Soccer players need, apart from the passion for the sport, a bunch of skills to play soccer like a pro. One particular set of skills is a must-have for every self respecting soccer player out there and which should probably be developed first.

So the basic skills are:

  • Defence (otherwise known as ball-stealing skills)
  • Attacking (take-on skills)
  • Receiving and shielding (ball-holding skills).

Ball-Holding

Ball-holding skills are arguably most important as they determine the player’s ability to hold onto the ball under pressure, which in turn affords the player time to make the best decision in the given circumstances, including finding a teammate to pass the ball to.  

So what are those ball holding skills? Yes, as per above, they comprise of two steps:

  • Receiving – the ability to bring the ball under control quickly. Without it, there is no hope shielding it!
  • Shielding – protecting the ball with the use of your body when manoeuvring between the opponent, ie. stepping over the ball or rolling/pulling the ball back behind you or to your side. The latter requires some practice as a player needs to learn to use both his/her feet.

After ball holding skills come dribbling skills. The key here is to start with the basics rather than fancy moves that were perfected by the professional stars. So there are three moves that together create the standard, straight-ahead dribbling technique  here are the check, the simple cut/explosion (done with the outside of the dribble foot), and the chop (cut with the inside of the foot). If the players master these three moves, they’re all set to move to the “fancy” level of dribbling.

Defence

Here we start with simple delaying tactics that depend on good footwork to get in the attacker’s way. It’s all about time for the defender, and speed for the attacker. That’s why a defender’s job is to delay and delay while waiting for the teammates to come to the rescue. Then it’s time to steal the ball!

Ball-Stealing

Ball stealing involves the standing tackle followed by the shoulder charge.

Next Steps

Once the basic skills are mastered, it’s time to work on passing and kicking techniques!

Everyone will make mistakes along the way, but at the end of the day, it is all about teamwork, enjoying the game and boosting each of the players’ confidence. Then the skills will come! And once these basic skills are mastered, they have a chance to become some of the best players on the field in a few years.

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Judith
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Chris, son’s 7th birthday
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