You're not satisfied with average. You push harder than everyone else in practice. When the pressure's on, you're the one pulling a few miracles on the field.
But it's a big world out there, with thousands of players just like you or better competing in soccer camps and tournaments every day and growing stronger. So how can you take your game to the next level?
Take Your Training Home
At age 18 or 19, your average pro has been exposed to roughly 10,000 hours of contact with the ball. To achieve that, you're looking at a minimum of three to four hours of practice every day. So realistically, you'll be doing a lot on your own. Being involved in practice is not enough--it's important to practice by yourself to really hone your skills.
Training for Control
As much as possible, be in contact with a ball. This may sound basic, but it should always be the focus. We teach our soccer camps' players to dominate from the first touch, deaden a ball that seems beyond your control, and make every pass hit the right person.
When you're at home in the backyard, get the ball and juggle. You can start on a hard surface at first, or juggling next to a wall. Start simple: juggle twice, then let the ball bounce. Juggle three to four times and let it bounce again. Pay attention to how it feels to properly lift the ball. Build up your touch and start moving to the grass.
At our soccer camps, we notice some players catch on faster with ball control than others. Don't skip this if you find it difficult. If you keep practicing, you will improve this skill. We've got some great videos of players showing off their juggling skills at edukick.com if you need inspiration. Practice your passing technique by doing long and short passing exercises with friends outside of school or at recess during school.
Our soccer camps' players train for hours every day on ball handling. When you do this, you start to get a feel for the ball and gain muscle memory. That way, when the ball is flying in your direction you don't even think about how to handle it. It's instinct. This gives you an edge on the field.
Boosting Your Mental Game
It takes more than just physical ability to win games. Pro teams focus on mental strength and attitude as well. In our soccer camps, we teach players to concentrate only on the game, and not let other thoughts clutter their mind. Focused players are not distracted by the crowd, their parents, or any other non-related issues.
Maintaining a positive attitude during the game keeps you from missing perfectly good shots under stress. Instead of second-guessing yourself, use imagery techniques to perfect your skills in your mind's eye. Visualize yourself performing the moves flawlessly. This can also help you learn new skills faster.
This mental strength and preparation makes a difference towards the end of the game when your body starts to get tired. That's when you need to maintain that focus and confidence so you don't make mistakes.
With dedication, you can start pushing forward to realizing your potential as a soccer player. You'll gain confidence as you become a better player, becoming a crucial asset to your team. And of course, you'll start seeing improvement when it really counts – on the pitch during season play.
If you're truly ready to move your soccer game to the next level, you should seek out professional training. In the meantime, check out our blog for more soccer tips and tricks.