Tips to Train on Your Own

Any soccer player who wants to develop their skills needs to know what they can do on their own to speed up the process. Not only can you work on the basic skills of soccer, you also get a chance to work on more advanced moves. Certain techniques are tougher on some players more than others, so solo drills can be become extremely valuable when trying to master those techniques.

Below are just a few of the ways that soccer players can train on their own.

Just You and the Ball: Working on Control

how to train by yourself

No matter what position you play in soccer, you have to have good ball control to be able to improve the other parts of your game. These solo drills can either be dribbling the ball certain distances while alternating feet, or they can be just moving the ball side to side.

The most important thing that you should pay attention to while working on ball control is making sure that you get the best touch possible. Every time the ball touches either of your feet, make sure that you hit it with the right amount of power and that you cushion is properly.

The reason why these solo ball control drills can be great for your in-game performances is because you learn to focus the right way. With your teammates around you, you may be tempted to do too much or simply cant focus enough on improving. While youre alone, you can put all of the time that you need to into improving your dribbling and control. Concur your mental by checking out our article How to Become a Soccer Player with a Winners Mentality.

Solo Wall Drills

Ask any experienced soccer player about training on your own and they will tell you that walls can be your best friends. The wall will kick the ball back to you in any sort of way, and it is always there when you need to run some solo soccer drills!

Some of the best wall drills to do are simple control drills. You can kick the ball low and hard off of the wall to attempt some tougher traps, or you can kick it a bit lighter to try to redirect the ball in a certain direction.

Again, make sure that you use both feet when doing solo wall drills.

Solo Cone Drills

Whats great about cone drills is that you can use most of the same ones you use in practice on your own. If you find yourself not getting through these drills in practice, get a couple of cones (or any other markers) so you can work on them on your own. Soon enough you will have no issues doing these drills in practice, and you can continue to master them on your own time.

The majority of cone drills were created to help players work on their agility, so if this is a weakness in your game, you should definitely use them. For example, if you dont move from side to side very well when you kick the ball with your weak foot, then focus on that part of the drill when youre doing cone drills on your own.

Watch Professional Games

Watching other people play wont have an immediate impact on your game, but it can certainly help you understand the game a bit better. Remember that soccer is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, so you can certainly do a lot to improve yourself as a soccer player if you watch how the pros play.

The best way to get something out of watching professional teams play is to focus on players who play in your position. Watch the way they move while they dont have the ball, and also pay attention to how they play defense. You dont necessarily have to try to play exactly like those players, but you will easily be able to see what your current weaknesses are so you can improve them.

Soccer Tips for Beginners

Starting your life as a soccer player can be pretty intimidating, but there are plenty of things that you can do to speed up your progress. The worst thing that you can do is go in without a plan, which is exactly why we put this list together.

Below you will find seven very important tips that will help you develop into the soccer player that you want to become.

1. Always Have a Plan

It doesnt matter if you are on the practice field or in a game situation, you simply have to plan ahead to give yourself the best chance to succeed. Without a plan, you will greatly slow your development because you will be putting more effort into making things up as you go.

If youre practicing, you should know exactly why you are doing each drill to better understand what you need to improve. For example, if you are working on penalty kicks, you should be thinking about where you want the ball to go rather than on what the goalkeeper is going to do.

2. Focus on Team Defense First

It is tough for new soccer players to put more work in on defense than on offense, but the truth is that doing so can actually make you better on both sides of the ball. Good defense also leads to the best offensive chances, so players who are less interested in defense can see it as a chance to get the ball back for their teams.

Defense is also the best way to develop chemistry with your teammates. There arent too many better feelings in sports than knowing that you accomplished a tough task as a team, and you will see that the teams with the best defensive chemistry are often near the top of the standings in their leagues.

3. Work Hard Off the Ball

You simply have to work hard to get better, and that includes when you dont have the ball at your feet. Some players save all of their effort for when they receive a pass, but that is a very small part of the game.

When your teammates have the ball, always work on getting into the best position possible for your specific position. Doing so will open up the field for your team and will greatly increase your possession numbers.

4. Take Pride in Knowing Your Teams Tactics

Many new players put most of their focus on what they need to work on as individuals rather than focusing on becoming a good team player. You need to realize early on that you have a better chance of improving quicker when you get a full understanding of your coachs tactics.

