Football is the world’s biggest sport and with so many people playing it from such a young age, the competition to make it as a professional is immense.
Regardless of age or ability, becoming a better footballer is something every player wants. The beauty of most sports is there’s always room for improvement, no matter how good you may already be and football isn’t an acception.
So how do you become a better footballer? Pre-season is the perfect time to try and ready yourself for the new season and making the most of this time could be what elevates you to becoming a better player.
1. Practice, practice & practice
To become a good player, you need to be able to have a great first touch. Being able to control the ball close to your body, with both feet, will make a significant difference to your game and ultimately, your first touch dictates what your next move is going to be.
explains how he practised his first touch when he was younger:
“When I was a little kid my dad used to throw the ball up as high as possible and I would try and bring it down, with my left foot and then my right foot.”
He added, “I’d play out the front of the house, kicking the ball against the wall, left foot, right foot, over and over again. If you keep working on it, working on it, working on it, eventually it will come.”
Shelvey is now playing in the Premier League, so if something as simple as this made him a better footballer then it can certainly work for you too.
Academies and development squads will often get you kicking a ball against the wall before every training session for a number of minutes, taking it in turns with both feet to improve your touch.
The video below shows you how to practice your first touch and the variety of touches you can use in a game situation.
Weak foot ability
One significant way to get better at football is to become confident using your weaker foot, an asset than can even hinder some professional’s at times.
This is a skill that can separate you from plenty of other footballers and if you can strengthen your weaker foot from an early age, the chances of you becoming a great footballer will be increased.
Again, something as simple as kicking and controlling a ball against a wall with your weaker foot will definitely be beneficial for you. It’s often the case that players rely on their natural foot for years, so trying to then use your other foot more often will be difficult at first but continuous practice will enable you to develop your weaker foot quickly.
Getting your coach to set up drills in training where you have to use your left foot can also be key, simple passing and shooting drills as well as making you use your weaker foot in a practice game will give you the confidence to take that into a real game scenario.
Different positions will need to strengthen their non-dominant foot in contrasting ways. For example, it isn’t much of a necessity for a centre back to be able to be able to finesse the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards out, something that is essential for a striker.
They will be more worried about having the power and accuracy of a pass or clearance to get them out of potentially dangerous situations, having to switch back to their stronger foot because they’re not confident on their weaker foot could prove to be costly.
talk about how important it is to be able to use your weaker foot and how he still feels he can improve his.