of a second. Do not just touch the ball and stop the movement of your foot. This improves the accuracy and makes for a steady pass.

    How to Practice

    You can either use a wall or any object that will rebound the ball towards you once you kick at it. You can practice this passing drill with a friend, but since this guide is focuses on individual practice, we would recommend you practice using a wall or some kind of barrier like a garage, fence, etc.

    Here is what you do
  • Kick the ball with your inner side foot (as shown above), so that the ball hits the wall and comes back to you.

  • Now with your other foot, touch the incoming ball, stop it and kick it again.

  • Repeat this process

  • Try to improve your accuracy by making sure that you do not have to move much to receive your rebounded pass.

  • Once you are comfortable using your inner side foot, try using your outer side foot to make contact with the ball.

  • As you get better, try reducing the distance between you and the wall. This would increase the difficulty level as you would get lesser time to react.


  • Important Tip : Use both your feet to practice this drill. Using your dominant foot might be easier but not utilizing your weaker foot can have negative consequences in your overall game. Always use both your feet to practice any soccer drill.

    Practice Objective

    You should continue practicing this drill till you naturally feel comfortable using both your feet to make a pass. One hint that you are comfortable doing this drill is when you are naturally able to practice without having the need to look at the ball. If you find you are able to keep your head up and make more than 10 continuous passes using both feet (in all 20 passes), then you have achieved your objective.

    Practice Duration

    A 15 minutes practice session should be sufficient. .....
    How to Dribble a Soccer Ball
    23. Dribbling is the most used skill in the game of Soccer. Without learning this skill, it is impossible to play the game. Dribbling involves lightly tapping the ball with your feet, dragging it forward or in a particular direction with every touch. This is what is referred to as ?running with the ball?.

    Technique

    Now as far as dribbling is concerned, there is no fixed technique to carry the ball. The skill of dibbling is open to a lot of creativity, and this fact makes dribbling one of the most exciting skills to learn. In its most basic form, you will use the area of the shoe which is just around the laces, slightly towards the outer side, as shown in the figure. However, other surfaces like the inner side of the area around the laces, as well as the area immediately below the laces is also used while dribbling. Remember to lock your ankle, i.e, do not keep the ankle too loose when you take a touch to move the ball forward. Also, one of the important points to remember is that your touch should not drag the ball too far from your feet.With every touch, you should try keeping the ball as close to your feet as possible.

    How to Practice

    Here is what you do

  • Either set up two cones or mark two points on a surface, which are 15 20 yards from each other.

  • Stand at one point with the ball. Start dribbling the ball with your dominant foot using the technique mentioned above, and move towards the other point.

  • When you reach the other point, dribble back to the original point by using your other foot.

  • As you get better, try to use other surfaces of your foot to knock the ball forward. Also, try to increase your speed once you are comfortable practicing at a slow speed.


  • Important Tip : When you start getting comfortable with dribbling, start keeping your head up while dribbling. Initially this may be very tough, but start doing this once a while and you would slowly get used to it. This is very important as it will help you improve your vision. However, do not get overwhelmed if you cannot achieve this in the beginning, as this is a very difficult skill to master. We will cover it in the advanced steps. The idea right now should be to incorporate this whenever you can.



    Practice Objective

    You should continue practicing this drill till you naturally feel comfortable running with the ball and using more than one surface of your foot to carry the ball forward. If you are able to dribble the ball back and forth between the two points 10 times ( in all 5 rounds), without losing control of the ball and at a decent speed, the you have achieved your objective.

    Practice Duration

    A 20 minutes practice session should be sufficient.

    Usefulness in Game Situations

    To understand the importance of correct dribbling, take a look at this Youtube video by leomessirules10 which shows the dribbling skills of Linoel Messi, who is arguably the best soccer player in the world. .....
    How to Shoot a Soccer Ball
    24. Shooting the ball means kicking it with force in a particular direction with the objective of scoring a goal. It is an essential skill not only for forwards, but for midfielders and defenders too, as there will be situations where any player, irrespective of his or her position, will be required to shoot. If you don?t shoot, your team does not score.

    Technique

    There are three parts of the foot that are used in three different types of shots:

    1. Shooting by a hard pass

    For this type of a shot, the part of the foot that is used is the same as that used for passing, that is the side foot, as shown in the figure. The only difference is that the ball is hit much harder than while passing, as the intent is to beat the goal keeper and score.

