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Sep, 2022



Building Essential Skills

  1. Image titled Develop Good Soccer Dribbling Skills Step 1
    Practice dribbling the ball. Dribbling is controlling the ball while running. If you want to keep the ball in your team's possession, you're going to need to dribble well. Dribbling is all about touching the ball strong enough to carry it forward, but light enough so that it stays at your feet.[1]
    • You can dribble with the inside of your foot, above the toe (with the foot pointed down toward the ground), and even with the outside of your foot. The easiest way to dribble for beginners is probably with the inside of your foot.
    • Learn to dribble at different speeds. When you're running down the sideline and you've beaten your defender, your dribbling will look a lot different from when you're taking on a defender head-on.
    Work on your passing skills. Passing is all about putting the ball exactly where you want it. In order to pass a soccer ball, kick the ball using the inside of your foot. This will give you less power but more accuracy. Once you master the basic pass, you can then try to slice and hook the ball in order to pass it to one of your teammates.[2]
    • Anticipate where a player is going to be. If your teammate is running, always kick the ball ahead of them so that they can run to the ball in stride.
    • To hook the ball, use the inside of your foot but turn it more forward (a 45-degree angle toward your target instead of closer to 90 degrees) as you strike the ball.
    • Slicing takes a bit more practice since you need to strike the ball with the outside of your foot while your leg sweeps in a hooking motion.

    Tip: Pass with your toes pointed upward and your heel pointed down.

    Hone your shooting skills. If you're really close to the goal and all you need is accuracy, you can shoot using the sweet spot of the inside of your foot, like a pass. Normally, though, you're going to be farther away and will need power as well as accuracy.[3]
    • Hit the ball to the left of the middle laces of your shoe, with your foot pointed down at the ground. Keep your foot pointed down at the ground as you follow through.
    • Use your hips to swing through the ball. Bring your foot across your body if necessary to generate even more power. This should cause both feet to lift from the ground.
    Soccer Coach

    Expert Trick: When you're practicing dribbling the ball in soccer, set up two small goals facing each other. Then, as you're kicking the ball, have someone else try to get the ball away from you. That way, you'll have practice changing directions, and you'll have to come up with solutions on how to find the open goal.

    Build your skills as a defender. Defending the goal from an opposing attacker is an underrated achievement. There are 3 basic things that you need to remember when guarding a player in soccer:[4]
    • Don’t be fooled if your opponent starts and stops with the ball, fakes one way before heading the other, or tries other feints, tricks, or jukes. Instead, keep your eye on the ball at all times.
    • Stay in between the ball and the goal. In other words, don't let the ball get behind you.
    • Right after an attacker hits the ball on the dribble—that's the time when you should step in and either tackle or kick the ball toward an open teammate. This is called anticipating the dribble, and it's essential for knocking the ball from an attacking player.
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Playing According to the Rules

  1. Image titled Play Soccer Step 11
    Understand the object of the game. You win a soccer match by scoring more goals than the opponent scores. A goal is scored when the whole ball passes the opponent’s goal line within the net area.[5]
    • Goalies, when in their own penalty area, are the only players on the field (also called a pitch) who can use their arms or hands. All other players may use any part of their bodies except their arms and hands.
    • A regulation game (also called a match) is typically 90 minutes long, made up of 2 halves of 45 minutes each.
  2. Image titled Play Soccer Step 12
    Recognize the positions in soccer. There are 11 total players (per team) on the field to start the game. Although the positions can be rearranged however the coach sees fit, there are usually 4 defenders, 4 midfielders, 2 strikers, and 1 goalie.[6]
    • Defenders usually stay behind the midfield line in an effort to help prevent the other team from scoring. They need to make good outlet (clearing) passes and are usually bigger physically than other players.
    • Midfielders do the most running, as they play a combination of defense and offense. They usually orchestrate the attack and need to be good at holding onto the ball and passing.
    • Forwards/strikers get the most cracks at shooting the ball. They need to be quick, agile, and able to shoot with power and accuracy within seconds. They are often the fastest players on the field.
    • The goalie protects the 18-yard penalty area and is the only player who can use their hands (but only in their own penalty area). The goalie has to be agile, flexible, quick to anticipate, and good at communication.
  3. Image titled Play Soccer Step 13
    Note that kickoffs start the game and the beginning of the second half. At the time of kickoff, each team's players need to be entirely on their own half of the field and the opposition must not be within the center circle as the 10-yard mandatory distance on a restart. Once the whistle has blown and the ball is kicked, the laws allow it to go backwards or forwards, the players can move freely into both halves of play.[7]
    • One team starts the game by winning the coin toss to choose a side, the opposite team gets to kick off. Teams change sides at halftime and the team who did not kick off does so in the 2nd half.

