General | June 5, 2023

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Soccer Skills

If you’ve decided you’re ready to join a social soccer league but you want to improve your skills before the first game, you are certainly not alone. In fact, many people take a few weeks before the start of the league to hone their kicking, passing, dribbling, and more. Below are five ways to improve your skills before your very first social soccer league game.

#1 – Juggling
Juggling is the practice of using your head and feet to improve your ability to control the ball. Remember that in soccer, you cannot use your arms or hands to manipulate the ball, so you will need to be able to coordinate other parts of your body to juggle, pass, and more. The best way to do this involves starting with one foot and trying to gently juggle the ball by moving it just a few inches into the air. When you feel confident with this, do the same with the other foot. Then, swap feet every few kicks, and finally, try kicking the ball higher and using your head in the juggling mix. This is a skill you can work on in your backyard or anywhere you have a few feet of space.

#2 – Dribbling
Whereas juggling is all about ball control and learning coordination, dribbling is about learning the skills you need to move the ball down the soccer field without surrendering control to your opponent. Though you need a bit more room to practice this skill, it is entirely possible to practice it in your backyard or even at a park. To do it, set up cones in a line with just a few feet between them, then try to move the ball around the cones while keeping it as close to your body as possible. Keep practicing over and over until you can move quickly down the length of the area and you do not lose control of the ball at any point.

#3 – Trapping
Trapping is the act of essentially catching the ball out of midair, and it’s a bit trickier to learn than juggling or dribbling, but it is a great skill to practice prior to your first game. Kick the soccer ball as high as you can without forfeiting control, then use the very top of your foot (called “laces” in soccer jargon) to help settle the ball to the ground, all while maintaining complete control. The goal is to trap the ball with your laces without allowing it to bounce either off your foot or away from you. When you master this skill, you’ll be able to trap the ball successfully with a single step and make a move with your very next.

#4 – Passing
Passing can be tricky to practice on your own, but you can practice your aim and your form in your backyard. Put a cone, another ball, or some other similarly-sized object roughly 10 yards away from you to signify the position of your teammate in the game. This object should replicate the size of a teammate’s foot. Then, from a distance of at least 10 yards, try to hit the cone or ball straight-on along the ground. If you miss, try again. Once you can make the 10-yard pass on the ground, try to pass it in the air. This is what soccer players refer to as a “perfect” pass and it’s an essential skill for those who want to master the game.

#5 – Using the Wall as a Helper
Finally, you can kick the soccer ball against a sturdy wall as part of your at-home soccer drills, and there are several things you can do to improve your skills here. First, use some washable chalk to mark an X the size of a soccer ball on wall at various places, then try to hit those marks from different angles and distances. You can also run up to the ball and kick it from a distance to try to hit a mark; this is great for practicing things like bending the ball and kicking goals.

Though the rules of soccer are relatively easy to understand, mastering this sport takes years of practice. These five skills are the perfect starting point, and mastering them will have you on your way to being one of the most valuable players on your outdoor soccer league. Click here to view all outdoor soccer leagues Boston Ski & Sports Club offers.