I’ve dreamed of becoming a great soccer player since I was a kid.
I wanted to beat 4 players at a time, score tons of goals, and make brilliant passes.
I was determined to become a professional player.
Do you have similar goals?
If so, you’ve found the right article. This guide will cover everything you need to know to become great at soccer.
The Myth of Natural Talent
Most soccer players want to become great, but they don’t believe they can become great.
You don’t need exceptional natural talent to become great at soccer.
The truth is, people use “I need natural talent” as an excuse to justify laziness. They don’t want to put in the hard work and long hours required so they give up before they begin.
To further clarify the point – how you train is more important than talent – lets look at how professional players become great:
How Professional Players Become Great
Professional players started as beginners.
Messi wasn’t born with the ability to weave in and out of defenders with ease. Ronaldo didn’t exit the womb with the ability to blast a ball past a goalkeeper.
Pro players started as amateurs who could barely control the ball – just like you and me. They developed their skills by practicing efficiently for tens of thousands of hours.
Notice the emphasis on “practicing efficiently.” Future professional players don’t just kick the ball around during their training sessions. They attend elite soccer academies at a young age where every training session is planned intelligently.
In addition, they work with the top coaches in the world. These coaches teach them the perfect technique for each skill and ensure that every training session is as productive as possible.
The United States lags behind European countries because they don’t have soccer academies. United States players are athletic and work hard, but they don’t train as efficiently as other countries. In other words, U.S. players don’t learn how to perform skills properly and practices are often unfocused and poorly planned.
I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t have access to top coaches and academies. Does this mean I can’t become great?”
No. You can become a great player without access to these resources. You need to do three things:
- Train efficiently
- Train consistently
- Play against good competition
My friend and longtime training partner (who contributes to this website) didn’t have much money or resources, but he used these three concepts to become a great player who plays soccer professionally.
I see it all the time.
Players are dedicated to improving so they put in hours of training.
They quickly become frustrated because they improve slowly. They quit due to mediocre results.
I wasted tons of time training without a plan. I would train for long hours but this “training” consisted of messing around. I would shoot a few times, do some moves, juggle, etc.
My training wasn’t focused, and it wasn’t efficient. I became a little better, but I quickly reached a plateau. I knew that I needed to improve my training if I wanted to become great at soccer.
I improved rapidly after I learned how to train efficiently. Coaches and teammates were stunned by how much better I became in a short time.
Players often think they need to train for long hours in order to become great.
While you need to put in a lot of hours, it’s important to note that the efficiency of your training is more important than the quantity of hours that you spend per session.
Here’s how to train efficiently:
Ask yourself “what skill(s) do I want to work on today?”
Be as specific as possible.
For example, instead of saying, I want to improve my shot, say “I want to improve my chip shot.” Or instead of saying “I want to improve ball control” say “I want to improve my outside of the foot touch.”
Determine how much time you spend training.
Start small (train for 20 minutes) than slowly increase the time you spend training.
You will reach a point during your training session when your focus starts to decrease and your technique becomes sloppy. Stop training when you reach this point, and record the length of your training session (use a timer or smartphone). This is your maximum training time.
Your maximum training time will increase over time as you build endurance.
Do not exceed your maximum training time. You will create bad habits (due to poor technique from fatigue) and can experience burnout (covered later).
Remember: It’s better to train for less time with intense focus than for more time with poor focus.
Break your training session into sections
Plan how much time to spend on each skill you want to work on. For instance, a training session could be 50 minutes focusing on straight kick technique, 20 minutes juggling, and 30 minutes doing ball control drills.
Set a timer and switch to the new skill when it goes off.
Working on one skill the whole session is ideal, but repeating the same thing over and over can grow tedious (and lead to burnout).
Focus on multiple skills every training session to keep things fresh and fun.
Learn and implement proper technique
The Complete Soccer Guide will help you learn proper technique. Read the article on the appropriate skill before you start training. Implement the knowledge.
Read articles before every training session to reinforce the proper technique for each skill.
Focus on technique and correct your mistakes. This process can be frustrating, but it’s vital to your development as a player.
Practice the skill repeatedly. Tweak your technique until you master it.
Film you training. Watching the footage can help you find and correct errors in your technique.
Use soccer drills to develop your skills.
You become great at soccer by training consistently. Training 5 days a week for 20 minutes each is better than training for 3 hours for one day a week.
Training consistently is tough. Your brain will urge you to take the day off. Remind yourself of the benefits of your training when you lack motivation.
The first three weeks of training will be hard, but training will become a habit in about a month. After training for awhile you will face less resistance and enjoy your sessions more.
Play Against Good Competition
There’s an old saying that goes “if you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.” The same is true for soccer. If you’re the best player on the pitch, find better competition.
Play against the best competition possible. Good competition will force you to improve. You will learn to make decisions faster.
Choose the best club or team that you can. You will improve quickly.
Note: Good competition is ideal, but playing with inferior players has value. You can experiment without being under a ton of pressure.
For instance, imagine that you lack confidence in your ability to perform the “Maradona” soccer move. It’s easier to use the move against less skilled players. You can practice against inferior players, improve your skill with the move, than gain enough confidence to use it against strong competition.
How to Avoid Burnout
You feel “burnout” when you hate training and sessions become tedious.
Give yourself a break from efficient training occasionally to avoid burnout (prevention is better than a cure). Mess around and have fun.
Less efficient training is still valuable. You improve every-time you touch a soccer ball. Messi famously dribbled his soccer ball everywhere he went, even in his house.
If you feel yourself getting burned out, take a few days off. Reduce the amount of time that you spend training when you return.
While training is sometimes hard and monotonous, it should be fun overall. If it becomes a chore, reduce the time you spend training, and do fun activities such as playing pick-up games or learning new juggling tricks.
If you insist on training for long hours (be careful) do 2 training sessions a day. A 3 hour session in the morning and a 3 hour session in the evening is far superior to one 6 hour session.
You will become a great player if you follow all three of these guidelines for years.
If you want to improve your ability fast, we highly recommend Epic Soccer Training. The website was created by a MVP pro player. It has tons of videos explaining proper technique for soccer skills.
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