HOW TO PLAY SOCCER
Soccer, also known as football, is one of the most popular team sports in the world. People are crazy about soccer, and football stars like Ronaldo and Messi are no less than Soccer Gods for those who worship the sport. It is no surprise then that soccer is the most popular sport in the world with more than an estimated number of 3.5 billion fans.
The number of soccer fans keeps growing every day, with every other person wanting to play soccer and learn the game thoroughly. If you are one of those soccer enthusiasts and really want to learn how to play soccer, then this article will help you get a quick start in the game.
10 Easy Steps to Start Playing Soccer
In this guide, we will be outlining the various steps you need to take to start playing soccer. Though this article will not detail each and every rule of soccer, it will tell you what to do if you are new to playing football. Follow each step honestly and you may soon find yourself playing on the field.
1. Learn the Basics First
This is the first step for learning anything- get the basics right. Without perfecting the basics, you cannot expect to be good at the game. You don’t want to look confused when the referee shows you the yellow card. There are several guides available online that will help you know all the basic rules in soccer, the various player positions, and more. Learn about how fouls are committed, how to avoid them, what are the various penalties, etc. Even though soccer is a sport to be played, some theory before practice is very helpful.
Remember, basics are important, so do not go into the field before learning them. Practicing with the wrong rules is as good as not practicing at all. Knowing about things like the size of the field, the types of soccer shoes, etc. are important but at an advanced stage.
Want to buy a soccer ball? read this soccer buying guide
2. Begin Practicing
Once you know the basic rules and regulations of soccer, you are now theoretically ready to play the game. However, before jumping into the field, you need to make yourself familiar with the basic soccer skills you need to have to handle the soccer ball. This will ensure that you are playing the game properly and are playing it good enough to make your team win. Also, these skills will help you have more fun in the field.
The four basic skills in soccer include dribbling, ball control, passing, and shooting. Each of these skills should be learnt and practiced with proper techniques. You can find various tutorials and videos online that will show you how all of these skills are performed. Practice all the skills using the correct techniques, and your game will improve soon.
Though you may find dribbling and shooting fun, you should focus more on ball control and passing first. Controlling the ball is not easy as it sounds, but it is a crucial skill and needs to be learnt no matter what. Passing the ball properly to your team players without getting it snatched by the opponents is also an important skill to be learnt.
Need a Training soccer Ball ? Read this Review
3. Improve One Skill at a Time
All the above mentioned skills are important, but that doesn’t mean you have to practice them all at once. Take it slow, take it one at a time. Focus on one skill at a time, and take your own sweet time to perfect it. A player practicing one skill for three hours will perform that skill much better than the player who practices four different skills in the same three hours.
Multi-tasking isn’t something you need when learning soccer, so better focus all your concentration on one skill. Set aside a fixed time limit for every skill, say 30 minutes, and practice one skill every 30 minutes. Finish the first 30 minutes with a skill, and then move on to the next one. This organized way may feel boring, but it’s the most effective method. Practice this way for a couple of weeks, and then you should be ready to play in local pickup games.
4. Join Local Pickup Games
Now that you have practiced the skills and know the basic rules, you are ready to play soccer on field in pickup games. In case you don’t know what pickup games are, they are unorganized soccer games played on a local level. These games have less than 11 players on both the teams and are meant just for fun and practicing. You will find such pickup games in nearby playgrounds, schools, colleges, etc. Get into such pickup games and practice the skills in the real world against real opponents.
The real game-like situation will help you understand the different tactics used by players on the field. It will also make you a team player and will improve your coordination with other players, which is very important as soccer is a team game and team spirit is very important in this sport. So play in lots of pickup games and develop yourself as a player. This will not only help you improve your soccer skills, but you will also meet new players and you could learn a lot from them. This could later on help you get into a team, but that’s for later.
5. Pay Attention to Your Fitness
What comes to your mind when you close your mind and think about soccer? People running around with a ball and kicking it, right? Well, that’s what soccer is basically what about. So obviously, you need to be able to run, and you need to run fast and for long periods of time if you want to be good at soccer.
