How to Improve Soccer Skills – 4 Simple Tips

Everyone that plays soccer is looking for different ways to improve their soccer skills and the answers always lead to: footworkdrills, speed, agility, fitness, and more. However, there is much more beyond that!

When you play soccer, which is a team sport, you must be aware of what’s around you. Soccer skills do not only refer to your individual performance but it also includes how helpful you are to your team. However, there is another way to improve soccer skills and soccer performance! The four tips that I’m about to give you will help you a lot. There is no doubt that younger players need to realize that soccer is more than passing the ball and running; it’s about leadership, game plan, and communication.

Talk more – Be a leader!

As a team sport, communication must be there at all times. A team that communicates tends to look better on the field. Even though, teammates talk during practice about how they are going to make their runs, talking during a game is crucial.

It also has secondary effects on the opponent. I remember that it used to intimidate me when I heard the other team talking a lot. I made me feel like they were really in control of the game and when I had the ball I felt like it was 1 vs 11 because they used to say: “Force him to the rightI got the middleWin thatGet to the ball“. ALL GAME LONG!

Whether is a simple direction to the person receiving the ball or full directions on how to make a run to counterattack, communication says a lot about a team and individual players. As a coach, I can see the leaders during practice and games. They are the ones giving directions and always getting everyone together and planning the next play.

Everything is just more complicated with no communication! Trust me. I always say to my players: “use the fact that you know each other to ask for the ball calling names; if you want the ball from Mike, just say: “Mike, right here”. It may sound obvious but there are many young players that barely talk on the field. Build up your confidence and be a leader!!!

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Use Non-Verbal Methods to Communicate – IT WORKS!

What happens when verbal communication is not there? Well, you have two hands/arms to make signals that will lead to some type of communication. You can never go wrong with non-verbal language because you can’t say: “I thought you said Get it Out, instead of Let it Go“. It’s a simple signal with a clear message (players must agree to what certain signals mean).

I recommend to talk to your teammates and practice the following 2 signals:

#1: HERE, HERE! that’s when you want the ball to be played to your feet. You may use one or two hands to indicate if you want the ball to you left foot or right foot.

#2: THERE! that’s when you want the ball to be played into the space. You point to where you want the ball.

Sometimes these signals unconsciously will make you talk and that’s awesome! Remember, communication is key in soccer.

Once you get used to these two signals, you start feeling comfortable and it becomes part of your playing style. Before you notice, you will use your hand to tell someone to make a run, to turn and go, or to let him/her know that he/she has time. A very good habit! (I would choose a player with this characteristic over a quiet one with similar footwork skills).

Be aware of what’s around you – Scan the Field!

Another tip that I would suggest is to get into the habit of looking around at all times. The more you are aware of what’s around you, the better decision you will make with and without the ball.

When you scan the field, you have a better vision of where your teammates are and where the opponent players are. You will make decisions of whether play short or switch the field. This gives you a plus! (Trust me, I’m a coach!)

Soccer skills like this one simply take you to the next level. If you know (ahead of time) what your next move will be, you look like a very smart and fast player. Two characteristics of typical attacking midfielder but in today’s soccer can apply to all players on the field.

One last thing… This also applies to you, even when you do not get the ball. By making a run because a teammate is projecting by the sideline, you create an opportunity to attack. Remember, really good players shine with and without the ball.

How is this a soccer skill? Just look at Luis Suarez’s moves when the wingers or left back cross the ball to find Messi. This actually takes me to the next tip.

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Don’t just watch soccer, Analyze Games!

There is not a better way to learn about soccer and improve soccer skills than analyzing games. Watch the top players display real skills, strategies, and playing style. You may not have their skills but YOU CAN definitely understand why top players play in top leagues and try to follow them (not on Twitter!).

As a striker, I always love to watch the players behind the scenes. Benzema and Suarez are two excellent examples of how to move without the ball. They know where to go and when to make those runs to the first post to let forwards and midfielders get to the ball with no opponent close to them.

If we try to mimic what Messi and Ronaldo do on the field, watching them in action will definitely help. Obviously, this must be followed up with a lot of practice. However, most young players do not take advantage of the access to recorded soccer games, goals, and analysis of games on the internet. Trust me, as a coach, I recommend all my players to watch videos of soccer players that play in their most enjoyable position and watch what they do, with and without the ball.

