Watching soccer live or on television is a great way to pick up tips for your own game. It is easy to get distracted by the sheer skills of the professional athletes on display, but there is a lot more behind the talent. Any youth soccer player can benefit from observing professional soccer games by paying close attention to the little things that professionals do to get an edge.
Spectators of a soccer game are naturally focused on the player with the ball and those around him or her. However, a soccer game is played with eleven players per team, and each can be as important as the ball handler at any given moment. Try taking a look at any player away from the ball. Observe their movements in relation to the player with the ball. They will position themselves in the area to best receive the ball. This could be mean either coming back towards the ball handler or making a run towards goal. In some cases, a player may even make a run just to pull a defender away to create space for the ball handler. Player movement is vital because it forces the opposing defense to keep up with player’s who are constantly changing position.
Game Mentality and Focus
If you observe the teams line up in the tunnel just before they enter the field, you will notice how focused each player is. Focusing on playing the game starts way before the first whistle. Many professionals have pre-game rituals days before the game in order to get in the proper mentality to play. Wayne Rooney lies in bed the night before the soccer game and visualizes scoring goals against the other team.
You can observe how professional soccer players focus during the game as well. As a youth soccer player, it is sometimes difficult to deal with a bad pass or a defensive error. However, the most successful professional players will immediately put any mistake out of their mind and focus on what they need to do to help the team. Take Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona as an example. He rarely loses the ball and, in some cases, completes 100% of his passes during a soccer game. However, when he does make a bad pass he immediately turns and tries to win the ball back. Keeping your focus, even when you make a mistake, is crucial for successful soccer players.
Professional soccer players all started out as youth players. Their hard work, coupled with a desire to learn and improve, allowed them to reach another level. CoachUp can help athletes reach that next level through private instruction. For other great tips and resources to improve your game, check out the rest of our soccer articles and coaching resources.
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