It’s a good idea to learn about all of the most popular formations, but you especially want to know the ones that your coach uses.

5. Dont Try to Be Perfect

It is true that you should want to be the very best soccer player that you can be, but that does not mean that you should put an extraordinary amount of pressure on yourself. Your main focus should be on developing into a better player, which means that you should recognize your weaknesses and slowly improve upon them.

6. Learn to Want the Ball

Unless you were born to play soccer (no one was), you will probably be a bit nervous when you first start playing. Your instinct may be to get the ball to more experienced players as quickly as possible, but that is the wrong mental approach to have.

You wont have too much talent when you first start out in soccer, but that is okay. As long as you keep wanting to get the ball at your feet, you will keep getting better with time.

7. Stay Positive

No matter what happens on the soccer field, you should always be learning (How to Become a Soccer Player with a Winners Mentality). Having a positive mindset will enable you to learn from your mistakes quicker and will give your teammates a boost as well. When you stay positive through all of the good and the bad things that happen on the field, you will see that you will make fewer mistakes in future games.

Avoid Being Offside in Soccer

One of the most frustrating things in soccer is being caught offside when your team could have had a great opportunity to score. This is why it is extremely important that you are a composed player at all times and take advantage of those types of opportunities.

Below are a few tips that every soccer player should get to know if they want to consistently stay onside.

Timing Your Runs

No matter where you are on the field, you always want to time your runs to keep the defense off balance and to give your teammates the best passing options possible. This takes some practice, but over time you will become more comfortable with the other players on your team and with the formations that your team uses.

One of the easiest ways to have well-timed runs is to recognize when your teammates have a good passing opportunity. If you notice that there is space in front of you that your teammate can pass into, then it might be a great time to run into that space. If you are running toward the middle lane, then be sure that there is enough space to keep the goalkeeper from reaching the ball before you do.

It’s a good idea to learn about the most popular formations to up your chances of staying onside when you make your runs.

Beating the Offside Trap

Unless you are used to facing the defense you are going up against, it can be pretty tough to predict when they are going to set an offside trap. Thats why you need to have a general understanding of why defenses set offside traps and when to expect them.

If the back line of a defense is able to keep its shape, they will constantly be looking for ways to keep opposing forwards and midfielders from getting behind them. They will step up together when a player attempts to make a run, and they will back up together when they have multiple players running at them. There are ways to beat this, though.

The best way to beat the offside trap is to run at angles through the holes in the defense. This is made a lot easier by staying on the outside shoulder of one of the defenders and taking off when the pass is about to be made. Once you have gained some chemistry with your teammates, they will recognize when you are about to beat the trap.

One mistake that soccer players make when trying to beat the offside trap is turning their backs to the ball when they are about to make a run. It is always good practice to turn your body so you can see both the ball and the defense, maximizing your chances of staying onside.

Staying Onside During Breakaways

During counter attacks, defenses are usually desperate to force players offside. If you have good chemistry with your teammates, you will find that these are the best times to get behind the defense.

The easiest way to stay onside during breakaways is to stay as close to the last defender as you can and keep an eye on the player with the ball. At this point, you dont even have to sprint past the defender because they are usually not in a great position to turn and run with you. Once the ball is played, you can simply get past the defender and go toward the goal.

Know Who Have Mastered the Art of Dribbling

Many soccer players work hard on their dribbling skills because watching a fantastic dribbler is one of the most entertaining parts of the sports. Whether a player is able to beat a defender one-on-one, or if they make a long run from midfield to the opposing goal, its just an amazing spectacle to see an elusive dribbler at work.

It is important to differentiate the best dribblers from those who are just flashy or quick. The best dribblers in the world are the ones who have great control over where the ball is going while also making great decisions with it at their feet (How to Train on Your Own) .

Below you will find five players who are great all-around soccer players who also just happen to be excellent dribblers.

Lionel Messi

On top of being a great finisher, Lionel Messi is considered by many to be the best dribbler in the world. The reason for that is because he is one of the most efficient dribblers of all time, rarely turning the ball over no matter how many defenders surround him.

Messi is also willing to dribble at players regardless of where he is on the field. If he sees any type of opening that will increase his teams chances of scoring a goal, you can be sure that he will dribble right through that opening.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez uses his dribbling skills the least out of all of the players on this list, but that does not mean that he isnt great with the ball at his feet. When given the chance, the Arsenal winger will take on any defender if he sees a chance to either score or get the ball into the box for his teammates.

