It is very simple to look at soccer in a reductionist way. The cynical will say that it is just a bunch of people kicking a ball around. Mechanically, that is the case, but when you begin to consider just what kind of skills go into becoming a success in this sport, you’ll look at it completely differently, and will soon realize that footballers don’t get their money for nothing. Here are a few essential soccer skills you need.
Awareness of Space
The field is the size that it is not to make the game longer, it is a fundamental challenge of the game that reduces the amount of success that a player can have with a lucky shot. It is nearly impossible to score kicking the ball from the middle of the field. This means that it is essential for each player to be able to tell how much distance is between them and their teammates, and opposing players, to apply the right amount of force to the ball. This is both a talent sought after in soccer players, and a skill that one can cultivate through experience. It is, in a way, an intuitive understanding of the physics of the game, that allows you to play with precision and win as a result.
The ability to pass the ball to other players is perhaps an obvious skill, but it is hard to overstate its importance. On your own, you can be fast and have the stamina to run non-stop for the entirety of the game, but if you can’t pass the ball, you won’t be much use to the team in general. There are eleven of you out there. You must be able to pass the ball accurately to moving players. This involves knowing what force to apply to the ball and anticipating where the teammate will be when the ball reaches them. Sniper-precision players who may not be the superstars of the team are extremely valuable to overall success because players will tend to pass the ball to them in tough situations, knowing they will redirect the ball well.
Control of the Ball
This is fundamental and requires hundreds of hours of practice to get right. Ball control is the ability to run with the ball almost as if it is attached to you. It refers to your ability to receive it, and not just with your feet; to be able to run with it as fast as you can, with sharp changes in direction; and the ability to protect it from opponents who will constantly attempt to kick it out from under your feet. If you have ever observed a soccer practice, you will note that much of it looks monotonous, as players do repetitive maneuvers with the ball on their own and with other players. This kind of training is essential before any tactical skills can be gained, because without having a sixth sense of the ball, tactical knowledge is impossible to apply.