How to Get Better at Soccer

Like most athletes, a lot of professional soccer players have intensely trained from a young age, but there’s no need to be discouraged!

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to improve your soccer skills at a later stage. It’ll take some hard work and discipline, but if you’re eager to get stuck in, you’ll start seeing improvements pretty soon. 

Getting Started 

You don’t need fancy equipment to become a better soccer player.


Although it’s nice to have the right equipment, waiting around until you have to start doing certain exercises can actually hinder your progress.

With soccer, it’s pretty easy to get creative with how you train. 

For example, a rebounder can be an expensive piece of equipment, but you don’t actually need one. Using walls to practice passes and touches works just as well.

It may not be great for your ball, but most professionals started out in their own backyards. There are so many more ways in which you can be creative with what is around you.

No cones? Use rocks. Need someone to practice your headers with? Ask a household member like a parent or sibling. 

One of the most important things you can have is love for the sport. If you’re passionate, and you’re dedicated to getting better, the improvements will come quickly.

There’s no point training yourself to be better at a sport that you have little interest in. 



Work on Improving and Maintaining Your Fitness 

Soccer can be a pretty exhausting sport. You need to be fit enough to stay active for 45 minutes at a time.

To put it in perspective, soccer pitches are around 90-120m in length and 45-90m in width. So you’ll need to be fit enough to run around for long periods of time.

In addition to stamina, you’ll have to have some pretty strong legs to kick around a soccer ball with precision and control.

To build your fitness up, consider heading to the gym. Here you can focus on strength and conditioning exercises.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re doing some cardio, so hop on the treadmills (alternatively you can go for a run without the need of a gym membership).

Another great way to build up your leg muscles is to have a go at cycling. It can be quite an intense activity, but if you cycle regularly you’ll find the muscles in your legs will become quite strong. 

Also, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating enough to keep your energy levels up. After training, workouts and games it’s important you eat some protein.

This will repair your muscles after they’ve been strained. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, but avoid eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates. 

Practice Ball Control

This might be a pretty obvious piece of advice, but you’d be surprised at how many soccer players don’t put time into practicing their control of the ball. 

If you’re not confident enough to maintain control of the ball, dribbling the ball in and out of cones and practicing travelling with the ball just in front of your feet are key training techniques.

They’ll help build your control and get you used to keeping your feet on the ball.

Work on Your Foot Skills 

In soccer, your first touch is crucial, and this is what separates good soccer players apart from average players.

Being able to stop the ball at your feet will set you up nicely for your next move – whether that’s passing, dribbling or shooting, you need to gain control of the ball first.

To work on “trapping” the ball, there’s a few different things you can try, but you’ll need to enlist the help of a friend. 

Firstly, try close-range one-touch passing. Once you get used to stopping the ball, try keeping it in motion.

When the ball reaches your feet, get used to keeping the ball moving by passing it straight back.

It can be hard to return an accurate pass at first, but once you build this skill up defenders will have a hard time trying to steal the ball from you during matches. 

Secondly, try gaining control of the ball whilst it has some height to it. Get a partner to throw or cross the ball in the air towards you.

You can only have two touches – the first to settle the ball and the second to pass the ball back. 

Thirdly, work on passing and shooting whilst running. Once again get a friend to feed you the ball whilst you’re running.

You’ll want to time your first touch so that you will be able to shoot or pass on the second touch whilst maintaining your stride. 

Learning to control the ball in motion is an important skill to work on for competitive matches. 

Train Regularly

Just like any skill, soccer requires regular practice, but that’s the only way you’ll be able to improve. 

You might want to consider joining a local team. Training with a club can be really beneficial, as you know you have a regular time to dedicate to soccer.

Also, it’s always good to play soccer with other people. Not only will you learn from each other, you’ll spend time with people who have the same goal as you – this will help you keep motivated. 

Training with a club can also help you figure out what your weaknesses are and how you can work on them, which brings us on to the next point.

Listen to Feedback 

Ignoring tips and advice from others won’t get you anywhere, and most of the time these people are only trying to help you.

Whether it’s a coach, friend or family member that points out something you’re doing wrong, don’t get defensive!

Take a look at what they’ve pointed out, and if it’s not quite working, then you know that you need to work on it. 

Play in a Local League 

Even if you aren’t thinking of going pro, there are a lot of benefits to joining a local league. For starters, it gives you the chance to train and play regularly.

You may be able to pull off some fancy moves in your backyard, but playing a game against a rival team is a different story.

Playing in league matches will be a challenge, but the competitive spirit will motivate you to keep improving. 

As soccer is a team sport, you’ll learn to communicate and collaborate on and off the field.

Soccer is all about the team as much as it is the individual, so if you want to be a better soccer player, you’ll want to learn how to be a team player too. 

Consider also playing indoor soccer or futsal, even in pick-up games. These small-sided versions of soccer are faster and will help you develop better ball control and decision-making skills, which will level up your outdoor soccer game.

Hire a Soccer Coach 

If you’re looking to improve quickly, investing in a one-to-one soccer coach will help you get those fast results.

However, hiring a personal coach comes at a pretty hefty cost. Any team coach you work with can give you just as much guidance as a personal coach. 

Create Personal Goals 

Setting yourself goals isn’t just a way to motivate yourself, but is also a way in which you can track your progression.

By keeping track you’ll be able to see where you’re excelling and where you’re falling behind. You can then adjust your training and schedule so you can spend time improving on certain skills.

If you have an idea of where you want to get to, make a plan. Follow along and add to it when needed. 

Don’t Just Train, Study

Soccer isn’t just about physicality, it’s about tactics and strategies too. If you’re dedicated to getting better, you need to pour a lot of your time into doing so.

Reading about soccer, talking to other players and watching games are all ways in which you can learn new strategies and tactics. 

The best teams are the ones who know how to outwit their opponents. If you can tactically overpower your opponents, you’ll triumph time and time again. 

Watch the Game for Enjoyment 

Like most hobbies, if you spend too long obsessing at being great at them, you’ll notice your interest slipping away. So, make sure you’re enjoying the game away when you’re off the field too.

Get tickets to professional matches and bring some friends and family along.

Not only will you be able to witness some great soccer skills from the pros, you’ll have a good time and enjoy yourself – which is just as important as the training.