Whenever the concept of getting better in soccer pops up, the first thing that comes to mind is training and drills with the ball and consistency in playing. But what about those times when you have to drill and get better at having the soccer ball?
Some may even argue that you cannot improve your soccer skills unless you have a ball to practice with, which is not entirely correct.
It is a truth that there is a need for the soccer ball in training for some aspects of soccer, but not all. Even without the soccer ball, a soccer player can still get better.
Soccer players are meant to be fit physically, mentally, skill-wise, and in many other ways. This might involve the use of the soccer ball or not, depending on the modality of the drill or workout involved in making them fit.
This article is dedicated to giving soccer players more insights into how they can become better at soccer through drills and many other activities without using the soccer ball.
How to get better at soccer without a ball?
In order to get better at soccer, there is a need for a soccer player to get involved in a lot of drills, with or without the soccer ball.
Also, to get better at soccer, there are a lot of things that stand as the determining factors. Of course, you do not need the soccer ball to touch all of these things, but no stone should be left unturned.
This section of the article will illuminate how a soccer player can get better at his profession without the soccer ball.
By Drilling your Fitness
Soccer is a sport that requires physicality. And for soccer players to be able to get their desired result in terms of their performance on the soccer pitch, there is a need for them to exert some amount of physicality in their style of play.
Physicality is not always innate, and the fact is that physicality can also be built. For soccer players who feel they are born somehow weak or not as strong as their colleague, many other athletes were like that but, due to consistency, built their body to their desired taste.
Physicality training does not require a soccer ball. However, it requires your determination, consistency, and some equipment. Therefore, one of the most crucial factors in soccer play is physical conditioning.
A talented player will go far in the game, albeit without the fitness component, they will fall short of being a solid player.
One of soccer players’ most significant physical fitness traits is aerobic endurance fitness. In all the minutes of the game, players are required to sustain a high level of intensity.
Anaerobic fitness, which refers to sprint speed and, in particular, repeat running ability, is another significant fitness aspect. Agility, power, strength, and flexibility are also important qualities for players.
All aspects of fitness need regular exercise. Begin with a well-thought-out strategy. When creating a successful training program, keep the following points in mind.
Fitness training should be personalized and oriented toward specific aims to optimize the physical capacity of certain soccer players in a team. The physical workload must be increased over time as the players become fitter to progress and become better than they were.
The use of cross-training and the incorporation of fitness into training activities can help in keeping the conditioning exciting, and the soccer players motivated.
Regular fitness evaluations are essential to track training progress and identify which aspects of fitness should be prioritized. There are some useful soccer-specific fitness tests as well as others that may be used to assess soccer players’ general fitness.
Several different tests may be performed to assess the physical features of a soccer player. A body fat test, for example, can be used to learn more about a soccer player.
Excess body fat can make it difficult for a soccer player to move freely about the pitch, and the added weight can lead to weariness.
The skinfold technique can be used to determine body fat. If this does not seem possible, observing body weight changes, supposing there is no change in muscle mass, can be used to provide an indicator of body fat changes.
A soccer player’s flexibility may also be tested as a fitness test. It is critical for both mobility and injury prevention.
Football players who kick the ball need to have good hamstring flexibility. The sit-and-reach testing technique can be used regarding the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings.
Strength (and power) tests should also be performed in combination with training regimens to evaluate strength levels and track changes. The vertical leap test can be used to assess leg strength. It is necessary to do maximal strength testing for certain workouts.
In soccer, maximum sprinting speed and acceleration remain crucial. Running tests over 40 meters with breaks for the first 10 meters is a good approach to improving your speed and acceleration.
In soccer, the ability to change directions quickly is crucial. The 505 agility exam is a simple agility test that assesses your ability to turn 180 degrees. More sophisticated tests, such as the Balsom Run and the Arrowhead Agility, are devised expressly for the needs of soccer.
Soccer players must regularly do brief bursts of high-intensity labor, alternating with lower-intensity activities. Repeat sprint tests are used to assess anaerobic power as well as the capacity to recover from high-intensity bursts of exercise.
Tests like the Sprint Fatigue Test can be used to assess only the capacity to repeat sprints. Other tests include jogging, running, and sprinting, which are more soccer-specific activities meant to imitate the demands of soccer matches.
Aerobic fitness stands to be a critical component of soccer fitness. For a high-quality performance in a soccer match, soccer players are meant to maintain a high level of intensity all through the match.
The shuttle run (beep) test is a straightforward method of evaluating a soccer squad. The Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test and the Intermittent Yo-Yo Test are two soccer-specific tests that strive to replicate the sport’s sporadic nature.
Not using a soccer ball during fitness training does not have any consequences or drawbacks. On the contrary, getting physically fit reduces the chances of injuries and drawbacks that can alter a glorious career for a soccer player.
But getting physically fit is not all it takes to maintain a successful career. Also, physical fitness drillings should not be overdone. This is because this can cause a long-term injury for the soccer player who gets involved in it. Therefore, it should be done with caution.
Do exercises that move without the ball
To help increase your sharpness as a soccer player you can engage in some type of exercises that help you move swiftly. These exercises will help your reaction to the tackles of the coming opponents. It also will help you get ready to receive passes from your teammates.
