If you have dreams of being the next Messi or Ronaldo, you probably already know that you need a great deal of talent to go along with the practice you'll have to put in. Even if your dreams are more modest, becoming a terrific footballer takes dedication. Read on for four things that can help you reach your soccer goals.
Sure you need a good shoe bag that will keep your cleats from stinking up your garage, but besides your basic gear and a set of cones and a ball, there's a lot of good equipment out there that will maximize your return on your practice sessions. Look for goal-shot trainers. These screens placed over the goal have openings only at the spots where you're four times more likely to slide that ball past the goalie, the four corners. Practice your straight shots or learn to bend it like Beckham. If you're doing a lot of practice on your own, consider investing in a training soccer ball, a ball on a cord that allows you to practice receiving passes, or a ball rebounder that keeps your training on the footwork, not running after balls.
Besides dedication to improving your technical skills, don't forget to train your whole body. While a professional soccer field is about the same length as an American football field, there's a lot more running. Games stop for almost nothing so expect to be running for 45 minutes straight in each half. Use interval training for increased speed and endurance. Practice regular strength training to improve muscle tone and reduce the likelihood of injury. Plyometric exercises with short sharp bursts of motion will build your fast-twitch muscle fibers giving you more speed and agility. Soccer is a game that demands both endurance and agility, so train accordingly.
In soccer, as in the rest of life, a lot of success is reliant on setting goals and then focusing on achieving them. When you don't set specific goals, you aren't working toward anything and it can leave you floundering, doing decently but perhaps not as well as you'd like. Only by setting yourself a finish line can you map out how to get there. Once you achieve that first goal, it's time to set new ones. Consider setting shorter-term goals and an overarching long-term goal. Jaime Penedo of L.A. Galaxy and goalkeeper for the Panamanian World Cup team said he reached a point in his youth where he was at university but also pursuing soccer. He finally had to decide where to focus his energies to make the most of his opportunities.
Whether you're looking to make it to a particular college team or make the jump to the pros, it's imperative to make connections and find ways to get scouted while you're playing at the high school or local league level. While scouts are less common in the US than in countries with strong professional soccer leagues, there are still ways to increase your odds. The first is to make sure the team you're on is a winning team. If you are serious about having soccer pay for your college or even your life, find the best team in your city, not the one with your friends. Then, let people know about it. Post to your social media not only about your soccer successes but about the kind of person you are. Share about volunteering, your good grades, what you love. Let scouts see the whole package. Finally, participate in camps and tournaments to increase your exposure.
Fulfilling your soccer dreams is a matter of determination and investment. It will take a lot of time and sometimes quite a bit of money to make sure you're the best and that you're in the right places to be seen, but reaching your goal can mean a lifetime of doing what you love.
Publish Date: June 3, 2021 6:14 PM