Playing as a winger for your soccer team is an important role. However, to be the best, you need to improve your performance constantly. I’ve played winger many times, and I want to share with you the tips that I found helped me on the soccer field.
To be a good winger in soccer, you need to:
- Study the performance of better wingers
- Increase your fitness levels
- Work on your passing and crossing skills
- Consistently provide a threat on goal
- Practice your technical skills and creativity
- Realize how your performance is affected by your belief in yourself
- Improve your speed and agility
Each of these areas is important if you want to be the best.
So, keep reading for my top tips for being the best winger you can be.
1. Study the Performance of Better Wingers and Take Notes
The first step in improving at anything in life is to understand what areas of your role need improvement, figure out how to get better, and then focus on working on those areas.
Just blindly trying out different options will only get you so far.
Until you have a plan of action or specific goals, you will just be trying out all sorts of ideas and hoping for the best.
The first step you should take is to find three wingers that you look up to and are better than you and observe how they play.
- What are they doing differently from me?
- Where are they positioned without the ball?
- What do they do when they receive the ball?
- Why are they making specific choices?
If you’re watching someone local to you, you may even be able to ask them these questions and get an understanding of their thought processes on the field and how they train off the field.
Otherwise, you may want to check out videos of some of the best wingers in the world, such as the video below.
As you’re taking notes, choose three areas that stand out to you and commit to working on these aspects of your game.
2. Increase Your Fitness Levels
The next step that any winger can take and see an improvement in their performance is to increase their level of fitness.
If you want to be the best winger, then you need to be as physically fit as possible.
To be the best, they need to be faster than their opponents and have a higher endurance level. Being fitter than your opponents will give you an advantage in taking on and beating the tough defenders in high-pressure positions.
Because it’s not always easy to know the best way to achieve this, I created the 30-Day Soccer Fitness Guide to give your fitness levels a boost and set you on the path to being the best.
My guide follows the same fitness training routines that the pros use and gives you a daily, step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of being fitter than you are right now.
Check it out here, or click on the button below if you want to find out more.
3. Work on Your Passing and Crossing Skills
This next step is key because creating opportunities for the forwards on your team to score goals is one of the primary responsibilities of a winger.
When a winger has the ball on the side of the field, the rest of their team expects the player to attempt a cross or pass into the opposition’s penalty box.
If the winger can accurately perform this move, their team stands a much greater chance of scoring a goal.
My advice is to spend more time working on crossing or passing drills on the training field.
One way to do this is to aim to hit a target at least 30 yards away from where you kick the ball. Then, repeat this multiple times until you can consistently hit your target.
Alternatively, check out the crossing drill in my list of the 10 best soccer coaching drills or the overlap drill in my list of 7 Most Effective Soccer Drills for High School Players.
4. Consistently Provide a Threat to Your Opponent’s Goal
If you really want to stand out as a winger, you need to contribute to your team’s goal count throughout the season.
No coach will expect you to score in every game, but if you can average a goal every 3 games, for example, then you will make it very hard for the coach to leave you out of the starting 11.
One way to improve in this area is to move into the penalty area when the ball is on the opposite side of the field.
Although you will need to be acutely aware of your team’s tactics and your responsibility to stretch the opposition defense, there will be opportunities in every game to get near to the goal at least once.
Being nearer to the goal when the ball comes in gives you a much higher chance of scoring than if you stay out on the “wings” of the field.
In the past, I would not make the most of these opportunities and used to stay out by the touchline at all times. But once I realized I could move into the center of the field without neglecting my duties as a winger, my goal contribution to the team went up dramatically.
If you are unsure when to move infield and when to stay wide, sit down with your coach and talk about it some more.
5. Practice Your Technical Skills and Creativity
Another area of improvement for a winger is the use of technical skills.
A winger has many opportunities to take on the opposition defenders during a game. For example, they may try dribbling past them, running past them, or working the ball down the line in tandem with other players on their team.
Each of these techniques requires technical skills and creativity.
Although creativity is fairly abstract and hard to learn, practicing technical skills that give more options for creativity will improve your performance on the field.
For some examples of these, have a look at my list of the 10 Soccer Tricks and Skills to Bypass the Defender in Front of You.
Otherwise, take a skill you have seen another winger use successfully and focus on mastering that trick.
It may take time to learn it and become comfortable using it, but when you have the opportunity to use it in a game, it will make all the effort worthwhile.
6. Realize How Your Performance Is Affected by Your Belief in Yourself
Another often forgotten part of what it means to be a good winger is having a positive attitude.
If you want to be the best, or even just be better than you are now, then you need to believe in yourself.
This means believing:
- you are capable of more,
- you can improve
- you can achieve your goals on the soccer field.
Some of your aims may be high, but that’s OK. It gives you something to aim for.
If you are struggling to believe you will be better, pause what you are doing and focus on improving something small.
Choose one aspect of your game that you want to develop, figure out how to do that, and then simply take the first step in that process.
For example, if you want to improve your first touch of the ball, find a wall and a soccer ball, start bouncing the ball off the wall, control it with your foot, and kick back to the wall.
Repeat this for as long as you can, and it won’t take long for your first touch to start improving.
Once you see this development, your attitude and self-belief will begin to change, and you’ll be inspired to work harder to be a better winger.
7. Improve Your Speed and Agility
The last area I want to look at is the ability of a winger to be fast and agile.
The winger position requires a great deal of speed and agility, which is very useful when beating defenders on the sidelines.
Wingers must be versatile and be able to mix up their attack to keep opponents guessing. They must also have excellent footwork.
Speed is also an asset to beat the defender to the ball.
One area to specifically focus on is your “explosive power.” This is your ability to get moving as quickly as possible.
You can practice this on the soccer field by training with a soccer ladder, such as this one on Amazon, or use drills where you race defenders to a series of cones.
As a winger, being fast is a huge asset to your team.
A combination of all the areas we have looked at makes a great winger in soccer.
You can see a significant improvement in your game if you follow these tips and be the best winger on your team in no time at all!
For more information regarding the position of winger, check out one of my following articles: