What Aspects of Professional Soccer can You Present to Your Team?

Lionel Messi, the single best player to watch! - (Photo: Article.wn.com)

I am a huge advocate of showing professional soccer games to young players so that they can watch and learn from the world’s best soccer players.  However, the level of play is at an entirely different place and there are certain things that are practically useless for youngsters to see from watching these games.  One example would be breaking down how to approach a direct free kick from 30 yards out with a thunderous shot.  Although you may have a budding David Beckham in your U-8 squad, don’t expect anyone to be blasting in long-range free kick goals.  Here are some of the more beneficial aspects of soccer to point out to a young player watching a professional game.

First thing to point out is the close control of the ball that the best players have.  Lionel Messi seems to harness a magnetic pull with a soccer ball.  When he is dribbling, the ball rarely finds itself more than three feet away from him as he weaves in and out of defenders.  It is no wonder that opposing players have such trouble in dispossessing the star Barcelona forward.

Your players will need to practice ball control a ton if they want to become professionals.  By watching the actions of superstars, they will get a sense of both the speed and precision of touch required to completely own the soccer ball during a game.

Another aspect of soccer to watch is how certain players perform in front of goal.  Obviously goal scoring is not only the most enjoyable part of soccer, but can also be the most difficult to perfect.  With nerves tingling and defenders closing down, an opposing goalie can look like an impenetrable force blocking the goal.  Take a look at how Robin van Persie approaches the goal.  The masterful Dutch striker is always poised in front of the goal and routinely takes his chances.

In addition to being a completely pure striker, van Persie displays an impressive quality of calmness in his shots.  This comes from the confidence he has in his ability to place the shot into the back of the net with both power and precision.  There really should be no fear in a player before shooting as the wondrous moment of a goal is only good, and one should strive to make that experience a reality.

Young goalies should always take not of how professionals play.  The goalkeeping position is one that is not only based around an absence of fear but also a smart ability to find the right positions to defend incoming shots.  The goalie is basically the quarterback of any soccer team and it is no surprise that goalies are the ones who are usually able to keep playing the game even into their 40’s.  Watch how goalies position themselves for incoming shots so that they are best prepared to deal with them.  Also analyze how goalies distribute the ball to teammates in open space to orchestrate and start attacks. American goalie Tim Howard is both an excellent and capable leader who provides an excellent example for young goalies.

The single most important aspect of the professional game to examine is the effort.  Soccer players never give up and never slow down.  For 90 minutes, there is high pace and energy and an unwillingness to let the game go.  This endless drive and dedication is what a young player really needs to witness if they ever want to become a star player themselves.

But simply watching any professional game is a great experience for a young player.  If you live near a professional team, or even a college or high school, take players to these matches so they can experience the game live.  By watching soccer at higher levels a youngster will learn what it takes and see the beautiful game in action!


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