The other thing that makes Sanchez a bit different than other dribblers on this list is that he uses his strength as a weapon when he has the ball. This allows him to be closer to defenders when he needs to beat them because he knows he can just brush them off when he makes his move.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Since back in his Manchester United days, Cristiano Ronaldo has long been seen as one of the top dribblers around. After joining Real Madrid, though, he stopped trying to be overly flashy with the ball at his feet and now only makes risky moves when his team needs him to step up.

One thing that has always helped Ronaldo as a dribbler is his deceptive speed. Sure, he can make the ball do whatever he wants it to do, but his ability to kick the ball forward and beat just about any defender down the field is what gives him a huge advantage. Most defenders simply want to keep him from doing tricks to beat them, but they dont expect him to be able to easily run past them when he wants to.


Well before he joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013, Neymar was known for getting by just about any defender who attempted to stop him. He had quite a bit of work to do on other aspects of his game back then, but soccer fans all over the world could see just how talented the young winger was with the ball at his feet.

The 24-year-old Brazilian now is seen as one of the very best players in the sport, and it seems like his dribbling has only gotten better. He is still as quick as he ever was, but what makes him an amazing dribbler now is his decision making when he has the ball. He seems to get a step on anyone who steps in front of him, and it can often seem unfair.

Douglas Costa

Douglas Costa is probably the least popular player on this list, but he may just be the most entertaining dribbler out of these five. The Bayern Munich winger uses just about every trick in the book to work his way past opposing players, and his pace makes it so he can get by them in the blink of an eye.

There are a lot of players who attempt flashy moves at the top levels of soccer, but Douglas Costa actually completes those moves and helps his team in doing so. Hes no one-trick pony, either, as he is also recognized as being one of the top crossers of the ball by many soccer experts.

Become a Soccer Player with a Winner’s Mentality

What makes a great soccer player great? Is it just talent? Well, of course it isnt!

A player obviously has to have talent to move up to the higher levels, but the mental side of the game is just as important when it comes to performance on the field. There are many examples of great talents never reaching their full potential simply because they never focused on the mental side of the game. This is what every player should aim to avoid as they are developing the other parts of their game.

It used to be that the most talented players would be recognized regardless of how hard they worked, but that is starting to change. Players like Liverpools James Milner, who are known for working harder than most other players, are now seen as core parts of their teams because all they do is add to their team’s become a soccer player with the winner mentality

There is no such thing as a perfect soccer player, so you should not aim to be perfect. Soccer would be boring if everyone played perfectly, so you shouldnt want that anyways. Instead, you should practice hard at both the physical and the mental side of the game to up your chances of doing the right thing during game situations.

Why do Players Lose Focus?

Before we get into how you can improve your mental approach to the game, its important to go over why players lose their focus in the first place. Knowing where these issues originate is the easiest way to fix them and become a better soccer player.visualize the soccer player you want to be

Whats interesting is that many players have negative mentalities all the way through their development, but they never realize it because they happened to be on good teams and/or no one ever pointed it out to them. Once these players reach higher levels, they put more pressure on themselves and allow mistakes to affect every other part of their game.

Other soccer players simply try to do too much and get frustrated when everything doesnt work out perfectly. Watch any game and you will see at least one player who allows a mistake to impact how they play for at least the next couple of minutes.

Another common reason why players lose focus while on the pitch is because they disagree with a referees call. You might know that you did not commit a penalty of any kind, but the referee saw it a different way. Players at every level can have their entire game thrown off by one call that they dont agree with, but the truth is that it is their fault for not being more composed.

Gaining a Stronger Mentality

One of the easiest ways to be a mentally tougher player is to visualize everything that can go right or wrong in a game. When you take the time to go through each of these events and prepare for them, you have a much higher chance of reacting like a winner in real game situations.

Imagine a referee makes a bad call that took away a goal from your team. It is one of the most frustrating things a player can go through, and there is a right and wrong way to react to it. Rather than allowing that bad call to bring you down, be the better player by playing even harder. That mental toughness often spreads throughout a team and greatly ups their chances of playing a better game.