“Follow my lead” is an example of a practice that can help you improve your soccer sharpness. To get started with this activity, create a 20-yard-by-20-yard square training area with training cones or markers.
After that, players should be split into pairs, preferably with equal sprinting ability. The goal of this game is for one person to be the leader and the other to be the chaser.
At frequent intervals, the leader must dash around the training square at various speeds, making rapid and erratic turns.
The chaser must keep up with the leader at all times, never falling more than two yards behind. This practice is also excellent for improving core strength, intelligence, and explosiveness.
By Watching and Learning
Without a soccer ball, another good way you can get better at soccer is to watch soccer matches. Doing this has a whole lot to do with your mind.
First, it helps you spot how you can do things better if you were the one on the pitch. Also, it helps in growing one’s knowledge of tactics.
The truth is that watching soccer alone will not convert you to a star. Still, most soccer players also undervalue the importance of watching soccer games on TV or on different platforms regularly.
First and foremost, there is benefit in rooting for a preferred team, being emotionally engaged in their outcomes, and discussing professional soccer with family and friends.
And also, getting to watch how some other players like you play and make decisions on the pitch will help you improve your game and your decisions on the soccer pitch.
The most prevalent habit is to keep an eye on the ball while watching. This is a pretty common occurrence, and we do it ourselves regularly.
However, following a specific player and seeing how they move off the ball creates space for themselves and engages with their teammates is far more beneficial.
Following a player like the Egyptian legend Salah in a soccer match and seeing how much he contributes to the team when he has the ball and when he does not is a fantastic experience.
Tactics aren’t something that can be learned on a board or even in a class. But, in terms of learning experiences, there’s something about seeing players perform on the soccer pitch that can’t be replicated.
The majority of what you can learn from watching matches does not have to be done analytically. That technique can help in noticing things, though, but just watching the match casually to enjoy it will make you notice a lot of things without even realizing it.
You can observe Robert Lewandowski’s (the Polish maestro) movements in the box. And you can ask questions like, “When does he alter his direction or speed?”
Is there a distinctive run he does so that passers-by know where to locate him? How did he get rid of his defender? What’s he going to do when the ball doesn’t come to him right away?
The majority of the game is based on how best you can improvise. This is one of the things that adds to the sport’s appeal. Players have to adjust and also re-adjust on the go, often without the assistance of a coach.
So, watching players play can help you as a soccer player build your soccer intelligence. Observing how they make their decisions will help you restructure your mind and get better by the time you get the opportunity to play.
Watching will also help you improve your decision-making on the soccer pitch. For example, observing prolific players like Kevin De Bruyne will help you see how he goes about his decision-making on the soccer pitch.
You can watch with an inquisitive mind to learn about things like: does he prefer to play the ball on the ground or does he prefers it in the air? On which foot does he put his weight? When does he add texture or spin to the ball?
When does he add texture or spin to the ball? And what he could observe that other players might not (his vision). When should he make passes, dribbles, or shots?
Watching and noting how you can get better at the game of soccer is very good as it allows you to see how better you can do things on the soccer pitch. But it can only be useful or effective if there is proper training to follow the learning.
By playing video games
Despite the fact that a lot of people believe video games are time-wasters and that they are just addictive and can even make people become stupid and not socially active.
On the contrary, many elite sportsmen, such as soccer players, claim that video games help them develop their physical and mental abilities.
Playing video games is a way you, as a soccer player, can help yourself become better.
Most video games assist players in improving their hand-eye coordination when they are played for an extended length of time.
Indeed, the progress has been so dramatic that the health sectors are now offering video games surgeons to help them enhance their precision. This will aid surgeons in honing their abilities and completing jobs that need a small amount of space.
If surgeons are trying their best to stay up to date and well-coordinated with video games, it guarantees to work well with soccer players to learn better coordination and more precision.
Players of video games like Assassins Creed and Batman Arkham Knight are regularly faced with circumstances in which they must make decisions in a split second.
You can also train your brain to retain information and respond quickly to it by playing games regularly. This increases a player’s decision-making ability on the field and boosts his judgment abilities when playing sports.
This is especially useful in real-life circumstances where individuals must make rapid, vital judgments on the spur of the moment.
Also, playing soccer games like FIFA by EA Sports or PES can help a soccer player get better sight and learn more skills. Because these games are known for cloning reality on the pitch to their games, playing them can help you develop new skills.
You can retain the skills in your memory and replicate them whenever you have the opportunity to play.
Some athletes utilize games to keep sharp while recuperating from injuries and training for on-field events. In addition, coaches and players agree that the games might help teams bond because they are frequently played together.
However, they warn that video games are not a substitute for regular exercise and can even be harmful when players ignore training because of video games.
Not all gamers notice an increase in physical activity. Because of playing video games. Many people, however, participate in sports such as soccer, basketball, and skateboarding because they have enjoyed the sport in video games.
These games stimulate youngsters’ interest in the sports they are playing, and many of them will try to engage in real life.
One of the essential reasons for playing video games is that it motivates you to participate in the sport in real life. You may even take various shots and techniques from video games and try them out in real life.
