How to Use Your Arms in Soccer

Many players are never taught to use their arms. Learn to use them to get an edge over other players.

Using your arms is an easy skill to learn and it will noticeably improve your game.

This article provides a few benefits of using your arms in soccer and tips on learning the skill.

3 Benefits of Using Your Arms in Soccer

1.  Improves technique

Your arms improve your balance and momentum.

Balance is important for every aspect of soccer. Good balance makes you harder to knock down, makes dribbling and other skills easier to perform, and improves your speed and agility.

Keeping balance is important for defenders. Many coaches tell attackers to “Make a defender off balance so you can beat him.” Using your arms to stabilize yourself will improve your defending.

Momentum improves your kicking technique. When you use your arms properly you will build more momentum when kicking. Momentum will increase the power of your kick.

2.  Help keep defenders away

Use your arms to prevent defenders from getting close to the ball.

Use your arms while shielding and dribbling the ball to make defender’s jobs tougher.

3. Look professional

People think you are a better player when you look good. Using your arms looks smooth and athletic.

Always look professional. Professionalism increases your chances of making a soccer team or getting noticed by scouts.

4 Tips on How to Use Your Arms in Soccer

1. Never fully extend your arms

You will get penalized when you fully extend your arms (like doing a stiff arm in American football).

To avoid getting penalized, raise and drop your arms repeatedly. Referees won’t call a penalty if you put your arm out then drop it quickly (within a few seconds).

Raise your arm to create space, drop it, then repeat.

2. Keep your arms low

Always keep your arms low (except when kicking the ball). Your arms should touch a player’s hip or stomach, never his chest.

You will get penalized if you lift your arms high and touch another player.

3. Use your arm to delay defenders

You should use your arms every time you beat another player.

When you move past them move an arm back and give the defender a slight push (or brush his arm away).

This will delay defenders from turning and coming after you for a couple seconds.

4. Make using your arms a habit

Using your arms isn’t hard after you make it a habit.

Make using your arms your focus for the next month. Think about using your arms every practice and training session.

After a month using your arms will become second nature. In other words, you will use them without thinking.

13 thoughts on “How to Use Your Arms in Soccer”

  1. What you are encouraging is cheating. Using arms as you suggest is ruining the game. It also leads to aggression as the player who is disadvantaged by this continual pushing and is getting no justice from the ref takes the law into his own hands. The skilful player who is trying to play without pushing is denied goal scoring chances by getting nudged wide of his direction to goal. Only the shoulder to shoulder is legal.

    • You are so totally wrong.
      I read his article and he is right .
      Arms are critically important to use.
      You probably coach house league .

      • Registered just to down vote you. The use of your arms and good balance are important. Shielding is a basic skill but encouraging players (especially young ones) to give little pushes and to “push the envelope” is what it is….. a pain for coaches, players and officials at all levels below professional football.
        You’ll be telling players that simulation and shirt pulling as long as you get away with it is OK next………..these are all ruining the game.
        And before you start my close family had an England international, a Second Division pro, and two English League reserve players that taught us well and were good sports, with of course the odd “trick” when the going got tough, but they wouldn’t encourage us to have pushed things even this far and hated the niggle that has come into the game.

        • He said officials won’t call these, not deceiving. If you watch soccer on TV, players straighten their arms and don’t drop them, and refs won’t call these. If you don’t like any physical contact then pick a sport like curling.

          • If you don’t like being mugged don’t walk the streets. If you don’t like bing robbed, own nothing. It is a bit of a naff argument.

            Alas the letter of the rules and accepted practice have diverged.

  2. Totally agree with Jimmy Johnston. What you suggest here IS cheating and should NOT be coached. The rules allow physicality…by using your shoulder to shoulder. No player shielding the ball from another is allowed to use the arms or any other part of the body for other than maintaining balance.

  3. Using your body is fine. Using your arms is not a part of soccer. Pulling and pushing and straight arm fend offs are all considered free kicks.

    If you grab or push someone off balance, is a result of your own lack of skill and you have to result to cheating to have an edge in the game. You then injure decent players who read the rules correctly and know how to actually play and respect the game.

    Then the whole game falls apart when all players have to result to this stupidity causing injuries because some people can’t admit that they can’t play.

    Using your body is a true skill and only graceful players know how and brutes make excuses that its a contact sport when its not.

    Its a game of skill and respecting the player on the ball.

  4. Using Your Arms is totally fine i really don’t have a well built body but football is meant to physical and that’s whats fun about it, its all about rising up to the challenge.

  5. LOL, Is Soccer a contact sport or not, is the question to you all? Skill, physicality, speed, hands, arms, bumping, and competing are things that happen in soccer sometimes even shooting.

    So the question is have you ever, in your life, exceeded the speed limit, I mean ever? If you did you were breaking the law and are not a good example to everyone on the earth as a driver. Did your parents speed or your friends, most of the time you get away with it. Very few times are you ever caught unless you are really tearing it up. Then you get noticed and get to meet a police officer hopefully for the first time maybe not.

    So is some physicality acceptable if not excessive? I coach very competitive teams and high school level players as well. Watching the elite players go up against the high school players is very interesting. The level of physical play is very perplexing to the elite players and they need to make big adjustments to be successful. Sometimes they are successful with skill but when the bulk of their team is not at their level, success is limited.

    There are situations that warrant tougher play and higher levels of contact. If you never expose your players to contact and if they advance to possibly a collegiate level you are serving them to the sharks. There is plenty of contact at that level and they will be eaten up because you were sitting pretty high in your ivory tower. Do what you teach your players be aware of your environment and have your head on a swivel. Adapt to your environment

  6. You can use your arms for balance and shielding but no higher then the waist i was always blown up if my arm was straight across the chest or grabbed a shirt i played inthe 70s where tackles were thigh high
    And bloody hard that never phased me but someone grabbing my shirt or arm across my chest really annoyed me if they got away with it…nowadays you can put your arms around someone in the box …nothing therecare loads of stuff that you can do in tge box but if you do it outside you get afoul against…2types of rules ????


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