How to Become a Better Footballer in 2021

There is no defined path, or specific strategy, to be good at something. It takes a combination of natural talent, discipline, hard work, intelligence, and a bit of fortune to be very good. To learn how to become a better footballer involves improving every aspect of your game, so here are the most pivotal areas to help you become a more advanced professional.

How to Become a Better Footballer

Practice a lot

To become a better footballer, practice is of paramount importance, but don’t just practice juggling the ball, dribbling or learning tricks, practice the basics! These are the things you see the most in a professional game, like passing the ball, receiving the ball, shooting, tackling, first touch, running with the ball, and positioning yourself well on the field.

There are a lot of players who are amazing at freestyle soccer, yet don’t know why they aren’t playing for a professional team. This is because coaches and managers are not looking for the guy who can do the most tricks, rather they look for ones who will improve their team. Ones who who pass the ball well, for example, are those considered as better footballers.

In general, they are not looking for the next Messi; they are looking for a Xavi or a De Rossi, a Terry, a Diego Costa and players of this mold. This players, although talented, help the team with more “generic” or “normal” virtues.

Xavi is one of the best players in history, and he is much more discreet in his game than Messi, Maradona or Pelé. He knows how, when, to whom, and where to pass as well as receive the ball. He didn’t head the ball, score many goals, run fast, dribble at 100 mph, or tackle Cristiano Ronaldo. He only knew how to pass the ball, how to receive it, and how to hide it, and he has been one of the best players ever, yet passing is a basic skill.

Analyze specific players

You can study:

  • Your favorite players,
  • Players that have similar physical and technical qualities to you,
  • Players that play in the same position as you, and
  • Players similar to your toughest opponents.

When studying other players to help you become a better footballer, scrutinise for the following details,

  1. Analyze how they touch the ball, pass, shoot, cross, tackle, intercept, dribble, and try to copy it.
  2. We usually like and try to imitate players that we like but that don’t have many similarities with us, and we end up having a hard time at trying to be like them. Your favorite player might be Beckham, or Messi, and although trying to imitate them might improve some aspects of your game, when you realize you are a little more like Suárez, for example, you will definitely start playing better.
  3. Learn from different players in your position. There are a great variety of midfielders, whose virtues, duties, and tasks vary greatly, yet they’re still great. Gerrard, Zidane, or Mascherano are very different, but each of them has something that you can add to your game.
  4. Learning the strenghts and weaknesses of your opponents can help you defeat them more easily and more often. Study how defenders usually beat forwards, how midfielders control each other, and how attackers score goals.

Join a Team

Not just any team can mold you into becoming a better player, but it is beneficial to join a team that has connections to a pro club or an academy, even if it’s just the name. More importantly, join a team that trains regularly, that plays in a league with other teams, that has a coach, good players, etc. That way you can learn a lot, improve yourself and become a better footballer.

Become noticeable by becoming the best defender, or passer, or goalscorer, or by playing well consistently and especially when someone is scouting in that league (it happens a lot).

Ask Your Coach and Fellow Players What Helping Hand You Can Render 

The better footballers aren’t the ones wanting to show off or win a game by themselves; the best are those who help the team in what the team needs at any given moment. Xavi, Puyol, Modric, Keane, are the kind of players that teams need.

You’d think that Messi is so great because he plays for himself, but what most people don’t realize is that he is amazing at helping the team. Whenever his teams lack build up, he helps with that; if It’s creating chances, he creates them; if it’s finishing off moves, well, you know what happens. Even if It’s defending, he is one of the fiercest in pressing or tackling at his prime.

Watch as many football games as you can

But don’t only watch the goals and best plays; study and analyze the games. Ask yourself and try to answer questions like “Who was the dominant team on the pitch?”, “Who was the most dangerous team?”, “Who was the prominent passer on each team?”, “Who did he pass the ball to the most?”, “Where did the players position themselves when having the ball?”, “When did they position themselves when not having the ball?”, “Where did their attacks came from?”, etc, this are questions that enlighten your path to becoming a better footballer.

Focus not only on Technique, but on Tactics

Basic technique is essential for playing well, but since you’re playing for a team and against another team, knowing tactics and strategy can make the difference in a sport where a lot of players don’t know enough about it.

Xabi Alonso and Busquets (although their technique is superb), are so important for their teams because they’re two of the most tactical and intelligent players around. They understand positioning, their duties, where other players make the difference, and how to unbalance the opposing team.

Eat well, Sleep well, Train well

Most people don’t understand the sacrifice and hard work it takes to be a professional athlete; they think athletes were just born talented or got lucky and suddenly they’re playing at one of the richest clubs. Professional footballers (and athletes in general) have a balanced and strict diet, sleep 8 hours a day, train for 3, don’t party, drink alcohol, or smoke, from their youth. This might just be difference between an average and better footballer.

Teams don’t like Romarios (the drinking, smoking Romario), which means you have to always take care of your body and your mind.

A very big percentage of footballers have to give up other important things in life at a fairly young age, such as living near their families, or school. Unfortunately, in most of the world, football isn’t similar in USA sports in that they recruit players from college or make them study.

In football, many times comes the difficult situation in which you have to choose between school and football, especially in Africa.

Source: Quora

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