Learn How to Play Soccer
Whether you're a parent reading this for your 5-year-old child who is just starting out in soccer or an adult who is getting ready to play soccer for the first time on a co-ed indoor soccer team, there's one thing to know from the start, soccer is a simple game.
I'm sure you've heard this before, too, how soccer is such a simple game. Yet, for you, just starting out it seems very complex and difficult. That's understandable. It will get easier with time and more practice.
The main rule to know is you can't use your hands, and then all the other parts of the body are up for play, from the feet to the thighs to the chest, and the head.
But the point of this piece is to help you wrap your head around the idea of learning how to play soccer, so here are a few key points to consider if you're trying to learn how to play the great game of soccer:
Find a Mentor
Find someone who knows how to play the game and practice with them. Watch how they kick the ball, what part of the foot do the use, how do they control the ball? Steal all of their ideas and incorporate them into your next practice session on your own. Get them to show you the correct way to pass, shoot, cross, juggle, and dribble.
Spend Time with the Soccer Ball
If you're someone who has never touched a soccer ball in their life, then you'll need to start kicking the ball against a wall and juggling. Yes, it will be difficult at first but it was slowly get easier and easier as you become more comfortable with the ball. Make the ball your best friend and don't leave it alone for a week and see how much you improve.
Start out just using the inside of your foot to pass the ball against a wall and then just try to juggle the ball back up into your hands with the instep of your foot, the laces of your feet. See if you can pass the ball with your foot ten times against the wall and then juggle the ball ten times into your hands. Do this with your favored foot and then try your weaker foot.
Then setup a line of cones to dribble through using just your favored foot. Use both the inside of your foot and then outside. Take your time and keep the ball close to you and keep your head up a little bit so you know where you are going.
Go to a Soccer Camp
There's really no better way to gain a lot of soccer knowledge than to attend a soccer camp for a week. Camps are able to pack in a lot of time with the ball as well as games. You'll be amazed how much you'll learn and how much you will improve after just a weeklong soccer camp.
In selecting a camp you want to find one that centers on spending a lot of time with the ball, learning fundamentals and techniques. Not a camp that is all about competition and stresses winning over learning. Find a camp where the coaches actually played the game professional, so see out an MLS soccer camp if you're in the United States.
Buy a Soccer Video
There are a couple good soccer training videos on the market today, these are good tools for picking up good training habits and technique. The two I would suggest are the SoccerU series and then the Coerver Coaching DVDs. You can't go wrong with either of these as their both based around learning how to play with the ball.
What's good about the DVDs is you can refer to them throughout the season or year, checking to see exactly how you should strike the ball if you want to bend it or how to do a certain dribbling move.
Find a Soccer Pick Up Game
There must be a pick up game going on in your area? Call your local soccer association or the indoor soccer center. I'm sure there are some people who gather at lunchtime or on the weekends to play small-sided games.
Many times these games are made up of people from around the world, since soccer is such a loved game worldwide. What's great about this diversity of players is there more tricks, moves and techniques to steal and add to your game.
Or, if you can't find a pick up game then create your own, call your friends and see if they want to meet up and play two versus two to a set of small goals. This is really how you learn to play the game of soccer, when you join up with your friends and play the game without coaches around telling you what to do. Here, in a small sided games you can try new thing and just enjoy the game.
Watch Soccer on TV
In the same way you pick a mentor to teach you the game, find a mentor on a team you watch on TV. Whose style of play do you admire? What position do you play? Pick someone whose style of play you admire or plays your position. Copy all of the things they do on the field and see if you can reenact them on your own.
See a Soccer Game Live
There's only so much you can learn from watching a game on TV. But if you see a game live you'll get a better idea of just how fast the game is played, quick one and two touch passes, and how intense a soccer game can be.
The idea with seeing a game live is to inspire and build up motivation. It wouldn't be surprising if you're knocking the ball around the house when you get back home after watching the game, imitating the moves you saw on the pitch.