    Note: There is also a kickoff after each goal is scored by the team that was scored on.

  4. Image titled Play Soccer Step 14
    Learn when and how to do throw-ins. Throw-ins happen when the ball goes completely over 1 of the 2 touchlines. Possession goes to the team who wasn't the last to touch it. This team gets to throw the ball in from the place where it went out of bounds.[8]
    • A player throwing can get a running start but must perform the throw-in correctly.
    • A player must bring the ball up with both hands behind their head, and release the ball over their head with both hands.
    • A player cannot lift either of their feet completely off the ground while they are throwing the ball, though the players typically drags 1 foot (0.30 m) as they release the ball.
  5. Image titled Play Soccer Step 15
    Recognize the difference between a corner kick and a goal kick. If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the defending team, the ball goes to the closest goal line corner and becomes a corner kick, with possession going to the attacking team.[9]
    • If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the attacking team, becomes a goal kick, with possession going to the defending team. The keeper often takes a goal kick but any one of the 11 players can. On any free kick taken from within the 6-yard goal area the defenders can place the ball anywhere within the area. The ball is not in play until it completely leaves the 18 yard PA (penalty area).
  6. Image titled Play Soccer Step 16
    Recognize when a player is offside. Offside is one of the more crucial rules in soccer, and it's designed to keep soccer teams from cherry-picking, or packing the 18-yard penalty area with players. A player is determined to be in an offside position when all of the following are true: at the time of a teammate's touch of the ball, they are ahead of the ball, in the opponent’s half, and closer to the opposing goal line then the second last opponent (note the keeper is but 1 of 11 opponents; though he is often one of the two last defenders, this is not always the case).[10]
    • Possession is given to the other team if a player while restricted due to his being in an offside position becomes involved in an active play where the referee will award an INDFK (indirect free kick) from where the involvement occurs, including within the players own half of the field.

    Tip: The offside position is exempt on throw-ins, corner kicks, and goal kicks.

  7. Image titled Play Soccer Step 17
    Identify the difference between a direct free kick and an indirect free kick. A direct free kick is when you can kick the ball directly into the goal for a score without the ball touching another player first. An indirect free kick must be touched by another player before counting as a score.[11]
    • Direct free kicks are generally granted due to a contact foul or hand ball by the other team. Indirect free kicks are granted by the referee due to other types of infractions or game stoppages.
    • During an indirect free kick, the referee will keep one arm raised until the ball is touched by a second player.
  8. Image titled Play Soccer Step 18
    Recognize that only a DFK (direct free kick) foul inside the 18-yard penalty area results in a penalty kick. A penalty kick happens when a defender fouls an opponent in his or her own 18-yard (or penalty) box. All other players except the goalie and the player taking the penalty kick line up outside the penalty area behind the PA spot. The goalie must have part of both feet on the goal line and cannot move off of it before the ball is kicked.[12]
    • The ball is placed on a designated area 12 yards (11 m) from the goal line called the penalty spot. After the ball is kicked forward, it is live, meaning it can now be played by any player from either team except the kicker. He must wait until one of the other players do so first (includes the opposing keeper) before he can play the ball a second time.
    • Any player can take the penalty kick, not just the player who was fouled.
  9. Image titled Play Soccer Step 19
    Know the grounds for a caution for which a yellow card is shown. A referee issues a caution and shows a yellow card, both as a warning to the player and as a lesson for all other players as to what is not tolerated or unacceptable behavior. Two yellow cards result in a red card, after which that player must leave the game permanently. Note that both yellow and red cards accumulate throughout the season. Reasons for cautions include:[13]
    • Any USB actions during the match whether the ball is in play or not (misconduct).
    • Reckless play, any foul or action during play which compromises the safety of an opponent.
    • Tactical fouls designed to thwart or break up an attack.
    • Delaying restarts or failure to respect distance on free kicks.
    • Removing a jersey after scoring a goal, excessive celebration.
    • Other infractions.
  10. Image titled Play Soccer Step 20
    Understand the grounds for a red card. A player is sent off and shown the red card, his team reduced by a player, if he performs any foul in an excessive, unsafe or violent manner whereby the safety of the opponent is compromised. A red card will also result if a player receives 2 cautions in the match. Reasons for red cards include:[14]
    • ANY DFK foul performed excessively.
    • Spitting at a player.
    • Denies an obvious goal by deliberately handling the ball.
    • Denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity with a foul.
    • If a player must leave the game due to 2 yellow cards or a red card, they cannot be replaced, which leaves their team short a player (e.g., 10-on-11).

