Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, every soccer player wants to improve. The tips and tricks in this article will help you in whatever position you play for your team.
Maybe you’re a striker looking to score more goals, a midfielder wanting to operate more efficiently, a defender hoping to improve your positioning, or a goalie hoping to protect the goal area more effectively.
These tips will help you.
I’ve put together this list of the 21 best soccer tips to help you increase your soccer skills and see your abilities and gameplay improve as quickly as possible.
These tips will help you become the best soccer player you can be if you apply them. To be the best in soccer, you have to work hard, but the rewards can be great.
So take your time to go over these tips and watch as you quickly get better at soccer.
1. Take Lots of Touches of the Ball
The single most important thing you can do to improve your soccer skills is to be in contact with a soccer ball as often as possible.
Each time you touch the ball, you get a little bit better and more comfortable with how the ball feels, how hard to kick it, and how the ball responds to your touch. The more comfortable you become with the ball at your feet, the more natural it will feel once you’re on the soccer field.
Instead of focussing so much on the ball every time you have it in your possession, you will be able to look up and around you and be able to think ahead.
There’s even a school of thought that says you should touch the ball 10,000 times every day to dramatically improve your technical soccer skills.
Give it a try and see how quickly you notice an improvement.
2. Practice Every Day
To become a good soccer player, you need to practice every day.
In an ideal situation, you would be able to spend an hour or two every day working on your soccer tricks, tactics, and skills. Get outside and work on some drills and skills.
Find out how a pro soccer player trains in this article I recently wrote.
But even if you don’t have that time to spare, do something each day that keeps you moving forward. Maybe that could just be dribbling a ball around the house as you walk around or spending 5 minutes working on your heading skills.
Whatever your day is like, find the time to practice, and you will reap the rewards sooner.
If you need some direction on what to do, check out these two articles I’ve put together to help:
- Check out my post on the 10 Best Soccer Drills for Beginners
- or go to my post on 10 Easy Soccer Tricks and Skills
3. Work on the Basics
Whether you are a beginner at soccer or a pro, it pays off to work on the basics regularly.
Check out this video below of pro soccer player Matt Sheldon taking you through an individual training session. Notice how so much of what he is doing is working on the basics.
The basics skills in soccer are the foundation of everything else. If you can do the basics of soccer well, it gives you the freedom to work on those skills that are a little harder.
Some basic skills to work on are:
- Passing the ball
- stopping the ball
- positioning and movement
4. Optimize Your Training
You will get the most out of your training if you optimize what you do.
This is one reason why I recommend getting hold of a dedicated soccer training course such as The Ultimate Soccer Guide from Udemy.com. This course contains over 8 hours of training. It has over 200 hundred positive reviews from people who have completed the course and seen the difference it can make. (Click here to check it out)
Take the time to work out what is most effective in your training regime. Along with following either a course or what a coach has set for you to do, ask for tips from other players and coaches around you.
5. Use the Best Equipment
The next tip I would give is to use the best equipment you can get your hands on.
Although there are times when you just have to use what is available, the higher the quality of equipment you can use, the better the outcomes of your actions on the soccer field will be.
Better soccer cleats give you much more control and accuracy with the ball. A higher-quality soccer ball moves much more efficiently and accurately through the air, and better shin guards protect your leg more effectively than low-quality ones.
There are many different options for soccer equipment out there, so take the time to look around and figure out what you want but to try and help, I’ve created a Recommended soccer equipment page that you can get to by clicking here.
On that page, I’ve listed a range of soccer equipment that I think is great and you should consider having a look at.
6. Focus on Your First Touch
Your first touch as a soccer player is probably one of the most important skills to work on. If you want to understand in detail what first touch is in soccer and why it’s so important, check out my article all about it here.
What is important to realize about it, though, is that your first touch of the ball directly affects what happens next, whether good or bad.
A great first touch of the ball will set you up to move forward effectively and confidently. In contrast, a poor first touch of the ball will slow you down and increase your chances of being tackled before you have the opportunity to do anything useful with the ball.
Regularly take time to work on your first touch, and you will become a better and more confident soccer player.
This course would be a great place to start to improve your first touch. It provides a dedicated training course showing you exactly what you need to do to improve and will help you be the best player you can be.
7. Want the Soccer Ball
Another critical skill to being a great soccer player is maintaining a desire to be in possession of the soccer ball.
