By Michael Shanks
How important is physical ability in soccer? Is height is a critical trait for soccer players? Not really, but in the modern game it’s becoming quite useful. Overall though, soccer is a sport in which small men can and do flourish at the highest level. Truly what’s most important for soccer players is coordination and control of one’s body.
Just look at top soccer players like Xavi, Iniesta and Silva – all Spanish soccer stars who are quite short. Oh yeah, then there’s a player called Lionel Messi, who certainly isn’t tall. In fact, Messi being smallish make him harder to knock off the ball since he has a lower level center of gravity.
Soccer is an incredible sport in which players of all sizes may rise to prominence, also augmenting its accessibility to everyone who wants to learn how to master the ball at their feet.
However, in today’s professional level, tall soccer players are an important part of your team when it comes to winning head balls in the back and scoring goals off of corner kicks.
Then there’s a player like forward Peter Crouch from England who uses his height to his advantage on corners, but he’s also is very skillful with the soccer ball at his feet. In the top image, Crouch is out jumping the keeper to score.
But the beauty of soccer is it doesn’t matter how tall or strong you are. The most important factor is how good you’re with the soccer ball. While it’s useful in the modern game to have strength and size, it is still skill on the ball that wins out over everything else. And that’s really what makes soccer the greatest sport in the world.
Peter Crouch might look like a stick figure out there on the soccer pitch, so tall that it doesn’t seem like he should have any soccer skills with his feet, but he can score both with his head and on the volley. But yes, Crouch is very tall for a footballer!
Of course speed kills, as they say. Fast players have a huge advantage in soccer. And even soccer players with less skill can become a critical factor if they have amazing speed. Speed breaks defenses down like no other strategy. But, as you get to the highest levels of the game, there’s no replacement for ball skills and the pace of the ball. Just watch how fast Barcelona move the ball around the pitch with their passing style of play.
As they say, the soccer ball never gets tired. Even a soccer player with great speed has to have great touch and the ability to dribble, cut and avoid defenders. This of course takes dedication and practice – hours spent with the ball on your own juggling, dribbling and learn new skills.
Again, the beauty of soccer is that your physical ability, the body you’re born with, does have an impact, but just about everything can be overcome with dedication to the ball, mastering it and improving your fundamental soccer skills. Remember, the greatest player in the world, Lionel Messi, was deemed too small when he first started playing the game.
That’s the beauty of the game, while physical ability and let’s say your genes are important, soccer is about your touch and skill on the ball. If you spend time with the ball and working on your game you can play at a very high level no matter how fast or tall or big you are physically.
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