    2. Shooting by curling

    For this type of a shot, the part of the foot that is used is the inside of the foot, just below the part where the laces start.
    The correct technique involves wrapping your foot around the ball as you strike it, so that the spin on the ball makes it swerve in the air.

    3. Shooting with power

    For a powerful shot, the area of the foot that is used is called the instep. This is the area of the shoe where the laces are present. You can see the marked area in the image.The correct technique involves planting your non shooting foot to the side of the ball, about 6 to 7 inches from the ball, in the direction of the shot. As you strike the ball with the instep, make sure the knee of your striking foot is directly above the ball, and that you get a good contact with the ball. This will need practice, so make sure your initial attempts are practiced slowly till you get used to it. Also for this type of shot, make sure your body is leaning slightly forward as you hit the shot. This will make sure the shot does not drift too upward.

    How to Practice

    Here is what you do

  • Practice all the three ways of shooting. The first method of shooting by hard pass is fairly simple, hence do not spend too much time on it. The other two should be practiced by using the technique described above.

  • The key is to practice to slowly, till you get the technique right.

  • Use a wall so that the shot comes back to you every time, and hence you do not waste time in collecting balls.


  • Important Tip : The biggest mistake made by beginners is that they associate a hard shot with swinging their leg with lot of power. This is completely wrong. You should focus on getting the technique right. The power will come once you are hitting the ball correctly, with the right posture. It may take some time but it is the only way to learn proper shooting.

    Practice Objective

    You should continue practicing this drill till you are able to shoot all the three ways with power, without having to compromise on your technique. Shooting is a skill that should be practiced for a short duration, along with other drills, as developing a good shot takes time, and spending too much time just shooting can lead to groin injuries in the beginning.

    Practice Duration

    A 10 minutes practice session should be sufficient. .....
    How to Juggle a Soccer Ball
    25. Juggling the ball refers to keeping the ball in the air by bouncing it off your feet, chest, head, thighs and other parts of the body. While it may appear as a fancy skill that is used for showboating, its usefulness goes much beyond that. Learning how to juggle a soccer ball can improve your touch as well as your overall balance.

    Technique

  • While a soccer ball can be juggled using any part of the body, the primary parts used in this activity are both the feet. The area which makes contact with the ball is mostly the front part of the laces of the shoe and the area below that, as shown in the figure.
  • To juggle the ball, you should give it a back spin by kicking it upwards with the area of the shoe described above. The backspin helps in keeping the ball towards your body when it bounced off your foot, or any other part that is being used.

  • Remember to keep your toes pointed slightly upwards, and keep your legs straight.



  • How to Practice

  • First of all, remember that juggling is a skill that cannot be learned overnight. It can only come with consistent practice. Having said that, the practice routine described below is the fastest way you can learn how to juggle because it is goal oriented. Learning juggling without a goal oriented practice routine can get you frustrated very quickly. Here is what you do

  • Hold the ball, and drop it onto one of your foot (start off with your dominant foot, as it can be easier). Kick it up using the juggling technique described above. Once the ball comes up, hold the ball. Repeat the process with your weaker foot. Carry on doing this till you get feel a degree of comfort. You will feel that when the ball does not drift away from your body and you are consistently able to kick and hold every time.

  • Now is time to start COUNTING. By that what i mean is, you should repeat the step above, but this time instead of holding the ball after you hit it the first time, let it go down and try to hit it back up with your other foot, and THEN hold the ball. So instead of holding the ball after one touch, you are holding it after two touches, one from your dominant foot and the other from your weaker foot.This may take a little while to get used to, but provided you practiced the first step well enough, you should get this soon enough. NOW, once you are able to achieve this, count ?TWO? in your mind.

  • From here on, the aim it to just get better. Since you are at ?TWO?, your only aim when you are practicing the juggling drill should be to increase your count. So once you have achieved ?TWO?, your next target is to get three touches before you hold the ball. So if you start off with your right foot then a count of ?THREE? means ? drop, right foot , left foot, right foot, hold. Once you achieve that, it is obvious that your next count target will be ?FOUR?.

  • Keep practicing like this, and keep increasing the count. A good target to have is 20. But really speaking, the sky is the limit.As you get better, try to use other parts of your body, like your thighs, chest, and head.



  • Important Tip : It is a MUST to learn juggling with both feet. Learning juggling only with your dominant foot will defeat the purpose of this drill, so make sure you always practice with both your feet.