You will be amazed of how much you can learn from just analyzing a 5-minute soccer game. Your soccer skills will naturally improve because soccer players are visual learners. A coach shows a move or drill, and players are able to retain that information and perform. That’s how watching games works, you see what your favorite soccer play does and you apply that during your next game. And don’t forget… PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

Talent + Discipline = Success

All soccer players (including myself) dream with making it to the professional level and we work hard to have a fair chance. Someone may say it’s simply luck (having the right connection) and perhaps having what it takes but, there is no doubt that soccer skills that make you stand out (skills with and without the ball) in front of coaches occasionally lead to success.

It’s easy to identify talent with the ball. Just watch the best teams in the world and you can see what they can do. Neymar, Mbappé, and Hazard are some of the most talented players in the recent 2018 Russia World Cup. However, that’s pure talent + discipline. You can’t succeed if you have no discipline.

Take your talent to the next level by practice. Take your soccer skills to the next level by being more disciplined.

Add these 4 simple tips to your regular soccer life and you will see a huge improvement. If you want to become a professional soccer player, stay focused and apply yourself. Are you ready to become a better – smarter soccer player?

25 thoughts on “How to Improve Soccer Skills – 4 Simple Tips

  1. Hi Victor,

    My Granddaughter is only 3 yrs old but I tell my daughter she would be perfect to play soccer! I know they start young, so soon would be perfect for her to start.

    You have great information with tips here, most I had no idea about. I agree how communication is important both verbal and non verbal. Practicing signals before hand is a good idea making sure the team understands.

    Thanks for this informative information!

    Patsy

  2. I never was good on soccer, not the skills at least, I used to be a forward, and it bothered me I couldn’t be a Messi or so haha, and in that time it was hard to find a site with football tricks.

    I never was too much of a leader, but however, I always analyzed the field, as you state.

    Now, for me it is a bit too late, but for my childs this post comes at the right moment, I will bookmark this, and I will show them this post and explain them why this is very important for them.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Thank you for stopping by. It was always my wish to be like Messi as well 🙂

      It is my goal to build a website that can be beneficial for all young players. Soccer has become a lucrative business and if players enjoy the sport, have the skills, and are lucky enough to make it to the next level, they need to know as much as possible about soccer.

      I will be adding videos very soon! Thank you for the support. Good luck to your children!

  3. My boys play soccer and I totally agree with you that there is more to soccer than kicking and passing the ball around. My younger son loves to play as a “back” and always passes the ball off to those more confident in goal scoring. But at this age the coach likes to share the positions around so they all get a chance at different roles. I enjoyed seeing him take centre position one day and experience the game from a whole other perspective and he did a great job in this role, calling to the other team mates for the ball. I think this gives them an understanding of each persons part to play in a game. I can see how things like “leadership, game plan, and communication.” can be taught through sports. I personally feel that communication is the best thing for young kids to learn. It helps them to communicate off the field as well as on. Being aware of what’s around you if a difficult skill for youngsters, but with some practise they can learn this skill, but I think thats where the communication comes into play as well. Thanks for this great article pointing out how to improve our soccer skills in 4 easy steps. Mary

  4. Hi there I do not have a lot of experience of the game except when my boys played as youngsters, however I feel that your explanations and tips regarding team play were very clear and helped me see the game from an entirely new perspective. I see the complexity involved in a game and that it is not, as you say just kicking a ball around. I am sure that for those interested this would be a very helpful post to improving their game.

  5. Great article on how to improve your soccer skills.  Your 4 tips – I think are perfect! As a primary teacher, teaching students how to work in teams is so important, and kids love soccer.  So glad you had tips on leadership and communication skills! Although – I though all the tips were great, but they were my favourites! Yes, it’s great to watch the best, like – Messi and Ronaldo. I know when I’ve also watched the teams that struggle, you can often see what goes wrong when you’ve had some time to watch the best players at work, and you can relate it back to this article. Great article!

  6. Hi Victor,

    Just started learning about soccer for my children; they have been playing just a few seasons, which their season are only 10 games.

    I ran across your article, you have some good pointers and tips for experienced players and I am going to use your information, to try and help my kids get better at their games. 

    Do you have any pointers for a parent who wants to help their kids improve their skills? It is kinda hard to see what they need because I do not fully understand the game yet and they do not play very good, so it is not a good example.

    Thanks for the information, 

    Chad

    • As a parent, I would like for basic skills on my child. Passing, Receiving the ball, and Kicking/Shooting the ball.

      They will eventually get better but these basic skills should be the main focus. Good luck with everything!

  7. mmm, I have a lot of takeaways here. I have to admit, you were so thorough and you were hitting straight to the point. I have 2 major takeaways as a football player

    1.Talent + Discipline= success .This is totally true, I have seen so many player with great talent but no discipline killing their career

    2. Soccer is far from running, but Game plan, communication and leadership

    Thank you so much, for the great info

  8. Hey Victor, I really enjoyed your article!  You know, everything you said about communication, both verbal and non-verbal, and staying alert to what is going on around you at all times.  Also about making the effort to watch the pro’s and study and analyze how they move and work as a team,….all those things are excellent advice both on and off the field.  In soccer and in life as well.

