When you play soccer, mental, physical, and technical s****s all come into play. If you want to improve your game, it isn't enough to focus on just one of these aspects. The best ball-handling s****s won't matter if you're poorly conditioned and get winded just 10 minutes into the game. Likewise, a s****ful and well-conditioned player still won't succeed without the right strategy and focus. Create a training program that works on technical s****s, soccer strategy, overall fitness, and mental focus to substantially improve your game.

EditHoning Technical S****s

  1. Practice juggling to improve your ball control. You don't need a lot of space to work on juggling. While you may not specifically juggle the ball during games, being able to juggle the ball well gives you stronger control and better ball-handling s****s.[1]

    • Try to juggle for a little longer each time without losing control of the ball. If you can go for 5 minutes consistently, try to go for 10 minutes. Set a timer on your smart phone, or use an analog kitchen timer.
    • Juggling also helps you get better at controlling and stopping the ball.

  2. Set up cones or flags for dribbling drills. You can get cones or flags for drills at any sporting goods store or general online retailer. Even if you don't have a lot of space, you can do drills in a small patch of yard. Set the cones or flags in a row and dribble through and around them as you move forward.[2]

    • If you're allowed, you can also practice dribbling inside the house – although you probably don't want to wear your cleats indoors. Dribbling inside gives you plenty of obstacles and opportunities to change direction.

  3. Kick the ball against a wall to improve your first touch. Find a solid brick or cement wall so it isn't damaged by repeated kicks. Stand about away to start, and kick the ball as hard as you can against the wall. Get in position to receive the ball, control it, and immediately kick it back against the wall.[3]

    • As you get better, gradually move further away from the wall. Try to kick the ball just as hard from the longer distance as you did from the shorter distance.

  4. Create a regular practice schedule. Even if you have regular practice with your team, you also need to practice on your own if you want to really improve your game. Find a time when you can dedicate 20 or 30 minutes every day to practicing your soccer s****s.[4]

    • Include at least 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your practice for warming up and cooling down to help prevent injury.
    • You may want to schedule different drills so that you are constantly training different s****s. Think about how you can adapt drills you learn in team practice so that you can do them by yourself.
    • If you have a close friend on your team who lives nearby, you might also plan joint practice sessions with them.

  5. Develop a specialty s****. Think about one aspect of soccer that you really enjoy and can do relatively well, or that seems to come naturally to you. Focus on that s**** in your personal practice sessions and turn it into a signature move.[5]

    • Perfecting one s**** adds value to you as a player and gives any coach a reason to have you on their team. For example, if you're a defender, you might work on your defensive heading.
    • Finding an opportunity to use a specialty s**** that you've perfected can also enhance your own self-esteem and help you build confidence as a player.

EditIncreasing Fitness and Conditioning

  1. Improve your range of motion with dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches, such as walking lunges and bodyweight squats, are a good warm-up before a practice or conditioning workout that will also increase the flexibility and range of motion in your joints.[6]

    • Before stretching, warm up your muscles by doing jumping jacks or jogging in place. Swing your arms in wide circles to get your blood flowing. Then, allow 5 minutes for dynamic stretches before working out or before a game.

  2. Use interval training to build endurance. Many soccer players go jogging or running to increase their cardiovascular endurance. However, while it's true that you do a lot of running during a soccer game, it isn't nonstop running. Rather, you're starting and stopping, jogging, sprinting, walking, and changing directions frequently. Interval training prepares you for this.[7]

    • Interval training naturally includes high and low intensities of activity, similar to the way you move during a game.
    • When choosing interval exercises, focus on those that mimic movements you would be likely to use during a soccer game. During the off-season, a 30-minute interval training session 3 or 4 days a week can help keep you in shape.

  3. Incorporate compound exercises for strength training. Compound exercises, such as squats, lunges, and push-ups, work more than one joint and muscle group. These exercises automatically balance the strength of opposing muscle groups, which can help prevent injury.[8]

    • The majority of your exercises should be bodyweight exercises, or use free weights for resistance. Try to do strength training 2 or 3 days a week in the off-season. During the season you can still get in at least 1 strength training session a week, but don't overdo it.
    • Move your whole body to strengthen all muscle groups, but put your primary focus on your lower body and your core.

  4. Jump rope to build foot coordination and speed. Alternate between two-footed, single-foot, and crossover jumps, gradually increasing the speed at which you jump. Even if you don't have a jump rope, you can mimic the movement.[9]

    • Using a weighted jump rope allows you to build strength and balance in your upper body and core.
    • Start jumping rope for 15 minutes 3 or 4 days a week. Gradually increase the length of time that you do it. You can also incorporate jumping rope as an interval if you're doing interval training.