    Practice Objective

    As mentioned above, a good target to have is 20. So if you are able to make to 20 counts ( 10 from the left foot, 10 from the right), then you will start to see the benefits of this drill.

    Practice Duration

    A 20 minutes practice session should be sufficient. .....
    How to Receive or Trap a Soccer Ball Without Pressure
    26. Ok, let me tell you straight away that this step and the next one, are the MOST IMPORTANT STEPS in this guide. They lay the foundation of a good soccer player. Without learning the skill taught by these steps , everything else can fall out of place.

    Receiving or trapping the ball is a skill that separates good players from mediocre ones. Unfortunately, most beginners overlook this skill as it is not too obvious to notice in games. However, the fact is that this is the skill which comes into play the most during the game, because to do virtually anything with a soccer ball, you first have to receive it. And unless you know how to receive a soccer ball properly, every thing else will go in vain. So focus on learning the art of receiving a soccer ball very carefully.

    First, let us have a look at how to receive the ball when the opponents are not close to you, or are not pressing you.

    Technique



    The technique used in receiving the ball when there is not much pressure around you is to receive the ball in such a way that with ONE TOUCH you are FACING TOWARDS THE OPPONENT?S GOAL. The biggest mistake made my beginners is that they take two or more touches to receive the ball and face goal side, i.e., one touch to receive the ball and the other to turn around with the ball and face the goal. This is NOT CORRECT as it uses up too much time, ad by the time you turn and put your head up, your opponents would close you down and dispossess you.

    The CORRECT way is to make the motion of receiving the ball and turning into one. You receive the ball while turning. In this way, in one touch of the ball, you are facing towards your opponent?s goal and can immediately gauge the field to make a pass or take a shot.
    Now a good question you may ask is ? How do i know if there is an opponent putting pressure on me when i have my back turned towards the goal to receive a pass?
    The answer to this question is to ALWAYS KEEP LOOKING AROUND YOU, whether you have the ball or not. Even when you are receiving the ball, you should give a quick look over your shoulder to check what?s happening behind you. This will make you aware of the the situation around you and hence, improve your decision making skill.
    If you look at any professional soccer player, especially the midfielders, they are always looking over their shoulders to know what is happening around them. Remember to do this even when you are not receiving a pass. You should ALWAYS be aware of what is happening around you.

    How to Practice

    Here is what you do

  • Stand around 8 12 yards away from a wall or a some barrier capable of rebounding the ball towards you.

  • Strike the ball against it firmly so that i comes back to you.

  • Now, the moment the ball strikes the wall, give a quick glance over your shoulder, and then immediately return your focus on receiving the incoming ball. It is important that this not done too late as that will make it difficult for you to focus back on receiving the ball.

  • To receive the ball, touch the ball with your foot while turning so that with one touch of the ball , you have turned as well as received the ball, as shown in the video above. Do this slowly as it is a tough skill to develop. For even a better understanding of how this looks like,
  • check out the video posted below in ?Usefulness in Game Situations?.

  • Practice this turn and touch drill 30 40 times minimum.

  • As you get better, try and increase the difficulty level by hitting the ball harder so it comes back to you faster, and also reducing the distance between you and the wall.

    Important Tip : Practice this drill along with the one in the next step as often as you can because practicing the skill to receive the ball will develop your touch, which is THE most important thing in soccer. In fact, if you find overwhelmed by the need to check over your shoulder and learning the skill at the same time, i would suggest you t first practice receiving and turning aspect, and when you get a little comfortable doing that, you can start to look over your shoulder. But do not neglect it, as being aware of what is around you is a fundamental skill and can put you light years ahead of many soccer players.

    Practice Objective

    You should continue practicing this drill till you naturally feel comfortable with the whole process of checking over your shoulder and receiving the pass in the turning motion with one touch. There is no quantifiable way to assess this drill. Once you find you don?t have to think too much about the whole process, and find yourself receiving the ball with ease, you have achieved the objective.

    Practice Duration

    A 20 30 minutes practice session should be sufficient.