To improve your stamina and your running speed, you need to exercise every single day. Fitness comes first when it comes to any physical sport, so you’ll have to keep a strict check on your exercising and eating habits. You don’t need to join a gym; just wake up early morning and start jogging and sprinting. Avoid fatty foods and eat foods that are rich in protein, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. Getting good sleep is also important, so make sure you get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Exercise every day, eat good food, practice your football skills, and sleep well. Follow this schedule every single day for 5 to 6 days a week (rest on the 7th day) and you will soon see your fitness improve. You will eventually start running faster and longer, which will definitely improve your soccer game in many ways.
6. Find a Team and Join It!
Remember what we said, soccer is a team sport. You can practice all you want, but there’s a limit to how much you can achieve practicing soccer alone. You’ll not improve as a soccer player if you don’t play in a team, so your next step should be finding a team and joining it.
Soccer teams can be classified into three types- School, select, and recreational teams. The recreational ones accept anyone, but you should aim for the school and select teams. Those are the ones where your skills will put to difficult tests, and it is possible that you may get selected in various local tournaments.
But getting into a school or select team is not that easy. Unless the coach is your friend, he’ll test your skills in a trial game. If you perform well, you will get selected. In case you are rejected, practice more and keep finding teams.
7. Get a Training Partner
Irrespective of whether you get selected into a team or not, there are a lot of benefits of having a training partner. In the long run, a training partner will help you improve faster. You can practice passing with your partner, which is a very crucial skill to develop. You can also play against your partner to improve your defensive and dribbling techniques. Also, you could teach some techniques or skills to a partner who is weaker than you in the game. Teaching someone how to play soccer is also a great way to develop your own soccer skills.
Apart from that, having a partner also has mental benefits. Training with someone yields better results than training alone. Your partner will constantly motivate you, and you will be encouraged to work harder and practice more. With a good partner, practicing becomes fun. But make sure you choose a partner who is serious about soccer and wants to learn how to play soccer. He/she should be near or above your skill level.
However, make sure you don’t make big compromises for your training partner. In case your partner is unavailable for practice, do not waste the day and go to practice alone. Skipping several days of practice just because your partner isn’t there will only make you slower.
8. Keep Practicing and Keep Patience
The secret to getting better at soccer is practicing more and more. Don’t practice too less, but also avoid practicing too much. A lot of players don’t give enough time to practice, which is why their skills are not fully developed. Many players worry too much about improving themselves fast and hence practice for more hours every day, which results in more fatigue and exhaustion.
Practice should feel like fun and not something you have to force yourself for. Train for a couple of hours every day, or even one hour a day will do, as it is still better than training for only 2 hours a week. Pushing yourself too much won’t improve your skills faster, so keep patience and practice every day with full honestly. You will definitely get better with time.
9. If Injured, Stay Away From the Field
There are times when players fall or trip during practice or games and injure themselves. Injuries mean you cannot play to your full potential, but many players overlook it. A lot of them keep practicing even in pain, and even though it may sound masculine, it may do more damage. Working your muscles when you’re injured may put more stress on them and may result in the injury getting more serious. This could keep you out from the field for longer than expected.
So if you get injured or fall ill, stay away from the field. Nothing is more important than your health, keep that in mind. Even if you feel like you’re about to get a fever or just feel nauseous, stop practice and return home. Eat well, sleep well, take medications if necessary, and return to playing soccer only if you feel completely fit and fine.
10. Watch YouTube and Soccer Games
Even though this may sound too obvious, a lot of people skip YouTube and also watch very less soccer games when they are playing or practicing. You should know that watching the sport you are practicing will only improve your game. You could learn a lot from the experienced players that you see on TV in international tournaments.
Many players are famous for the different kinds of techniques they use to confuse their opponents. Look for things like that and try to incorporate them in your game. Go to YouTube and you’ll find a lot of videos telling you about tips and tricks and ways you can be better than the average players. Take all the knowledge in and apply it on the field. It will definitely make you a well-rounded player.
At the end, how fast you learn and how much you improve at soccer is in your own hands. Practice hard, but practice smart, and follow all the tips mentioned above to become a good soccer player.