Studying the Soccer Game

If you’re struggling to become a better soccer player, the help you need could come from an unlikely place: from study and observation. Now, before you start scoffing about how you’ll learn more by doing than by studying, think about it. If you never watch a game on TV, you’ll never see all those drills and soccer techniques you do put into practice. If you never ask a question about certain techniques, you may be learning it the wrong way and you’d have no idea.

If you enjoy doing something, you don’t just do it. You read about it, talk about it, and drive your friends and family crazy with it, all in an effort to get better. Become a better soccer player sooner by becoming a dedicated student of the game. Here’s how to do it.

1) Watch games on television.

One of the best ways to learn something is to watch a professional doing it. Watch the games, but don’t just watch them as a spectator. Watch their soccer techniques critically. Observe the attacking and defending strategies the players use. Look at how the team works together, and at what happens when they’re less than a well-oiled unit.

Watch the great players. They all have something to give you, whether it’s a lesson in how to be a better teammate or how to use those shots you’ve been practicing in a game situation. Take what they are offering and make it your own.

2) Hit the books.

While reading about soccer probably doesn’t sound all that fascinating, that doesn’t mean you should discount it. A quick search of with the keywords “soccer techniques” reveals more than 400 non-fiction books about soccer that include information on skills, techniques, fundamentals, tips, strategies, tactics, you name it.

Do a little research to find out which soccer books would be best for you, and actually read them. There’s a good chance you’ll learn something you didn’t know, and you can start putting it into practice.

3) Discuss it.

It’s not hard to discuss our passions, but you’ve got to find the right people to discuss them with. If you’re having trouble with a certain soccer technique or want to talk about an offensive strategy that you read about, talk to your coaches or fellow players. Talking to somebody who doesn’t love soccer as much as you do means they won’t take any issues as seriously as you, which can make for a lame discussion.

Also, go to the Internet to find like-minded people. The World Wide Web allows niche groups of all sorts to meet and discuss on blogs and forums, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a community of people that are just as passionate about soccer as you are.

Talk with them about systems of play, soccer tips and techniques, and offensive and defensive strategies as well. You’ll get a broader perspective about what works in which situations, and they may bring up ideas and tactics that you hadn’t previously considered.

4) Apply it.

As you well know, all the study and observation in the world won’t help you become a better player if you don’t actually get out to practice and apply what you’ve learned. Practice techniques daily with the soccer ball in order to develop ball familiarity: where your body gets so used to the ball that it naturally adjusts to the ball being there. This includes juggling for 30 minutes a day, and kicking the ball 500 times a day – 250 times with each foot.

Practice makes perfect, and it will also give you the opportunity to apply the ideas you’ve been learning in a real setting. All the studying in the world won’t help you become a better player if you never set foot on the field.

Studying, observation, discussion and actual practice are all important elements of becoming a better soccer player. By learning more about the game by studying it, watching it and talking to others, you’ll discover new ways of practicing that you may not have considered before. And when you combine those elements, you’ll become a better, more well-rounded player.

Joey Bilotta is the vice president of EduKick, Inc., which offers cultural soccer exchange programs in countries around the world. Register now for their 2008 half-year soccer boarding schools by visiting