    Usefulness in Game Situations

    To understand the importance of receiving the pass on the turn and being aware of what is around you, let us analyze this Youtube video by leomessirules10 which shows a famous goal scored by the football club Arsenal in their UEFA Champions League match against FC Barcelona, back in February, 2011. The build up to this goal will demonstrate the usefulness of the need to learn the skill of receiving the ball. .....
    How to Receive or Trap a Soccer Ball With Pressure
    27. As mentioned in the previous step where we learned about receiving the ball when there is no pressure, the skill to receive or trap the ball when there is pressure is equally important to learn, as it will help you in getting out of situations where the opponents are pressing you.

    Technique

    The technique used to receive the ball when an opponent is putting pressure on you is to use a single touch to divert the incoming ball in a direction which will take you away from the opponent and create space.If you just receive the ball standing still and don?t move away from the defender, it will be easy for the defender to dispossess you. Hence, just like the previous step, checking over your shoulder to see where exactly the opponent who is pressing you is, is a must.

    How to Practice

    Here is what you do

  • Stand around 8 12 yards away from a wall or a some barrier capable of rebounding the ball towards you.

  • Strike the ball against it firmly so that i comes back to you.

  • Now, the moment the ball strikes the wall, give a quick glance over your shoulder, and then immediately return your focus on receiving the incoming ball. It is important that this not done too late as that will make it difficult for you to focus back on receiving the ball.

  • To receive the ball, run towards the incoming ball and take a touch in such a way that it pushes the ball in the same direction that it was coming from. Next time, run towards the ball and take a touch in such a way that is takes the ball towards your right hand side. To divert the ball towards the right, you can either use the inside foot of your right foot, or the outer foot of your left foot. The latter takes more practice. Similarly, take it to the left hand side the third time. Keep practicing this cycle. Do this slowly at first, as it is a tough skill to develop.

  • Practice drill 30 times. that would mean that each of three touches described above have to be practiced 10 times each.

  • As you get better, try and increase the difficulty level by hitting the ball harder so it comes back to you faster, and also increasing your speed when you run towards the incoming ball to take the touch.

    Important Tip : Apart from the three touches described above, another way is to not take any touch at all, and just let the ball run in the direction that it is coming from. This can fool the defender who would be expecting you to take a touch. However, you just the ball run and leave the defender flat footed. To do this successfully, you need to react quickly by turning the moment the ball is about to approach you, so that you have enough time to turn and get control of the ball once it has passed the defender. This is a very hard skill to do, so do not practice it till you get comfortable with the three touches described above.Another option is to simply pass it back to a open team mate using a one touch pass.

    Practice Objective

    You should continue practicing this drill till you are able to comfortably take a touch while running towards the ball at a decent speed , and change the direction of the ball without losing control

  • .

    Practice Duration

    A 20 minutes practice session should be sufficient.

    Usefulness in Game Situations

    To understand the importance of receiving a soccer ball when there is pressure around you, take a look at this Youtube video by prodirectsoccer which shows the effectiveness of developing a great first touch when receiving the ball. .....
    How to Chip a Soccer Ball and Make a Long Pass
    28. Have you watched soccer professionals on television making 60 yard passes with ease and wondered ?how to kick a soccer ball far ??. Well you are not alone. The first thing you have to understand is that they are NOT KICKING WITH TOO MUCH POWER. It is all about TECHNIQUE. These passes are possible when you learn how to chip a soccer ball. Though usually chipping is associated with one on one finishing moves, the technique in chipping a ball has many other uses, like being able to kick the ball far and high without putting in much effort.

    Technique

    as far as chipping a soccer ball is concerned, the technique is to use the front part of the inside of the foot (as shown in the picture) in a ?digging? motion to make contact with the bottom most part of the ball. To achieve this, tilt your foot backwards so that when it hits the ball, it should resemble a wedge which is able to slide as under the ball as possible. This has to be done because the aim is to get the ball to gain some height as it goes forward. The other essentials like the placement of your non striking foot and the bend on the knee all fall into place once you practice the above mentioned technique.

    How to Practice

    Here is what you do

    1 Now before you start, i would really advise you to wear proper soccer shoes, especially if you are practicing on a hard surface like cement or fibre. Normal shoes are usually thick from the front and hence it is tough to get under the ball to chip it. The best shoe i can recommend you to wear while learning how to chip is the NIKE MERCURIAL VICTORY III INDOOR SOCCER SHOE. It?s the best fitting shoe that is out there and hence it makes it easy to get under the ball. If you are practicing outdoors, then also this shoe serves the purpose very well. You will progress much faster if you use proper soccer shoes to practice the art of chipping.

