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How to Use Your Body In Soccer? 3 Useful Skills

How to Use Your Body In Soccer? 3 Useful Skills

Soccer is a sport of contact meaning that in soccer players are usually able to make use of their body to maneuver, defend, and perform other activities. There are a lot of ways that soccer players make contact with each other.

Making use of your body to properly tackle, defend or make other actions is extremely important. Body contact with the ball usually includes pushing, tripping, and even kicking. You have to be able to make use of your body properly without attracting a foul.

There are consequences for incorrectly using your body for attacking or defending, sometimes it can vary from a cardless warning to a yellow card or even a red card.

The referee has the final verdict on the foul severity. Using your body successfully to attack or defend might result in no card being awarded.

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However, when you aggressively make use of your body for tackles or attacks, you might be awarded a card depending on the severity of your action.

Making use of your body in soccer is when you make use of your body, legs, hands, or arms to physically push the opposition player. It does not necessarily have to be with the hands since it would be an obvious foul.

Other actions are not performed with arms. One of the most common ways to make use of the body in soccer is the shoulder to shoulder push.

When soccer players make contact with other players, they make use of their shoulders for contact. It is disallowed for a soccer player to hit your legs, chest, or back with their shoulders unless the player hits your shoulder.

This is why soccer players are taught how to properly make use of their bodies in soccer.

soccer players play very determinedly in a match

When can you use your body in soccer?

Within the rules of soccer, a soccer player can make use of his body to defend against a player or while attacking.

The ball could be shielded with the body or legs while leaning into another player to protect your goal or the ball.

Take, for example, a defender trying to shield the other player from scoring with his body.

But what cannot be done is to make use of your arm to make contact with the ball. Soccer rules disallow the use of hands to make contact with the ball even while defending.

The player in white is using his body to prevent the opponent

What parts of your body can you use in soccer?

All other parts of the body apart from the hands, arms, or elbows are allowed to be used in soccer.

Though there are times that players make use of their thighs or knees to get the ball under control or to trap the ball when their feet can’t get to the ball. When the ball is very high to trap with the feet or legs, players can also use their chest.

The aim of a soccer player is to put the ball into the opposition’s net by making use of all body parts except the hands and arms which can result in a foul and possibly, a caution.

The goalkeeper is the only player in the field that is allowed to make use of his hands and arms and this comes with restrictions. He is only allowed to do this in his penalty box.

Also, players are not allowed to make use of their hands or arms to touch the ball during games. When they use their arms in a game, the opponents would be awarded a penalty or free-kick depending on the position.

However, soccer players are allowed to make use of their hands or arms in other ways like for defending or shielding.

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How to use your body in soccer?

Some various ways and tactics allow soccer players to make use of their bodies while playing soccer.

Below are some of the tactics or ways that you can use your body.

The Shoulder to Shoulder Push

The shoulder-to-shoulder push is a tactic that allows players to use their bodies to win balls from their opponents.

Pushing is allowed in soccer only if it is done properly, and one of the correct ways to push in soccer is through the shoulder to shoulder push.

The shoulder-to-shoulder push occurs when both soccer players make use of their shoulders to push each other while contesting for the ball.

The shoulder to shoulder contact is one of the common types of pushing that is allowed in soccer.

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To perform the shoulder-to-shoulder push, your feet have to be planted firmly on the ground. An easy way to win the shoulder-to-shoulder push contest is when the opponent is not balanced. This is why you have to stand firm so that you can avoid being unbalanced.

Make use of your leg muscles while making use of your upper shoulder. While standing firm, the defenders would have a hard time getting you off your position.

Next is to get in front of your opponent. When you feel that you might lose the shoulder to shoulder contest, you should tilt your body inwards. This would allow your opponent to hit the back of your back.

When you stand firm you would be able to hold your balance while if your balance is not kept you might fall giving your opponent a foul. This challenge would not be considered shoulder to shoulder so it becomes illegal.

When sensing aggressive or reckless players charging at you with little sense of getting the ball, you should move out of the way. Though this is usually quite hard to do since soccer is played at a fast pace.

Using shoulder-to-shoulder push in soccer should be done intelligently since you could get penalized by the referee. Though the punishment might depend on the severity of the situation.

But if you can perform the shoulder-to-shoulder push correctly, you could even earn a soccer advantage.

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Shielding with the Body

Another tactic of using the body in soccer is to shield your body. This move is quite popular with defenders but it can be performed by any player on the pitch.

Soccer players are allowed by the rules of soccer to make use of their whole body to maintain possession and protect the ball when opponents are applying pressure.

Though the act of using the body is not like an actual shield, the player makes use of his or her arm to keep the other player at bay while the player ensures that there is a distance between them and the ball.

When a soccer player makes use of shielding properly, the opponent would be deprived of the ball even with expert poke tackles.

To perform shielding in soccer, the player has to move the ball to the foot that is farthest from the defender after he has received the ball.

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The player should then put his body between the defender and the ball while taking a sideway glance to add more distance.

You can also decide to lean into your opponent with your arm up like you are holding an actual shield. Ensure that your opponent does not swing or push their arms.

While shielding the ball, you can make use of the sole of your foot to protect the ball. Then you pivot so that control can be maintained while being pursued by the defender.

To practice shielding the ball, you can perform drills such as the  2 vs 2 vs 2 Keep-Away and the Shield-Steal. This drill gives players opportunities to practice shielding skills and holding the ball while contesting with opponents.

There are also drills like Capture the Balls and Knockout which involves the whole team with some players maintaining possession by shielding while others try to kick the ball away.

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Body and Ball Control

Another way that soccer players make use of their bodies in soccer is through body and ball control.

Body control in soccer is the ability of a player to fluidly optimize their body for coordination and balance. Body control is usually categorized under techniques and not physical fitness.

Body control is the correctness in the form of a player. Having a low center of gravity for defending, correct running forms, and performing long strides are indicators of good ball control.

The ability of a soccer player to gain control or collect the ball from the opposing team using any part of the body, including the head, feet, chest, and legs is ball control.

Players that have good ball control are capable of receiving passes both on the air and on the ground. These actions are done with clean first touches and are capable of ensuring that the ball is kept close to their body.

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Also, maintaining ball possession while ensuring that the opponent cannot retrieve it is another ability of ball control. Turning sharply and quickly with the ball is also another important aspect of ball control.

Having a proper and staggered stance ensures that the opponent does not go around you easily in the direction of your forward foot. A good option is to force the attacker to make different options while controlling the situation then make it so for you to anticipate the direction the attacker would take.

Ensure that your body is kept between the net and the attacker since you are the obstacle preventing the attacker from taking shots at the goal.

The soccer player is controlling a ball by chest


Soccer is a contact sport, meaning that using the body is allowed in soccer. The rules in soccer allow players to make use of various parts of their body in soccer.

Certain parts of the body like the arm or the hand are not allowed to be used in soccer as they can result in a foul.

Parts like the shoulder can be used to make contact with your opponents to protect the ball.