Summary: Soccer is a very fast-paced game that is extremely fun but can initially seem intimidating. By breaking down the gameplay into a few key skills you can start to train to improve your game.
No matter which position you play on the field you will need to get familiar with dribbling the ball. Ball-handling is a very important skill to have, because it will allow you to move more fluidly around the field. Practice walking and lightly kicking the ball ahead of you but not to the point where you feel you must chase the ball. As you get more comfortable with moving forward and alternating which foot comes in contact with the ball, you can start to pick up the pace. With dribbling you want to be able to achieve a strong degree of control, where the motion becomes second-nature. This occurs when you can move around the field at any pace, without having to think about how to handle the ball.
In soccer there are attackers, midfielders, defenders, and a goalie. When you are playing a game of soccer with others you will usually be assigned one of these roles. Read up on the different roles and learn how to play each one effectively. Each role is different and thus has different requirements. Familiarize yourself with them, give them each a try, and figure out which role you prefer.
When playing a game of soccer, analyze the field and determine which zone or players to be targeting to make the biggest impact. Positioning yourself well on the field includes such concepts as understanding where to go and what to do when you have the ball, understanding who to pass the ball to, knowing how to react when on offense, and knowing how to play on defense. A solid understanding of these different scenarios will help you read the game and anticipate how others will react, as well.
At any given time during a soccer game you will have 10 teammates with you on the field. In this team game coordination, or the lack of it, plays a massive role in determining a team’s chances of winning a match. Listening to your captain and other teammates, as well as being able to call out to them, is crucial. Making sure everyone is on the same page and is working together is an important skill to have. A team filled with very technically skilled players will not be very successful if said players cannot work together.
At the end of the day you can expect to run a lot when playing soccer, regardless of the position you are playing. Each 90-minute game is fast-paced with very little downtime, meaning that players need to be accustomed to moving around. Cardio-based exercises like jogging will help you build up the endurance you will need to play nonstop at full-speed. Constantly alternating between jogging and sprinting can be quite exhausting but regular training will help prepare the body.