    2 Now let?s get started. First of all, find some open space. Now the first thing you have to keep in mind while practicing this is that you have to set goals. Do not think you can chip a 60 yard pass like Paul Scholes in two to three days. It takes lot of practice, but is easily achievable once you have a set target in your mind.

    3 Before you set your first target, you have to get your contact technique spot on. This initial phase is the toughest and will leave you very frustrated, as you will always get tempted to achieve the target just by kicking the ball harder and compromising your technique. DO NOT make this mistake, as this will only make your progress slower. The fastest way to learn the right technique is to use it on ball which is rolling towards you. This can be done using a rebound off a wall or asking one of your friends to pass the ball to you. A rolling ball is easy to chip as it comes on your foot easily, making it easy to get your foot underneath it. Practice this again and again till you are comfortable with the technique of chipping.

    4.Now it is time to set targets. Your first target should be around 15 20 yards. Using the chipping technique that you have learned, your only aim should be to chip the ball to this distance, not more. DO NOT do anything else until you achieve this distance, and with the right technique. DO NOT get tempted to kick the ball hard just to achieve the target as that would defeat the purpose. You aim should be to achieve your target by using the correct technique and least power and effort.

    5.Once you achieve that, increase the target distance by 10 yards. And then work on achieving that.

    6.A good target to have is a distance of around 45 50 yards.

    Important Tip : When you are practicing these chip shots, it is advisable to roll the ball slightly to the side before chipping. This is because in game situations, more often than not, you would be required to chip the ball when it is moving, and not stationary. So practicing this can pay dividends when you are out there playing a game.

    Practice Objective

    You should practice this drill till you get your chipping technique correct and find yourself able to make at least a 30 yard chipped pass with ease.

    Practice Duration

    A 20 minutes practice session should be sufficient.

    Usefulness in Game Situations

    To understand the importance of a chipped shot, take a look at this Youtube video by TheMasterMU1000 which shows Ryan Giggs and David Beckham executing perfect long passes to reach the opponent?s penalty area in a matter of seconds. .....
    How to Improve Your Vision in Soccer
    29. Having a great vision is a must if your really want to get very good at soccer. Possessing this ability makes it possible for you to spot teammates and opportunities that mediocre players are unaware of. It lets you make intelligent decisions regarding what to do when you have the ball and when you don?t have it too. Once you know what is happening around you, the decisions like when to pass a ball, to whom to pass it to and positioning yourself when you don;t have the ball, all start coming naturally to you.

    Technique

    There are two techniques that can really help you develop your vision :

    1. Keeping Your Head Up It is really vital that you start learning the habit of keeping your head up straight away. This is not an easy skill to learn as when we start learning soccer, the natural tendency is to always the watch the ball when we are dribbling, so as to not lose the control. But it is a must to learn to keep your head up if you want to improve your vision. The ?How to Practice? section below will describe how you can incorporate this skill in your game.

    2.The Quick Look Technique ? This technique is one that is really essential in not only increasing your vision, but also to make your game much quicker. This involves using quick glances to get see what is around you ALL THE TIME, especially when you do not have the ball. The quick look makes it possible for you to know what to do with the ball BEFORE YOU RECEIVE IT, since you know the position of your teammates and opponents. The trick is to keeping checking around you all the time, even during set pieces.

    How to Practice

    Here is what you do

    1. The key to practicing the ?Head up? technique is to SLOWLY incorporate it into all your other practice drills that have been discussed in the Basic and Intermediate sections. So if you are practicing dribbling, start developing the habit of lifting your head up and not looking at the ball. Look up for a second and then look at the ball again. Keep doing this till you can increase the time for which you are able to keep control of the ball when your head is up. This takes time, so make sure you are really patient.

    2. To practice the ?Quick Look Technique?, all you have to remember is that the only way you can develop is by just making it a habit, no matter what you are practicing. So if you are doing a drill, make it a habit to frequently look around you. Suppose you are practicing receiving a soccer ball, or learning how to juggle, just have a quick glance around you whenever you get the chance. Initially it may feel awkward to do this, and you may fear a person observing you mistaking you for a lunatic. But you can keep yourself motivated by telling yourself that this will put your games light years ahead of mediocre players.