  5. Do plyometric drills for speed and agility. Plyometrics drills use explosive movements such as jumps to build short-twitch muscle fiber, giving you more power and speed. Some basic plyometric exercises include jump squats and burpees.[10]

    • In addition to plyometric drills, practice sprinting to improve your speed. A professional soccer player can sprint in about 4 seconds.
    • In the off season, do plyometric and speed exercises at least 2 days per week for 20 or 30 minutes. You can cut this session in season.

EditBuilding Tactics and Strategy

  1. Watch professional and national games. Study the moves of elite players closely, and dissect how they maintain possession of the ball and put players in position to score. Think about opportunities when you can use similar strategies in your own play.[11]

    • Watch teams with a wide variety of playing styles – don't just focus on one or two teams that you like personally. It can also be good to make a study of a single team playing a lot of different teams. Figure out how they adapt their strategy to capitalize on the weaknesses of the other team.
    • Games where an underdog team defeated a top-ranked team can be good games to watch for strategy.

  2. Use the width of the field on offense. When your team has possession, spread out and use the size of the field to help break up the other team's defense and create opportunities to score. Use short and long passes and runs to keep the ball moving.[12]

    • If you keep the ball moving, the defense won't have an opportunity to close in on you and make it difficult for you to pass the ball.
    • Pass the ball to players on the outside to stretch the defense thin and open up holes to get a teammate in an advantageous position.

  3. Tighten up to defend as a unit. When the other team has the ball, your general strategy is the opposite of what it was when you had possession. Move more towards the middle of the field and move together as an impenetrable mass.[13]

    • The opposing team will try to stretch you out, but maintain position – especially when they pass the ball to a player on the outside. If the ball is played to the right winger, for example, your whole team should move as a unit to the right.

  4. Apply your team strategy consistently. Your coach will communicate the overall team strategy to you and your teammates. When in doubt, fall back to this strategy as a default, regardless of the relative s****s of your opponent.[14]

    • Your team strategy should be one that maximizes your team's strengths and minimizes weaknesses. If you see ways in which your team strategy could be improved, talk them over with your coach and your teammates.
    • Work with your coach to understand your role in the overall team strategy, particularly if you switch to a different position.

  5. Study the strengths and weaknesses of opponents. Before each game, you'll adapt your overall strategy to limit your opponent's strength and exploit their weaknesses. Study their gameplay carefully, looking not just at individual players but at the way the team plays as a whole.[15]

    • Understanding how your opponents typically act in various types of situations allows you to anticipate how they'll respond so you can be proactive on the field.

  6. Communicate with your teammates. Talk to your teammates when you're on the field, and listen to them when they talk to you. Let them know if a player is heading towards them to pressure them, or if you're open. If you have an opportunity, call for the ball and get involved in the game.[16]

    • Communicate with body language as well as your voice. Swivel your head as you play so you know where the ball is and are able to anticipate what may happen anywhere on the field.
    • You can also use the strength of your pass to communicate. A softer pass typically indicates that the receiver has more time, while a crisp pace might indicate the receiver is under pressure.[17]

EditDeveloping the Right Mentality

  1. Play for the team. Soccer is a team sport, and you will not do well if you're playing only for yourself. Any moves you make on the field should be designed to put the team in a better position to score, not to make you look good.[18]

    • If you have a personal problem with a team member, don't take it onto the field. Once the game starts, put aside any personal animosity and focus on the team as a whole.

  2. Use encouraging self-talk to maintain focus. Keeping an encouraging mantra running through your head can improve your confidence and help you stay in the moment. If you feel the urge to criticize yourself, let it go and return to your encouragement.[19]

    • For example, you might repeat to yourself "It's okay. You're doing great. Just a simple strike, you've done it before. Good clean strike."

  3. Visualize your best games. Visualization and meditation can help build confidence and improve your self-image. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes each day to sit quietly and visualize yourself playing your best, or scoring the winning goal.[20]Advertisement

    • Think about how the movements feel, and how your body feels. Put yourself in the moment as you replay your visualization in your mind.

  4. Try breathing and relaxation techniques to improve your control. Deep breathing exercises can help keep you calm under pressure. Soccer can be an intensely personal game, and opponents often will try to trigger your emotions to distract you.[21]

    • Practice positive, helpful reactions to game events that normally would trigger an angry or upset reaction. For example, instead of getting angry or arguing with a referee's call, shake it off and move on.

  5. Learn from mistakes and let them go. You can't improve your game – in soccer or any other sport – without making some mistakes along the way. When the inevitable happens, take a deep breath and return to the moment.[22]

    • You'll have time after the game, or at the end of practice, to analyze your mistake and learn from it. In the moment, put it out of your mind. If you dwell on it, you've taken your mind out of the game and your performance will suffer as a result.


  • Drink plenty of water while playing soccer to maintain hydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and injury.
  • Use proper equipment whenever practicing, including cleats, shin guards, and socks. This will get you used to wearing the right gear and also help prevent injury.[23]


  • If you are injured, either in practice or a game, take a few days off to rest and allow your body to recover before you attempt to train again.

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