This is important as research has shown that the team in possession of the ball for the longest during a game has a much higher chance of winning the game. [source]
Throughout a game, there will be many opportunities where the ball is between two players, and it will be 50-50 over, which player will get to the ball first. This is where the player with the stronger desire for the ball will often win the battle to gain possession of the ball.
This applies especially to defenders. One of the roles of a defender is to keep the ball away from the opposition players. If the defender wants the ball more than the player they are up against, the chances are that they will give all they can to get it.
This will increase the chances of the ball staying in possession of their own team.
8. Stay in Peak Condition
A key part of your training should be dedicated to working on your fitness. But to be the best you can be and reach your potential you should work on your fitness and maintaining peak condition both within and outside of training sessions.
The training sessions you attend and that your coach will run through with you are incredibly important, but my tip for taking it one step further is to spend time outside of training sessions working on your fitness as well.
This can include going for a run, working in the gym, swimming, or even playing another sport. Do something extra that pushes you to be the best you can be.
If you are unsure where to start I would recommend getting hold of the Aaptiv workout app. They provide thousands of different training programs and fitness classes that you can quickly fit in whenever you have a gap in your day. They even offer a free trial so you can give it a try and see what you think. Click here to go straight to their website and have a look yourself.
9. Work Hard Both on the Field and off It
My next tip would be to commit to working hard both on the soccer field and off of it.
Many players turn up to the game or training, work hard for an hour or two and then do nothing else for the rest of the week. Because of this, they see very little progress in their skills or abilities and stay at the same level they are at.
To see a rapid improvement in your game take the time outside of game time to work on your skills and fitness. The easiest way to do this is to set up your backyard, or field near you, to allow you to easily practice.
Get hold of some goalposts and a net such as this portable one from soccer.com and set it up in your back yard and practice your shooting. Or get hold of a rebounder such as this one from Amazon and work on your passing and receiving skills.
This extra work will push you to the next level.
10. Push Yourself
Being prepared to push yourself is incredibly important as well.
It can be easy to sit back and simply coast along at the level you are at for a long time if you want to. But eventually, you will find yourself wanting more. There’s also very little more satisfying than knowing you have worked hard towards something and then see all that hard work pay off.
Everytime you go out to train or play a game prepare yourself to give all you can give. Tell yourself that you will work that little bit harder today, or train a little bit longer than before. All that extra effort will begin to have a positive effect before you know it.
11. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
It’s also important to strike a balance between pushing yourself and knowing when to stop or take a break.
As you train and play you will begin to see where the balance between the two is for you. There is no set point where someone can say a player has pushed themself too hard. It is different for each person. What is easy for one player may be too much for you right now and that is ok. That player was also once at the point you are at now.
Learn to listen to your body and accept when you need a break or a rest. Rest time is actually essential for muscle growth so don’t downplay its importance! [source]
12. Set Specific Goals
Setting specific achievable goals in your development is really important as well. Goals not only help you to focus on what you are aiming for, but they can keep you moving forward to see those goals realized. [source]
There are a number of options that your goals could be. Maybe it’s to pass more accurately. Maybe it’s to score more consistently or maybe it’s to be more confident at heading the ball.
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, take the time to sit down, work out what you want it is, break those areas down, and set specific goals to aim for to help you achieve your soccer goals.
13. Find People Who Will Be Supportive and Encouraging
A great tip for any soccer player is to find someone who will support and encourage you.
No matter who we are we all need to hear something encouraging at times. These words of support are often what can keep us from giving up when it gets hard or stop us from no longer believing in ourselves.
If you already have some like that in your life, that’s great! Lean into them and make the most of that relationship. If you don’t then take the time to look at the people around you. Maybe a coach, friend, or parent? Could they perform that role?
Don’t be afraid to ask someone to do this. Most people would happily do this, they just don’t know you are looking for it unless you ask.
14. Listen to Your Coach
One person it is always important to listen to is your coach. They are there to help you and the team. They spend their week thinking about how each player can improve, how the team can perform better, and working on achieving this.
The coach is often far more qualified than most players when it comes to coaching as well. Although many people like to say what they think, most coaches have the experience to back up their ideas and actions.
Listen to what your coach has to say. Take the time to ask questions if you don’t understand and take on board what they have to say. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach what extra advice they have for you as well. Most coaches would be more than happy to spend time with you to help you improve.
15. Get Feedback
Another important tip for any soccer player is to get feedback from those you trust.
This is another area where your coach could be very important and helpful, but doesn’t have to be limited to just your coach. Any person in your life whose opinion you trust and who is not afraid to give you an honest opinion in a supportive way can fulfill this role.
