You’re here because you love soccer. So are we. Just when you thought you could escape to your coach, you showed up here and you’re about to get coached. Relax, we wouldn’t assign sprints via blog post, so you’re safe.
More than 25 million kids around the world play soccer every year, but a lot of those kids get rusty in the offseason. The best players are always playing in some sense, when on the pitch or not. Keeping your skills sharpest is all about maintaining the game whether you’re playing it or not. We’ve got some tips to just that.
Wear your boots
When you watch soccer, both international soccer and club, it’s pretty clear that conditioning is important. In professional soccer tournaments, they can run upwards of four miles (and beyond). When you’re doing your cardio training, wear your soccer boots. Not on the pavement, but on grass. Preferably with familiar pitches to what you’ll be playing on. The more used to your boots and terrain your body is, the more comfortable you’ll be keeping pace at match time. Your boots are an extension of your body.
That running you’re doing with your boots on? Do it with a ball. Sure, running without a ball is great for conditioning your body, but you’ll be near useless if you can’t run whilst dribbling. Working on your touch while running is important for grinding ball control into your movements. Jog, sprint, change pace, change directions, but do it all with a ball at your feet and you’ll find your control will improve along with your running. Two birds, one stone.
Play something that’s not soccer
In order to truly love soccer, you have to play something that’s not soccer. Does that sound contradictory? It’s not. When you only play one sport, you train your mind to see one sport. If you focus on a main sport — soccer, in this case — but play others, your mind will see the pitch differently. Different sports allow different patterns of thought to be applied to the game of soccer. Brilliant on-pitch strategy is born from extraordinary thinking and extraordinary thinking doesn’t come from a one-track mind. Be strange, play something else, apply what you learn to soccer, and see what happens.
Those are just a few examples of how you can improve your game all the time. Play it, watch it, live it.