What Not to Do When Playing Soccer: Show Offs, Attention Seekers, Cristiano Ronaldo Wannabes
In soccer, players who don’t know any better try to get away with doing certain things that in the long run they’re not going to get away with. These are those poorly instilled methods passed along by coaches who know no better themselves. These aren't soccer skills, rather, these types of plays or moves are evidence of a lack there of.
And they're signals: they mark the soccer players doing them as players who don’t know how to play, like white cleats used to back in the day, in many cases. Also, it's a message to watch out and avoid these particular players, as you're bound to receive a hospital ball or receive a boot to the mouth if you're playing near or around them.
Of course, there are exceptions, say if you’re Ronaldinho, and can pull off a bending toe punch shot from the top of the box against Chelsea. (Oh how I miss this old Ronaldinho tearing up La Liga with Barcelona)
The trick though, is to master all the fundamentals of the game and learn how to do the simple things perfectly before moving on to the tricky stuff and the showing off. Don't do something unless it helps your team is a good rule to follow.
Toe Punching – this is way old school, no one in their right mind would try to kick the ball with their toe unless they want to break it; however, there are those times where a last minute shot with the toe or a clearance with the toe are both smart and necessary. It's the whole other side of the deal, when you are an expert you can start to mess around a bit with the hard and fast rules. When you see Ryan Giggs for instance stretch out and toe the ball into the net. The rule is first master the fundamentals and then start to mess around the with game.
The Englishman or Brazilian Abroad - we've all played with them, those foreigners who show up at the park and think they can play the game just because they come from a country where the number one sport is soccer/football. They love to talk and talk and talk and tell you where and how to play the ball. But when it gets down to it they are serioulsy lacking in any actual skill.
The Praying Header – for some reason I saw a player clasp his hands together before he was about to head the ball; don’t think pray is going to help in this situation, better to losing the grasp of your hands and get your arms up for balance and to protect yourself. And oh yeah, how can you jab someone with the point of your elbow if you’re hands are locked in place? (For soccer coaches, really, there's no need for your players to head the ball until they are much older, say at least 14 or 15)
The Hard Kick – too often, way too often do you see a player try to blast the ball as hard as they can when they are in on goal and destined to score. Their eyes widen and they almost begin to celebrate as the line up to fire the ball into the net as hard as they can. Of course the ball ends up going miles over the goal. Rather than trying to rip the back of the net all the player had to do was pass the ball low and to the corner.
One Foot Dribble – if you’re not Ryan Giggs or Rivaldo, then use your other foot when you dribble and there’s a player closing you down. Some players feel like their weaker foot is so weak that they won’t even touch the ball with this foot. They might as well not even where a soccer shoe on that foot. But when they’re under pressure, and can’t keep the ball on their right foot, they usually do a kamikaze type of run as a last ditch effort. The least they could do was try to shield the ball and draw a foul.
The Constant Back Heeler – the back heel pass is a beautiful pass when it’s done right and when it’s done on that rare occasion when it’s needed, as in there’s no other way to get the ball to your teammate other than with a back heel. However, there are those players who feel like the heel pass is like the inside of the foot pass and just a regular part of their extensive repertoire of skills and they doll them out like candy throughout the game.
Cristiano Ronaldoing – yes, there are those players, mostly young players as old guys don’t have the energy to do so many moves and are smart enough to have learned that doing so many moves is a waste of time. These are the players who come to the park with the perfect shoes, the perfect hair and the perfect gear all around. They then proceed to do ten step overs and five spins and might even throw in an unnecessary back heel. They are more worried about how their hair gel looks and their shoes than what the score is.
Too Much Coerver - we are big believers in the Coerver Coaching method because it works for young players who are just learning how to play the game and get comfortable on the soccer ball. However, there are those folks who have over Coervered, if there's such a term. These are those players who dance on the ball and roll their foot over and around the ball but don't really go anywhere. If you're going to do a move, do it for a reason and don't over do it. Less is more. This is similar to the player who thinks they're Cristiano Ronaldo, just do the move and then beat the player, don't dance.
The Bicycle Kicker – this is the player who tries to pull off the bicycle kick like Pele whenever the ball enters the sphere of his space. It doesn’t matter if the ball is too high or even too low, they’ll try to pull off a bike on every occasion the ball comes their way, whether on defense or offense or near the goal or away from the goal. Watch out for this player. Don’t get too close, you might get kicked in the eye. Not everybody is Wayne Rooney and can score on a bike in the dying minutes of a game.
The Screamer - every play should call and shout for the ball. Every player on the field should want the ball. However, there's no place for players who scream constanly for the ball, especially if they're screaming and there not even open or not even making a good run. Yes, there are times you might have to shout or yell for the ball a bit more louder than usually, but there's really no need to make other players around you panic when you scream like there's a fire.
The Diver - if you are fouled then it will be obvious, there's no need to embellish or roll around like you see the players do in Italy. Sure, if you are in the box and get taken down then go down and draw the penalty. But holding on to your face like you've been punched or rolling around like you've been shot is just unnecessary.
The Bruiser - these are the players who masqarade as soccer players but are really thugs. Nigel De Jong might fall into this group at times, and he surely did during the World Cup in South Africa versus Spain. But good players know how to make a tough, hard challenge to send a message. Good players know how to hurt players and they avoid doing it. Tackles aren't made with studs up but with a bit more body or a shoulder. The bruiser is a player who goes in hard with the intention to hurt players and does it all the time. Why? Cause they don't know how to play the game. When someone's taking a shot you don't try to smash your foot down on the players shooting leg. If someone dribbles past you, you don't take out their ankles. These guys aren't hard men in the style of Roy Keane since all they know how to do is foul.
*Did we miss any types of 'soccer' players that need mention here? If so, let us know. Perhaps you've played with someone who just won't stop doing something that doesn't work and is almost embarrasing. And even when you show or tell them how to do that particular something differently that won't listen.