Playing Better Football

Meticulous practice, an improved sense of controlling the ball and effective use of the multitude football skills during a match differentiates players who can play ‘better’ football from average players who can merely “kick a ball”. If you want to become the next Diego Maradona , Ronaldinho or even Tony Philliskirk you need to adopt lightning quick attacking skills, fearless defensive capabilities, powerful shooting, long or short passing and at the top ultimate control over the ball.

Before you can master the game of football you need to determine what position you want to play in. There is no doubt that hard practice and complete dedication is necessary to play better football. However, football practices vary based on the position of a player. If you want to be a goalkeeper and have balls pelted at you at 100 miles per hour all game then your practice will be different than a defender, midfielder or striker. Before considering further football coaching you need to have it clear in your mind where on the field you want to play.

Playing football like a professional player is quite different and requires practice under the supervision of a fully qualified and licensed football coach. To get one of the precious few places at a professional football club you have to adopt all types of football skills to set you apart from the thousands of other players who think they can “make it”.

At the same time, it is important to apply these skills and knowledge during a match. A football coach not only trains you but also teaches you to understand football sense and understanding of how the game is and should be played. The football coach determines the game strategy and subsequently the player’s formation. Traditional formations you may be familiar with are a standard 4-4-2, defensive 4-5-1 or more attacking 4-3-3. There are more complicated formations such as the defensive 3-2-2-3 and almost all-out-attack 1-3-3-3 option.

If you can understand a formation and know your role within it, take on board the overall game plan and then use and apply your skills when on the pitch you have the attributes of being a good football player. Based on your ability, strength and speed you can judge the best position for yourself on the pitch but it is the coach who can bring the best out of you and guide you in the right direction. Repeated and incessant practice and application of football skills are necessary to play better football.

Adopting the many different skills necessary to play football is the only way you have any chance of becoming a professional. Think back to the best players who you played in school with. Even if they seemed “amazing”, statistically they will be extremely lucky if they could play in the lower reaches of the professional game, apart from exceptional circumstances.

If you want to play as midfielder, defender or striker then you must learn both attacking and defensive skills and try to apply them during a football match. Attacking skills includes dribbling, kicking, lofting, turning, weighted pass and penetrating opponent’s defence through running with the ball. These are common attacking skills which you will find among midfielders and strikers. Defensive skills include making defensive wall during a free kick, redirecting the ball with defensive head and both long and short passes. For goalkeepers, diving and saving or defending a shot by using hand or head are basic techniques. However, in order to be the best goalkeeper, judging which way to dive for a penalty kick and successfully saving a free kick are what sets apart the best from the rest.

There are some general techniques, which are required irrespective of the position. Taking long shot, running without the ball to make space for other teammates, tackling an opponent,, controlling the ball with your chest, thigh, shin and ankle and taking long or short throws are some common techniques of playing football.  

Apart from practice, you have to maintain a strict and balanced diet. Proper nutrition is essential for keeping your body fit and flexible and all professional clubs have some sort of dietician or nutritionist on the payroll. Like an athlete, you have to run with the ball throughout the 90 minutes, barely having a few seconds to take a break apart from the half-time interval. Only eat the foods recommended by your diet chart and concentrate on your practice – by this, you will develop stamina and the playing techniques necessary to becoming a better, or even professional, football player.

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