4 Basic Soccer Skills – You Should Start Practicing at the Drop of a Hat

John Lochert


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It is found in a recent poll by Gallup that soccer is the 3rd most popular game for American adults who are between the age of 30 and 50.

Every day, thousands of American youth and adults are getting themselves on the soccer field because it’s not just an excellent game to participate in, but it gives the body a perfect workout as well.

A significant segment of the audience is finding themselves watching or playing soccer more and more. So whether you want to be the next Messi or not, knowing the basic soccer skills will put you in a more advantageous position if you’re going to start playing soccer.

1. Passing

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The very first skill you will need is the ability to accurately pass the ball. Implementing proper technique helps you pass the ball with the highest accuracy which is, of course, a must-have skill for a soccer player.

First plant your standing foot close to the ball with your toe pointing toward the passing destination. Make sure it’s aimed directly at your target. Next, turn your passing foot at a 90-degree angle while putting up the inside of your foot for striking the ball. Then strike through the ball with the middle of the inside of your foot.

How to increase your passing skill

Practicing with a Partner

  • Ask your friend to practice passing with you. Try to keep the ball moving with one touch passes and use both of your feet to move the ball.
  • Gradually increase the speed and distance of the passes to raise the level of difficulty. As you improve the ball will be pinging back and forth quickly. So your feet should be in constant motion.
  • When you play the real game on the field, you often receive a pass from one direction and need to pass it in a different direction. In order to improve your angle passing, practice this drill with a partner. Set up cones around you with two to four feet of space among them. Each set of cones from a gate as your partner passes you the ball. Try passing the ball with one touch through each of the gates as many as you can.

Practicing without a Partner

  • While having a partner to practice passing is great, players often need to practice alone. Use any wall to pass the ball against and have it bounce back to you. It’s excellent for one-touch passing.
  • Use both your foot (left and right). Try to increase the distance and speed of your passes.

2. Shooting

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Shooting is a skill that you will need for scoring a goal and winning the game. Bring multiple soccer balls [read our review and buying guide. It may help you to find the best soccer ball for your practice], because it will help you to take more shots in less time. Touch to the side. It’s easier to shoot when the ball is rolling away from you. Touch the ball to the side then strike with power or curve. Choose your target before you strike the ball. Look up and decide where to shoot. Then look down at the ball while striking.

How to Shoot for Maximum Power

Always use the top of the foot because the maximum power of the shot comes from striking the ball with the top of your foot. Turn your ankle to make sure your laces are facing the ball each time you make contact. Use the top of your foot to tap against a wall gently. Repeat the exercise. Focus on hitting the ball with proper technique rather than power. Practice the shot power technique with both your right foot and your left foot.

How to Practice Shooting

Power Shots

Begin at least 10 yards from the wall. Touch the ball to the side. Then use the top of your foot to strike the ball with power. Control the ball as it returns. Then repeat the procedure.

Target Shooting

Practice your shooting accuracy by setting up targets. Begin at least ten yards from the wall. Choose a target then use the power shot technique to strike it as firmly as you can. Control the ball after each shot using your hands if necessary. Then put the ball on the ground. Choose the next target and repeat the practice.

Side Netting

A well-powered shoot into the side netting is difficult for goalkeepers to save. Aiming for this area during training will help you score more goals in real games.

3. Juggling

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When you are learning the juggling with the upper body for the first time, better use your hands to throw the ball up to your head. It is quite obvious you will find it difficult for the first few attempts. But at times with consistent practicing, you will be improving for sure. You will start 5 touches to 10 touches or more eventually.

Practicing while having your teammate or friend for upper body juggling is a great way to master this drill. Start while standing a few yards apart and with the ball in your hands.

Throw the ball to your partner’s hand then keep the ball up by heading it back and forth. Overtime increases the distance between partners. Bend your knees and keep your feet moving quickly to improve your ability to head the ball accurately to your partner.

What’s next?

Now if you have got control of your upper and lower body, try starting the full body juggling. Begin by bringing the ball up to your knees using your feet, then up to your head. After that, to let the ball back down to your feet from your head use your knees and shoulders.

4. Dribbling

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It is very critical to use different types of dribbling for different situations when approaching defenders. Most dribblers take short touches to keep the ball close to their feet. We call this type of dribbling the nudge.

The nudge allows moving forward with speed while holding the ball close to you. Use the top of your foot near your toes to push the ball forward by keeping the ball within one to two feet. With each touch makes it difficult for defenders to steal the ball allowing you to dribble through defenses more easily.

When you have more space taking longer touches enables you to move forward at greater speed. We call this type of dribbling mid-range dribbling. Your touches keep the ball within three to five feet as you move forward.

Dribbling is most useful when you have large amounts of space between yourself and defenders.

When you find a significant amount of space behind the defense, a long touch can help you accelerate away from opponents and potentially create a goal-scoring opportunity.

Final Words

The skills of soccer are a bit difficult to grasp initially because people are mostly hand-dominated and the basic soccer skills that we are talking about here are done using the foot (Soccer is a foot game after all). So it is better if you start it at a younger age. However, with proper instructions and mentoring, even adults can take up the challenge to master these necessary soccer skills.