Another way to have a winners mentality in soccer is to see the passes that you are going to make before you make them. Players like David Silva of Manchester City seem to know where players are going to move before they do, which gives them a huge advantage over their opponents. This type of skill comes from a lot of mental training, which can make your physical talents shine.

Be Patient as You Develop the Mental Side of Your Game

Its important to know that becoming a mentally strong player does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work to slow the game down to the point where you can consistently make good decisions, so plan on working very hard to make that happen. This is especially true when you are learning the basics of the game.

All of the work that you put into becoming a more complete soccer player can pay off in every aspect of your life. You learn to analyze things and understand the pros and the cons in the blink of an eye, which will make you more confident in the decisions that you ultimately make.

Know More About The Most Dangerous Part of Soccer

It is my contention that players and coaches need to know about their game — more than just skills, more then just basic tactics.

Everyone needs to know when to run, when to stop, when to play fast, when to play slow (something UNC men’s coach Elmar Bolowich has told me many American players need to learn), when to tackle, when to back up, when to shoot, when to pass.

The players need options and need to be able to use those options so they don’t just play like predictable robots. The ability to execute those options is what makes the unpredictability of soccer so attractive and fun to play and watch.

But there are other things that coaches, players and referees need to know and to be aware of, so that such situations of not foreign and can be avoided, if possible. I am talking about injuries here.

Don’t you think if a player knew how an injury happened, that player might just be able to avoid that injury when the opportunity presents itself?

OK, pop quiz: What is the most dangerous part of the game? Heading? Running? Tripping? A professional foul? Any ideas?

There have been a number of studies of the mechanisms of various injuries. For example, knee injuries can be from either direct contact or from an awkward misstep while cutting or landing from a jump.

Head injuries can happen while competing for a head ball. For men, head injuries are usually elbow-head contact. For women, it is usually head-head contact. Ankle injuries can be from stepping on another player’s foot, or from unequal forces during a tackle.

How about shin injuries? Usually in close quarters while tackling. Foot injuries happen when a player reaches for the ball during a tackle and the opponent steps on that foot. A broken tibia or fibula is from a hard kick to the shin during tackling.

Seeing a pattern here? Got the answer to the pop quiz? Easily, the most dangerous activity in soccer is tackling.

More injuries occur during tackling than during any other activity. Wonder why? Any number of reasons has been mentioned. For example, players with mismatched skills playing against each other could have the better player being cut down by the lesser player.

Some of my worst injuries have happened playing recreational soccer with unskilled, inexperienced players. It could be poor skill. Some people think tackling is something innate in a player; you either are or are not a good tackler.

So, coaches who think this probably spend little time teaching and practicing the skill of tackling. Big mistake.

When I took the U.S. Soccer coaching school (many years ago), team defense and defensive priorities were an important part of the course. As a defender, I took to heart that my hierarchy of defense was:

  1. Cover the player so well that they won’t think about passing the ball to the player you are covering.
  2. If a pass is made, step up and intercept the pass.
  3. If an interception can’t be made, pressure the player so they can’t turn around.
  4. If the player turns, keep the player and the ball, in front of you.
  5. and finally, go for the tackle.

Tackling was the last option. In looking at how a team obtains possession of the ball, tackling is about fourth or fifth on the list. This might give compelling reasons to not teach tackling; low priority, don’t get the ball often. But the problem is that tackling is where the bulk of injuries occur.

The top three locations for injuries in soccer are the ankle, knee, and then the shin. Doesn’t tackling look like the problem now? It should.

There is one other factor about injuries during tackling. Game videos show that one player, usually with the ball, gets distracted for a split second around the ball, then when the tackle happens, gets hurt. Slow-motion videos show a player taking their eye off the ball when they should be concentrating on the ball.

So, what’s a concerned coach to do? While tackling is not something any one player performs frequently during a game, it still is something that should be practiced, practiced, practiced.

In addition, players must be comfortable on the ball to be prepared to take on players with confidence and skill in many situations so they can hopefully learn to concentrate on the ball and not be distracted.

So the more activities where the players have the ball means more opportunity for tackling practice; further reason to justify the use of small-sided games.

Learn More About A Practice on Small Group Defending

Pressure The Game Groups of three; one ball per group. Player A rolls the ball (receiving ground balls) or tosses the ball (receiving air balls) to either player B or player C. In this example, player C must control the ball and get a completed pass to player B. While this is occurring, player A immediately challenges player C and tries to win the ball back. After successful pass, player C would then pick up the ball and repeat the activity as the defender. The defender is awarded a point for winning the ball back and gets to throw again.