    Good job, keep up the good work.  If only everyone had your work ethic!

    Robin

  9. Hi Victor,

    Great job here on coming up with an article on How To Improve Soccer Skills. This is a comprehensive and helpful article for someone who wants to improve their skills in this kind of sports. 

    What I like most about Soccer is that height may not be the requirement for an aspiring soccer player to reach the next level of this sports. I know most of us are not endowed with the gift of height which some sports consider this as a requirement to be effective on their field, but in Soccer, short player can excell and have the chance to be the next star player. 

  10. I played soccer as a kid and into high school, so I can appreciate what you are saying.  I believe a lot of what you discuss here applies to other sports as well.  Communication with your teammates is so important.  Knowing who is where, and who is responsible for certain spots on the field is critical to success.  So, in my book, communication is key.  My daughter plays beach volleyball and we are always stressing to her the importance of talking with her playing partner.  

    I also agree with you that scanning the field, to know where not only your teammates are, but the opponent as well.  This allows you to strategize and come up with a plan.  You need to be able to see openings, and find your teammates.  

    You don’t have to be the most talented player to be successful, if you are smart and know the game, you can reach great heights as well.  Great tips in this article, you obviously have a lot of experience and many people can benefit from your website.

  11. Those are really great tips.  My cousin reps women’s league in Canada and she travels all over the country for it.  Her husband also coaches their son and daughter’s soccer league as well, so I get to hear all about it.

    I love watching professional (and amature) soccer, yet I have never played in a league. 

    I really like your points on studying the professionals, not just watch them. That tip can be applied to anything really.  Watch the people who are where you want to be, and do what they do.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Good afternoon.  This is very helpful as my 7 yr old grandson has started to take a liking to soccer.  I know at first its all about having fun but I also know it is never too early to start learning.

    I love the part about communication and I showed him stuff about the signals.  I am grateful for this as I actually know very little about soccer.

  13. Love your tips on improving your soccer skills.  Using hand signals is a great way to let your team mates know what you want without alerting the opposing team as to what you are planning. I am sure this must take some practice though?

    Best of all is your tip on watching, analyzing and learning from the pros like Messi and Ronaldo.  If you are aiming to be professional then you need to study the pros to learn all the tricks of the trade. 

  14. My daughters have been playing soccer for three years but they stopped when there’s no dedicated coach to teach them. I envy the kids that you are coaching. They have a good coach like you. I like the way you talk about Ronaldo and Messi’s plays. Recorded games really helps if they give more time to watch and analyze. Also, without a good coach, kids won’t easily understand what they are watching. 

    Soccer here in the Philippines is still in its starting page and we don’t have good coaches that can guide and teach the children who are interested. Hoping it will grow more like the other countries. Anyway, thanks for this good article.

    Wish you good coaching day, Coach.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I just try to pass on to my players what I learned from other coaches and my personal experiences. Hopefully your daughters get back to playing soccer! Wish you/them the best.

  15. Truly there is no I in TEAM!  Your discussion about talking before, during and after the game are spot on and could be applied to many areas in life where team building leads to success and where outplaying the opponent begins – long before the game begins.I love the way you describe how a team learns body language among its players to accomplish distinctive accommodations during the game – leading to victory.

    Great article!  all the best!

  16. How to improve soccer skills 4 simple tips is a wonderful article.

     This article reminds me of when I was a soccer player all the drills. I can hear my coach now be a leader make sure you watch the whole field. 

    I appreciate this great and wonderful article thank you again.

  17. I think communication and discipline are two of the most undervalued traits of an athlete, especially those trying to make it in major team sport like soccer. Like you stated, most people are striving for the individual achievements but it’s the players that make everyone around them better that are the most valuable and win championships year after year. My nephew is really getting into soccer now and these are the kinds of things we’re trying to get him to understand. 

  18. Hello; I agree with you that Soccer players should communicate before or during a game.

     Would not you suggest  that It is best for Team members to Communicate and learn some unpopular sign Language, so the opposing Team will have no clue to what is communicated among them?

    As a Soccer Coach, you would have all the relevant tatics, regarding communication and other wise to ensure that your Team is the winning Team at all times?

    Keep up your good work

    DorcasW

    • Most of my players speak Spanish and sometimes they talk in Spanish. However, we always have our “sign language” with gestures that we come up with.

      Thank you for stopping by.

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