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Good Soccer Skills
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 Most young soccer players work on learning moves and tricks they can do with the soccer ball and think because the can do those things, they think that they possess good soccer skills. My thoughts on that are very different. I have watched many soccer games where a player will make move after move bringing the ball up field and never see their teammate standing wide open on the backside of the field. Good soccer skills are not just being able to handle the ball, but also knowing the game, knowing when to dribble and when to pass. I'm going to show you what I mean.

As a first year coach I spent several practices just teaching my players how to handle the ball and totally over looking the concept of ball movement. Needless to say we did not do very well that season. So I took to studying the game and found that good soccer skills are way more than just being able to dribble. A player (and a coach) needs to understand how to move the ball using the field and all the players to their advantage. You have to know when to pass and when to dribble, when to keep it close to you and when you can use the distance to get the speed to go by an opponent. Seeing the field and knowing you teammates ability as well as sizing up your opponent is another key aspect of good soccer skills.

 Say for instance you have an opponent that is very fast and aggressive toward the ball, a player with good soccer skills with notice this and use that to their advantage by waiting just long enough and then passing the ball to a teammate thus taking the defender out of the picture. All to often at the younger age levels I see players try to dribble past the defender only to lose the ball. As the player matures and developes good soccer skills that play becomes a pass and the ball is moved forward toward the goal.

 By identifying the speed and movement of your teammates and opponents you will know when and where to pass the ball good soccer skills as well as where the ball should be passed. Passing a ball too hard will not give the desired results you were looking for, to soft and it doesn't get to your teammate. Good soccer skills will improve your field vision and awareness and allow you to use the field and teammates to your advantage. Good soccer skills need to be worked on just as much as the ball handling abilities, its more of a mental aspect than a physical one. By researching and even watching film or live games you can pick up a great deal of information. While a fan will watch a game to see what  their  favorite player or their child can do a coach will watch the entire field to see the strength an weaknesses of his team and his opponents.

There are of course handling the ball is a major part of soccer, being able to pass the ball to an open area or to another player is important (as is the ability to receive it), I believe it all starts with good soccer skills. So players, coaches, parents and fans should spend a little time and grasp the concept of good soccer skills. Keep on playing!


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