    Important Tip : Do not over practice both these techniques if you are still a beginner. Do incorporate them but make sure you are not overdoing it. This is because unless you are comfortable with the basics of dribbling and receiving a pass, these drills will be even harder. So use them, but increase their frequency once you know are very comfortable doing the basic drills. In fact, you will find that these techniques start coming to you naturally once you gain more control of the ball.

    Practice Objective

    Keep practicing these drills till you are able to naturally look around you and not lose control of the ball.

    Usefulness in Game Situations

    To understand the usefulness of improving your vision, be sure to check out Xavi Hernandez?s game. His ability to keep his head up all the time and his awareness of what is around him, is probably unparallelled in the world of soccer. This enables him to spot the runs of his teammates with consummate ease, and also makes his overall game very intelligent and efficient. .....
    How to Beat a Defender Using Skills and Fakes
    30. A lot of times you will find yourself in situations where you are one on one with a defender or even more than one defender. More often than not it is always best to pass to an open teammate as that is your best bet to keep possession. But overdoing this is not correct. Sometimes it is better for the team if you are selfish and take it upon yourself to beat the defender. But this requires you to develop skills that use quick movement of feet, good control of the ball and deception (fakes), in order to get past the defender with ease.

    Technique

    There are three main moves that can really help you to beat defenders :

    1. The Step Over

    The step over is one of the most popular dribbling moves in soccer. It involves using your foot to go over the ball (which is in motion) in either direction, with your shoulder dropping slightly towards that direction too. Once your foot comes back on the ground, move the ball in the opposite direction with your other foot. The aim is to send the defender in the wrong direction, by making him believe that you would go in the direction of the foot which goes over the ball initially. Once you get good at this, you can start to do multiple step overs. One mistake many beginners make is that they try and do step overs when the ball is moving very fast. This is not correct. The moment when you do a step over, make sure the ball is at a relatively slow speed. Once the defender has bought the fake, it is then you should explode with pace. Here is a Youtube video by STRskillSchool that shows how to do the step over.

    2.The Feint Shot

    This move refers to using a the action of shooting to deceive the defender. This involves dribbling the ball towards the defender, then swinging back your foot as if you are about to take a shot, but instead moving the ball in the direction of open space. The idea is to make the defender believe that you are about to take a shot, so that his or her natural reaction of looking away or protecting themselves, gives you enough time to steer the ball in another direction. This can be used to beat a defender to create space for taking a shot, to fake a cross which allows you to go in a more advanced area to give the actual cross, or even to get out of tight situations. Here is a Youtube video by AllianzFFL that shows how to perform a feint shot

    3.The Drag Back

    This is one of the most underrated moves in soccer. This move involves faking a shot, and then dragging the ball back in the direction which is opposite to the direction in which the fake shot was made, and then finally knocking the ball forward with the side foot once the defender has moved in the opposite direction.Here is a Youtube video by ThreeHillsTrading that shows how to do the drag back move.

    How to Practice

    Though you can practice all these moves as separate drills, I would really recommend you an easier way which will not only save time, but make sure that these skills come naturally to you. And that way is to simply incorporate these moves whenever you are practicing dribbling. That is it. It is that simple. There is no need for you to design a complex schedule just to accomodate these drills. just do them while dribbling. Of course remember to go slowly at first, and then gradually increase the speed and frequency once you start getting comfortable. When you are practicing alone, you can use objects like small vehicles, pillars, flower pots, etc as defenders, and try to get past them using the three moves described above.

    Important Tip : I cannot stress enough that you have to be patient. These skills are in the advanced section because even though you might be able to do them in practice, you will find that using them in game situations is not as easy as you thought it would be. But do not despair. The key is to practice these whenever you practice dribbling. Even in actual games, limit the use of these till you get really good at doing them, because unless they are performed correctly these moves usually result in loss of possession. But once you master them, you will have the ability to beat defenders like they are not there.

    Practice Objective

    Keep practicing these drills till you are able to do these three moves flawlessly and at a decent speed. Developing the quickness of your footwork in executing these moves is important, so that before the defender is able to recover, you are already past him or her. .....
    Taking Your Game to the Next Level
    31. Now that you have gone through the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Steps in learning how to play soccer, I hope you would have gained the understanding of the fundamentals of the best sport in the world, as well as learned the techniques of various important moves . But most importantly, I hope you would have been inspired to start developing a plan on how to approach this game with even more determination and sincerity, because just like anything else in life , LEARNING DOES NOT STOP IN SOCCER. .....
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