Coaching Points
Encourage defender to pressure quickly after the toss. Defender needs to work hard at closing down the space while the ball is in flight.
Receiving player’s first touch should be away from the pressuring defender.
Player receiving the pass should move to create a clear passing lane.
Do not allow the receiving player to one touch the incoming toss. This is a receiving drill, as well as a drill that serves as a good warm-up for practices dealing with defenders.
Small Game: 20 to 25 minutes Activity Level: Medium progression to high Space: Defined smaller space; 3 to 5 players per group
Pressure / Cover Defending The Game 2 vs. 2 with goals marked out in the corner of the grid. Have a regular game with periods of about 2 to 3 minutes in duration and have plenty of extra balls ready to keep the game flowing.
Coaching Points: Defending Principles of Play
Pressure on the ball: Do not let the first attacker’s head come up.
Second defender must cover the goal as well as be aware of the second attacker.
First defender tries to channel the attacker into the sideline and away from the second attacker. This is easier to do since the goals are in the corners of the grid, the sidelines come up quicker.
When first defender has made the play predictable, second defender tries to double team.
Make sure the defenders stay balanced, that they do not become too spread out, enabling the attacking team to make splitting passes.
As soon as the ball is won, can they shoot? This is the best time to do so because the attacking team is not in a good defending posture.
Four Goals–End Line The Game 4 vs. 4, Each team defends two goals and attacks two goals. Having the goals on the end lines makes this game more realistic as it forces the attacking team to have more of a direction to their attack. (A good session for U-12 players and above.)
Four Goals Soccer Drill
Coaching Points: Defending Principles
Defending becomes particularly challenging since the defending team has two goals to defend, essentially turning this into a 6 vs. 4 game.
It is a good idea to first allow each team to decide themselves, where they are going to try to win the ball. In other words, are they going to challenge the ball all over the field, or will they hang back and try to only defend the space close to their own goals?
Can they channel the ball into certain areas of the field to gain possession?
Can they apply enough pressure on the ball to limit the first attacker’s options and make the play predictable?
Team Game: 30 minutes plus Activity Level: High Space: Defined for the game = larger space; 7 to 11 players per team.
Four Zones Game The Game A regular 11 vs. 11 or 8 vs. 8 scrimmage. Break the field into 4 horizontal zones. Award the defending team points when they win the ball back in a chosen zone. For example, the blue team might be given 3 points for winning the ball back in the first zone, two points for the second zone, one point for the third zone and no points for the fourth zone. This can change depending on where the coach wants the team to try to force the play.

Four Zones soccer drill

Coaching Points
Try to get the players to work together as a unit, with all 11 players aware of the defensive plan.
Can the defending team control the attacking team, making them play the ball in a certain area of the field, and then win the ball?
Make sure you give defending agendas to both teams.
Warm Down: 5 to 10 minutes Activity Level: Low, ramping down Space: General, no specific boundaries; 1 to 2 players per group
Two-sided Goal Game The Game A 2 vs. 2 game played with a two sided goal. Goals can be scored from either side. The game is a continuous flow game that is best played for 2 to 3 minutes.
Two Sided Soccer Drill
Coaching Points
A good warm-up or cool-down game to teach defending and attacking skills.
Defenders must make sure they cover the goal as well as the attacking players.
Defenders must work at channeling the first attacker away from their support.
Attacking team must be good at combination play to unbalance the defense.
As soon as the ball is lost, defending team must get goal side.
Try to attack immediately when the ball is won.

Know More The Importance of Muscle Memory in Soccer

Believe it or not, soccer and muscle memory go hand-in-hand. Since many athletes start playing the game at such a young age, it’s important for parents and coaches to make sure players learn the correct kicking techniques right at the start. Learning how to properly handle the ball will not only make your athlete a more mature soccer player, but it will also help reduce the risk of injury.

When players are able to commit proper techniques to muscle memory, they don’t have to spend time thinking about how to kick the ball—allowing them to not only keep up with the fast-pace nature of the game, but to also have fun. Instead of focusing on how to kick, they can think about the position of the other players, which direction to kick the ball and how to move around the other players on the field.