Even soccer players are motivated to try some new moves they saw in a video game in a real-life match, making them better than they were before.
Playing video games is a very good way to get better at soccer without a soccer ball. It gives soccer players free space to think, relax, and even learn more skills, coordinate, and make quicker decisions.
But playing video games without a system of checks might be detrimental. Because video games can be addictive, and if a soccer player plays it without the mind of improving on his or her soccer game, he or she might not reap the benefits embedded in it.
You can make your game better by visualization
In soccer, visualization is like watching a movie in your head, visualizing a positive conclusion in specific scenarios. Other words for the practice include mental visualization, guided imagery, mental rehearsal, meditation, and utilizing your mind’s eye.
Whatever you call it, visualization is a powerful technique that allows players to mentally generate game scenarios and the outcomes they wish to see in real life.
Visualization is a developing aspect of sports psychology, a tried-and-true strategy similar to preparing for a performance or watching a movie, and an important aspect of mental game readiness.
A multi-sensory approach to visualization is recommended. For example, not simply painting an image, but using all of your senses to enhance the experience: smell, sound, taste, anxiousness, pressure, the sensation of cutting through the grass, and kicking the ball.
Even painting a picture of making contact with an opposition play and perceiving the movements of others.
Visualization is a talent that may be learned. It should be rehearsed every day, just like any other form of training.
Even if it’s only for five minutes, it’s useful. It’s best to give yourself up to thirty minutes. The importance of repetition, like with any practice, cannot be overstated.
Using mental images on the practice field afterward enhances the abilities you’ve envisioned. Visualization should be a pleasurable experience.
Players are prone to remembering things that went wrong, but instead of lingering on the bad, visualization may help players remedy mistakes and turn a negative into a positive.
When it comes to visualizing, having the right abilities, methods, and decision-making is crucial. Next, find the ideal place and time to begin envisioning. Whatever works, as long as there are no outside distractions. Music may be on or off, and the eyes can be open or closed.
It might be late at night, just before bedtime, or early in the morning, immediately after awakening. Similarly, there is an opportunity before practices or games. But, again, standing, sitting, or lying down are all options. Just make sure there aren’t any disruptions.
Create a welcoming environment. Find the ideal setting and environment for you; physically relax, mentally relax, warm up, always perform at your best. It’s possible to do it practically anywhere.
Create a structure and a routine that you can stick to. The importance of concentration cannot be overstated. It’s natural for the mind to wander; train the brain for success, and utilize visualization daily to boost motivation and minimize stress.
Choose and execute the appropriate skill(s). Develop muscle memory for physical skills by generating and repeating effective mental experiences and anticipating obstacles and answers.
Shift your viewpoint. Visualize yourself as you would perceive yourself and how others would see you.
A perspective may be preferred over you as a person, but you should always explore both. Diverge your angles of view; rotate your head; keep your eyes moving; assess your demands, and use visualization to meet them.
Visualization is just a very good way to get better as a human, especially as a soccer player. It helps calm the mind of a soccer player even before the game and relieves stress.
When a soccer player engages in this practice, there is a higher probability of making good decisions on the soccer pitch. But this process will only become day-dreaming if the visualization process does not match the amount of training a player needs.
Build good communication skills and relationships with your teammates
Soccer is a fast-paced sport, and players must make decisions quickly.
Soccer communication allows everyone in a team to keep up with the game’s fast-paced, free-flowing character. One or three words can provide sufficient information to assist a colleague in making a better decision.
As a team sport, you need every one of your teammates in soccer. The results of every match are not judged only on a player’s performance but basically on the team’s performance and result. This makes building interpersonal relationships important, even to each player’s career.
Learn to talk to your teammates. Some players might be too shy to talk to their teammates. Even though they are good on the ball, but that will affect them in the long run.
Not having a good relationship with teammates will affect how you get the ball on the pitch because there will be a time you will need to call for the ball.
But not having a good relationship with teammates will restrict you from doing this or from your teammates passing the ball to you.
The better a team gels, the better individuals in the team will perform, so invest in building a good relationship with your teammates. No drawbacks come with having good communication skills as well as a healthy relationship with teammates.
Soccer is a very dynamic sport, and the soccer ball seems to be the center of attraction of the sport, but as a soccer player, there is a possibility of getting better with the soccer ball.
Fitness training and drills are an example of how a player can become even better on the soccer pitch without a soccer ball. Staying physically fit is crucial to being a complete player.
Also, watching the sport is one way in which a soccer player can become better —watching the game will allow a player to see how other players are doing on the pitch, how they make their decisions, how they perform their skills, and so on.
Playing video games helps a soccer player stay relaxed, learn to be coordinated, and make quick decisions in split seconds. Though it can be addictive, it is very beneficial when properly done.
Visualization helps soccer players paint mental pictures of how they want their game to be. It helps in relaxing and getting rid of negative thoughts. It also helps get better and make better decisions on the soccer pitch.
Good communication with teammates cannot be overemphasized as a good way to improve as a soccer player. The better the interpersonal relationships in a team are, the better they are likely to perform individually.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!