Feedback about what we are doing well and feedback about how we can improve can be incredibly useful as a soccer player. It can show us what areas to work on and encourage us in the areas we are improving in.
If heard it said that everyone should “chose their critics”. What this means is that you should be careful about whose criticism you listen to. Many people will happily offer you criticism if you let them but that is often not helpful.
What is helpful is to receive feedback, including constructive criticism, from people who know what they are talking about and who are prepared to support you in moving forward.
16. Don’t Give Up
Some days will feel better than others and some days you may feel like giving up. My advice is don’t!
Soccer can be hard at times. You don’t always win the game you want to and you don’t always improve at the speed you wish you could. If you can accept that right now, it won’t be such a shock when you reach that point of wanting to quit.
In these moments is where our true character lies. If you can face these days, but still get up and work on the drills you need to, or still step out onto the soccer field again, it will make it that little bit easier next time. You know it can’t hold you back.
Thinking long term can help here. Although you will have those days where you see a sudden jump in what you can do, most days will just be a gradual increase in your abilities that is hardly detectable over a 24 hour period. Where you really see the difference is over the long run. Focus on long term goals.
17. Stay Positive
Staying positive and maintaining a positive mentality is will also help you keep going, develop as a soccer player, and enjoy the game more.
If you are struggling to stay positive about how you are doing with your soccer skills, or just want to maintain a positive attitude then maybe focus on doing some of these things:
- Focus on one thing that you know you do well. Maybe it’s a specific soccer skill, or your ability to communicate well with the rest of the team. Focus on that for a period of time and enjoy your skills in this area.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise has been often shown to increase our positive outlook on life. If your struggling to think positively about your game, maybe take the time to go for a run or swim.
- Think about something else for a while. Sometimes we just need a distraction to change your focus and shake you out of your mindset. Go talk to someone else or start another activity. [source]
18. Keep Learning
Every soccer play should make sure they keep learning. No player has ever reached the point where they couldn’t be better in some way.
To do this you may find it helpful to find a role model or someone who is more advanced in their soccer abilities than you and find out what they do or did to get to the level they are at now.
If it’s someone you know and can personally talk to or go out on the soccer field to train with that’s great! But it could also be a pro soccer player you look up to and hope to emulate.
Check out this video below of the Barcelona team training. Barcelona are one of the best soccer teams in the world and I’m sure there’s much in this video that all of us could learn from.
19. Communicate Effectively
Another tip for soccer that I would give you is to learn to communicate effectively.
In many ways, soccer relies on communication. Whether it’s the coach communicating to the players, or the goalie communicating to the defenders, or the midfield to the forwards. Communication happens at all times and at all levels of soccer.
If you can learn to do this effectively you will improve not just your all-around game, but also the all-around game of your team. You will all work together better as a unit and see better results because of it.
Take the time to work on your communication. Think about what you want to communicate and how to get your message across effectively. Next time you’re out on the soccer field practice communication more than you normally would and see how it goes.
No soccer player can win a soccer game without great teamwork.
Soccer is a team game. There is no denying this fact. Without your team around you in a game you would be overwhelmed in seconds a have zero chance of even touching the soccer ball.
A good soccer player will embrace their team and do all they can to work effectively as a team. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that working together as a team will take you much further than if you went alone. This is true for soccer as it is for any other area in life. When a soccer team works well together they can achieve so much.
As much as it can work on your teamwork as a team. It is ultimately your coach’s role to build an effective team, but each individual player plays a key role in this. Be positive around your teammates. Encourage them, support them, and work with them.
21. Know the Rules
My last tip may seem obvious but it is foundational to both playing the game well and enjoying it.
Many players go out on the soccer field and just expect to pass, tackle, shoot, score, run a little, and that’s about it. The referee can worry about the rules. But those same players can get caught out and be less effective as soccer players because they’ve not understood what is required of them.
Take the time to read through the rules of soccer again. If it’s helpful, check out my Simple and Easy to Understand Guide to the Rules of Soccer. As you go through it you may be surprised at some of the little details in rules that you hadn’t realized were there. I know I was when I did this recently and I’ve been playing and watching soccer for over 20 years!
I really hope these 21 soccer tips have been helpful to you as you look to improve your own game and enjoy the beautiful game of soccer even more!
If you’re a soccer parent click here to check out my 11 Tips for being a Great Soccer Parent.
And if your looking to understand more about soccer positions check out this article I wrote explaining everything you need to know about them.