5 Winter Tips for Young Aspiring Soccer Players to Improve their Skills

This dog is serious about soccer! - (Photo: Flickr.com)

With winter weather fast approaching, most fall youth soccer seasons are drawing to a close, and many young boys and girls will spend the next several months relaxing and enjoying the other fruits of childhood outside the sport.  But, for any child that dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, this is the time to refine your skills and improve in time for next season.  Here are five tips to improve your game before springtime:

1.  Join the “100 Club” – Juggling a soccer ball can be a frustrating and difficult task for any young soccer player, but it is vital for anyone who wishes to become a pro.  Juggling is a key ingredient for ball control and helping players gain confidence in receiving passes and their overall ball skills.  If you can juggle a ball 100 times you have basically mastered the task and are well on your way to having great ball control.  Additionally, juggling simply refines your ball skills and should be continued even after you reach 100.  Just remember to actually use your feet, and both of them, not just your knees!

2.  Stay in shape – The average professional soccer player runs roughly four miles per game.  Soccer players must be in tip-top shape if they want to succeed through the rigors of the professional game (many teams play a game every three days!).  Obviously four miles is a long run for any child, but there’ no reason a youngster cannot run a mile or two once a week to keep in good shape.  You want to enter the spring season as a better player, and a big part of that is getting your body in good shape.

3.  Keep Playing – Whether this involves playing pick-up games with your neighbors, or having a PK shootout with a sibling, or juggling, or just kicking a ball against the wall, a young soccer player should keep playing and practicing during the winter.  The more you play the game, the better you will get.  Also, look for local indoor soccer leagues to keep playing competitively during the winter period.

4.  Stay Healthy – Nothing derails a good off-season training regiment like getting sick.  When you get sick you hardly want to do anything, let alone play the game, and you will miss vital practice time as a result.  If you are serious about playing professionally, you need to be healthy.  That includes staying warm, eating right, and getting good nights’ sleep: three things that children simply adore!

5.  Watch Soccer – Nobody teaches you better than the pro’s.  There are countless games coming up that will be a delight to watch.  The MLS Cup Final takes place on December 1st, and there will be tons of English Premier League matches taking place over the Holiday break that will teach any player a thing or two about the beautiful game.

Although the holidays are a time for young soccer players to get away from the game and spend more time with their families, it also presents a great opportunity for youngsters to get quality alone time to really focus on their skills.  Be sure to practice and stay fit and healthy during the winter so that you will be ready to take your game to the next level in the New Year.


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    Thorne Barrett

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