CoachUp suggests coaches and parents use these tips to help players produce the right muscle memory:

  • Make sure the top of their foot is used (not their toe) for striking kicks and that the instep of their foot is used when passing the ball.
  • Make sure they keep their toes down when striking with the top of the foot.
  • Make sure they kick the middle of the soccer ball—not the sides or top.
  • Make sure their kicking leg follows through with the kick and that it doesn’t stop short after kicking the ball.
  • Make sure they lock their standing leg so the kick is solid.
  • Make sure they properly judge the speed of the approaching ball when receiving a pass.

Learn More About Maintaining Your Offseason Soccer Fitness

Soccer, like most sports, is seasonal. There are periods of preparation (preseason), competition (in-season), and recovery (offseason).

Preseason and in-season training typically are the domain of the coach, but the offseason is largely the player’s responsibility.

What you do in the offseason can impact the next season. The old coaching adage that “it is easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape” is true, but most players don’t know how to maintain their fitness without a coach supervising them.

You would be correct in guessing that there is a lot of research on gaining fitness, but you might also be surprised that there has been a great deal of study into losing fitness (detraining).


The first real work on detraining studied responses to bed rest and later used people who were recovering from heart attacks, surgery or immobilization. Currently, there is a lot of work on detraining as directed toward zero gravity and space travel.

Training leads to two major adaptations in the body. First is the ability of the cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen to the cells and the second is the ability of the muscle cells to use the delivered oxygen.

Research shows us is that the central cardiovascular system’s ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles improves slowly while the muscle cells improve their ability to use the delivered oxygen pretty quickly.

When training is stopped, the muscle cells lose most of what they have gained fairly fast (10 days to two weeks is about right), but the cardiovascular system detrains slowly.

You may have experienced this when you work out after being off for a short break. That first workout doesn’t feel too bad. During that workout, the cardiovascular system sort of takes up the slack from the cells that detrained so quickly. However, if you lay off for a month or more, you are starting back at ground zero in terms of endurance fitness.

Now, the question arises as to what can be done to maintain fitness what is the least one can do and still keep most of their fitness?

While you may not have thought too much about it, you know that training is a mixture of three factors: training frequency (days/week), training intensity and training duration

Teach Defenders to Close Down Space

When an opponent has the ball, a defender, at least, must prevent the ball from moving forward.

For a defender, it’s all about control. What can a defender actually control and how can it be coached? The only thing a defender can control is to prevent an offensive player from moving forward. A defender can’t control, most of the time, an offensive player passing backwards or to the side.

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So, as a youth coach, concentrating on having your defenders deal with only one part of the situation, and that’s preventing the ball from moving forward. The key is to get close to the attacker as quickly as possible and then assessing the situation from there. The attacker must not be given room to move or have much time to think about options. This is referred to as “pressing” which basically means closing down space.

Great defenders can assess a scenario before it happens and quickly close down space in an instant.

A lot of youth players try to do too much defensively. They want to close down the space and then completely strip the offensive player of the ball. This often results in the offensive player simply dribbling around the defensive player and running towards the net. Teaching your kids to simply close down space and then prevent the ball from moving forward is a great soccer coaching tip. This might mean never touching the ball at all and only acting as a barrier so the offensive player is forced to use other options.

Containing is the next step. Once defensive players close the space on an offensive player, they will then want to contain that player. This means that the defender will provide a barrier so the offensive player can’t move forward. The defensive player doesn’t have to make an attempt at the ball and often shouldn’t at first. Coach your kids to be patient and allow the offensive player to make a possible mistake.

How should a defensive player actually contain? The player should be in a crouched position facing the offensive player with as much body surface area as possible. The defender should be ready to spring to action, but is not lunging for the ball. The defender is applying pressure but waiting and watching closely for the offensive player to make a move. The pressure alone usually causes the offensive player to mistakenly give up the ball to the defensive player.

Lunging for the ball or “throwing the leg” is very dangerous for defensive players. It usually results in offensive players dribbling around them and moving forward. Youth players need to develop the patience to not necessarily throw their leg unless they are 100 percent sure they’ll gain possession.

The fewer responsibilities you can place on a youth defender the better they’ll be–and the defense of your team will improve dramatically. Once defenders learn to have patience and contain an offensive player, they’ll have a lot more fun playing soccer.