Advancing Your Skills and Style

  1. Image titled Play Soccer Step 5
    Think about moving off the ball. Some estimates say that professional soccer players run 6 to 8 miles (9.7 to 12.9 km) during a 90-minute game. That's a lot of running, and you’ll do most of it when you don't have the ball. Learn how to get into open space, how to run to where to your teammate expects or wants you to be, and how to run past a defender who's guarding you.[15]
  2. Image titled Play Soccer Step 6
    Get comfortable heading the ball, if permitted or desired. Try hitting the ball with your head right where your hair meets your forehead. Do not use the top of your head! When getting ready to head the ball, don't lift your head back; move your upper torso back instead. This will give you more power and won't strain your neck as much. You have to hit the ball, not let the ball hit you.[16]
    • Many youth leagues ban heading the ball due to concerns over concussions and other head or neck injuries. If you’re just playing for fun, consider whether heading the ball is a necessary component of your game.
  3. Image titled Play Soccer Step 7
    Practice juggling the ball with your feet and body. Juggling involves receiving and controlling a ball from the air with some combination of your head, shoulders, chest, legs, and feet. You probably won't need to juggle frequently in a game, but it’s a very important skill to develop as it helps you develop your touch and control.[17]
    • If you know how to juggle your touch on the ball becomes a lot more delicate. Your first touch on the ball is extremely important in soccer.

    Example: You might receive a pass from the air by redirecting it from your chest to one of your feet, so you can quickly establish control of the ball.

  4. Image titled Play Soccer Step 8
    Work on using your non-dominant foot well. It's really important to be able to dribble, pass, and shoot the ball with your non-dominant foot. Good defenders will take away your dominant foot and force you to play with your non-dominant foot. If you can't use your non-dominant foot, you'll be playing at a clear disadvantage.[18]
    • Practice only using your non-dominant foot during practice or when you shoot or juggle by yourself. Acclimating your body to this muscle memory is an important part of being skilled with your non-dominant foot.
  5. Image titled Play Soccer Step 9
    Practice taking corner kicks and free kicks. You want to be able to send corner kicks right to the middle of the penalty area, usually up in the air so that a teammate can head or kick the ball in. Free kicks can either be taken quickly and simply passed to a nearby teammate, or you can organize a "set play" in which you kick the ball in a certain area while your teammates execute a play.[19]
    • Corner kicks are taken from one of the 4 corners of the field, depending on where the ball went out of bounds. Free kicks can occur anywhere within the field of play.
    • Corner kicks are often struck with either a hook (from the inside of your foot) or a slice (from the outside of your foot) depending on which foot you’re using and which side of the field you’re on.
    • A free kick can be hooked, sliced, or driven straight ahead, or simply tapped to a teammate, based on how you choose to play it.
  6. Image titled Play Soccer Step 10
    Be original and spontaneous with your playing style. Try to develop your own playing style, one that suits you. Are you a tricky player who relies on juking out other players? Are you fast enough to beat everyone with sheer speed? Are you great at using your body and power to blast goals? Are you an expert at keeping opponents from getting off shots?[20]
    • Find out what kind of player you are, set goals for yourself on how you can become a more rounded player, and remember to have fun!

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