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6 Subtle Ways to Make You a Better Footballer

The best footballers are always looking to improve, no matter how high their level already is. Football is a sport where there are 100s of different aspects to work on that can improve your overall game. The following article will look at some less obvious features of a player’s game that can be developed to make them an overall better footballer.

1. Increase Your Confidence

Confidence can be difficult to build and even harder to consistently maintain. However, there is no question that confidence aids sporting performance.

Overconfidence can be dangerous and lead to complacency, but belief in yourself can carry you a long way. Eliminating doubt from your mind before a game can make you more decisive and purposeful. Confidence has a way of elevating your game and can even lift those around you.

There’s no easy way to build confidence, but affirming to yourself that you are capable and brushing aside negative thoughts is a great place to start.

2. Develop Your Leadership Skills

With confidence, comes the opportunity to be a leader. Commonly, leaders take senior roles within a side, like captain and vice captain, and are vocal and encouraging. If you have these natural leadership qualities, you can bring them to the pitch (and the dressing room) to help motivate your team.

Not all players are vocal, but that doesn’t mean you cannot become a leader in your team. Leading by example can be just as effective and sets the standard for the rest of your team to follow.

3. Work on Your Weak Foot

Moving on to something more tangible, the ability to play with both feet can make you a more well-rounded player. Having two equally competent feet opens up doors and gives you options.

Players who are too reliant on their strong foot can often be managed more easily. But having the ability to pass or shoot with either foot can make you unpredictable and difficult to stop.

4. Learn How to Read the Game

Being able to ‘read the game’ can separate a good footballer from a great one, yet the skill is far from obvious, like magnetic dribbling or a deadly finish.

Reading the game is all about anticipation. It’s a skill developed over time with hours of practice on the field, understanding situations and having the foresight to position yourself in the optimal position to take advantage.

Having the ability to read the game can even mask other deficits like a lack of pace.

5. Improve Your First Touch

This one is a lot easier to spot. If you have a poor first touch, the other skills in your repertoire might not get a chance to shine as you lose the ball before you know it. However, if you can develop a strong first touch, you can open doors and create opportunities for yourself simply by gaining control of the ball quickly.

A good first touch is largely about technique, but also requires other skills.

These include:

  • A strong sense of anticipation to judge the flight and speed of the ball.
  • Spatial awareness to assess how close your opponents are.
  • Decision-making to choose the type of touch you take.
  • Composure to remain calm under pressure.

6. Become a Set-Piece Specialist

Set-piece specialists can be absolutely invaluable to a team. The skills needed to excel from set-pieces are varied, but all come with the added bonus of time to set yourself. Some set-pieces, like corners and penalties, even have the added luxury of being from the same spot every time, allowing you to perfect your technique, knowing there are fewer variables than usual.

Here’s a brief run down of the set-pieces you could specialise in:

Penalties – find a technique that suits you and practise it until it becomes second nature.

Indirect free-kicks – the opportunity to find a teammate without any time pressure can allow you to whip in pinpoint crosses.

Direct free-kicks – different distances and angles may require different techniques – the more you have the more adaptable you can be.

Corners – like indirect free-kicks but without the variable of changing distances and angles.

Throw-ins – often neglected but a potential source of danger for the opposition if you can develop a long, flat bullet throw.

Penalties (as a goalkeeper) – set-piece specialists aren’t limited to outfielders and there are plenty of goalkeepers who specialise in saving pens thanks to their confidence and ability to second-guess the taker.

The Bottom Line

There’s no better place to develop these skills (and others) than at Samba Soccer Schools. If your child wants to learn football the Brazilian way, consider bringing them along to a session.

For more information about Samba Soccer Schools, click here.


How do I get better at football?

There are tonnes of things you can focus on to get better at the sport. The article above focuses on some less obvious ones, but Samba Soccer Schools also have other guides available here.

What drills should I do?

The drill you do will depend on what you want to improve. Here are several passing drills that apply to some of the things covered above.

How much practice do I need to do?

To get better, you’ll need to train – it’s as simple as this. Nevertheless, it’s important not to overdo it, so listen to your body when it’s exhausted and train when it’s not.

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