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Every time we watch a soccer match, we see players are all of the different heights and different weights, they all play different positions too. However when we see some of the shorter players they can be short and that brings us to the question, does playing soccer make you shorter?
The answer is no it will not make you shorter. Playing soccer can make you a little bit taller. This is because you will be stretching leg muscles while you are playing, and this can result in your lower body getting taller and therefore you can have a small increase in your overall height.
Can playing soccer make you shorter?
As we mentioned earlier, playing soccer will not make you shorter if anything it will make you slightly taller. This is because your leg muscles will be constantly stretching while you are playing, and this can increase the height of your lower body and this will then give you a small increase in the height of your body.
However, as we get older people will start to become shorter, and playing soccer is not going to stop that unfortunately as it is just a by-product of the aging process.
Is being short an advantage in soccer?
A short soccer player is going to have some advantages over other players. The main one is that a shorter player is going to have far better reaction times to certain situations during a game compared to a taller soccer player.
The other advantage is that a shorter player is going to be more agile too. This is because of the low center of gravity that they possess.
The shorter players have a great ability to be great with the ball at their feet and will usually have quick feet too. This means that when they are faced with a defender in a one-on-one situation, their feet are quick enough to perform a skill move and get past the defender whereas a taller player is going to find it difficult to do this.
Shorter players will have advantages in certain situations on a soccer field. For example, players that are short and have a great command of a soccer ball-like Leo Messi can do things with the ball that other taller players can not. On top of that Messi is able to get through tight gaps between defenders because of his small stature.
His quick feet combined with his low center of gravity and his outrageous skill can make it nearly impossible for defenders to get the ball off him such is his incredible talent; however, his small size attributes to this as well.
Whereas a taller player is going to have a hard time getting through those gaps and generally will not have the same command of the ball that a shorter player does and there is where the biggest advantage lies for smaller players.
What is the perfect height for a soccer player?
There is no “perfect” height for a soccer player, however certain positions will have the desired height for a player. Depending on what position you play will ultimately determine if you are a “perfect” height for a soccer player.
A goalkeeper for example will have an ideal height of around 6ft 2 and above. This is because they will need to fill up as much of the goal as possible and generally the taller a player is, the bigger the wingspan is going to be.
For goalkeepers, this is extremely critical as having a big wingspan because you are taller is going to help them make saves that shorter keepers can not. By being taller and having a bigger wingspan keepers will be able to jump and stretch out their arm to make a save, whereas a keeper who is shorter might not reach the ball and will not be able to save the shot.
For midfielders, the ideal height is around 6ft 1 and above. It might not seem that tall, but the fact is that certain midfield positions do not require soccer players to be tall and in fact being tall might hinder them.
As a midfielder, their job is to run all over the pitch for 90 minutes so being on the shorter side is an advantage, however, there are some players who are on the taller side but still have the power and the pace to cover the ground like a smaller midfielder.
They need to be physically strong as they will be in constant battles throughout the game and this can help them in this regard. Midfielders who are somewhere in the middle of height, like Thomas Party of Arsenal are perfect.
His height allows him to challenge high balls in the midfield area, but he also has the pace and power to cover the ground as well.
The perfect height for a forward is just under 6ft, at around 5’11. Now again this height has its advantages and disadvantages. The benefit of it is that the forward will be on the quicker side in terms of speed and are suited to a quick fast-paced game. Whereas a forward like Olivier Giroud who is reasonably tall will not be good in terms of speed however when it comes to crosses in the box and corner kicks he will have a huge advantage because of his height.
The best position for short players
There are a number of positions that are suited to smaller players. A full-back or right or left-back as that position requires a lot of running and speed and they will not be needed for set pieces because of their height.
The other position suited to smaller players is on the wings. This is because pace and trickery play a huge role and shorter players will often be quicker and have a few tricks up their sleeves to get past defenders.