These words ring true when it comes to developing skills as a soccer player. Whether a player has started at a very young age or when he or she is older, one can become a good and even great player in a number of ways in no particular order.
1. Practice, practice, practice. A common motivational phrase that is heard over and over among athletes is that someone is always practicing when you are not practicing. Someone is always working harder than you right now to develop the skills that you are trying to develop.
2. Develop a passion for the game of soccer. Although many who are not fans find watching soccer on television to be a boring sport to watch, it is in fact one of the most intense and yet graceful sports played. It is important to watch great soccer players play and see how they move with and without the soccer ball. This will help a player to start to read the field as a spectator and develop their “Soccer IQ” when playing.
3. Never shy away from playing against better competition, whether that be in a competitive setting or a pick up game where a group of players gets together to play. Playing against great competition forces all players participating to lift their level of play and performance. Playing against and with great players causes one to learn very quickly what speed they need to play as well as how to read the game more quickly.
4. Stay POSITIVE! Develop a “tough skin” with coaches, players, and most importantly yourself. Lots of mistakes are made on the field by all players and the more a player can forget the mistake and try their best, the more fun he or she will have on the field. Research has shown that players who continually maintain a positive outlook and optimism think quicker, are more physically capable, and even are more resilient to negativity and injuries. In other words, staying positive allows healing in half the time than would be otherwise. It also improves cognitive capabilities.