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One thing that most of us have in common while watching soccer on TV is thinking I could do that. However, the harsh reality is that 99% of us don’t have the capacity to be the next Messi. Still, this doesn’t mean that it’s too late to learn how to play the game. That leaves us with one question: Is it hard to learn soccer?
Soccer is easy to learn the basics of. If you just want to have fun and kick the ball around, you can be set to go in a matter of hours. Being able to compete on a professional level takes much more. Mastering soccer and being able to understand the advanced intricacies of the game is very hard and takes a lifetime of dedication to the game.
Some people are just naturals at sports and can pick up a ball and just run circles around anyone on the field. Others take years of practice to even grasp the basics. The majority of beginner soccer players, however, is somewhere between those two extremes. This article is dedicated to them and the ways in which an average soccer beginner can improve their game quickly.
How long does it take to learn soccer?
Becoming technically good at soccer can be a task that takes years. That’s why most players are first introduced to soccer as kids, at the age of 8 or even earlier. Even after starting this early in life, soccer players need around 10 years of regular practice and play to reach an advanced level of knowledge and technical ability. Generally speaking, those who start older have a much smaller chance of reaching the professional level of play.
Learning the basics of soccer, on the other hand, is not a difficult task. This is why players are able to start so young, as the rules and basic techniques of the game are fairly easy to understand. Here’s where older beginners have an advantage; their initial progress is much quicker. A beginner player can have the basics of soccer nailed down in a matter of weeks and be ready to play and enjoy soccer confidently.
While getting really good at soccer can take an entire decade, even the most average of players can learn the basics in less than a month. This leaves us with the question of how to achieve this. That’s what we dedicate the next chapter of this article to:
How can you learn soccer fast?
Getting better at a sport takes a lot of time and dedication. Doing so in a month, as mentioned in the previous chapter, can be even more challenging. However, there are some simple rules and tips new soccer players, or those aiming to improve their game, can follow to get better at soccer fairly quickly. Here’s a short step-by-step guide on how you can learn soccer fast:
1. Build essential skills:
Building some of the essential skills is the key to fast soccer progression. Remember that scoring a goal is the end product of numerous skill and work-demanding maneuvers and hours of practice. Here are some of those skills, as well as the ways you can improve them:
- Dribbling is one of the main elements of soccer. It ensures that your team holds on to the ball and maybe even scores a goal. However, delicately kicking the ball to an opposing net is not something that comes naturally, but rather a thing that requires an hour of training. To improve your dribble quickly, practice guiding the ball between some cones at various speeds. Once you get the hang of it, switch from your dominant foot, and practice some more.
- Passing is another essential soccer element. Placing the ball directly in front of your teammate’s feet when they’re moving is not an easy thing to do. The anticipation of where to place the ball, as well as the precision to do so, comes with practice. It’s best to have a friend in the field and practice with them to improve this skill quickly.
- Shooting is what most of us play soccer for. There’s no feeling that matches scoring a gall in a match, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to do so. Kicking the ball against the wall while trying to hit a specific spot every time is a great way to get started on shooting practice.
- Defending is an essential skill that soccer beginners, especially older ones, tend to neglect. Make no mistake; you’ll need to know how to defend, regardless of your position on the field. Keeping your eyes on the ball, being aware of opponents’ positions, and knowing when to tackle are all part of the soccer defense. This is another aspect of the game where a buddy system comes in handy for practices.
2. Understand the written and unwritten rules of soccer:
Just like every sport out there, soccer has a long list of rules that need to be followed in order for the game to work. Being familiar with these rules is another essential element in becoming a better player, especially if you want to do it quickly. Here are some of the key ones you should pay attention to:
- No hands can be used in the game of soccer, so make sure to practice doing everything with your feet and pay special attention to dribble practices.
- Offside is one of the most confusing concepts for soccer newcomers. According to the rules, the attacker can’t have any parts of their body that they can score with closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-last defender.
- Recognizing your position is not a strict rule, but it helps. Keepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers all have different rules to worry about. For example, a goalkeeper rarely has to worry about being offside. Attackers and midfielders, on the other hand, need to have the rules engraved into their brains.
3. Advance your skills further:
When you feel like you’ve had enough practice and like you understand the rules, you’ve managed to learn the basics of soccer. Now, the time for advanced practice has arrived. Here’s how you can quickly improve your skills even further:
- Make every practice session count by not slacking off. You can rest once the practice is over. Soccer requires dedication, and fast learning requires even more of it.
- Ensure that you push yourself a bit further every practice session. You did 10 drills in the previous practice? In the next session, your goal is to go for 12.
- Invest in proper gear. Finding the right cleats, the perfect ball, and proper training equipment, as well as researching and being knowledgeable about them, are all part of the game. Sometimes, the only thing holding us back can be the blisters we get from wearing bad socks.
How many hours a day should you practice soccer?
There’s a piece of trivia that’s been circling the internet for years now and it says that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Investing 10,000 hours into a skill, according to the theory, is the key to success, and it can also be applied to soccer, to an extent.
If you think that you’ve invested this amount of time already, let’s put it into perspective: A total practice time of 10,000 hours equals to 5 years’ worth of full-time dedication to soccer. This would mean that we should forget about work and social life, and turn soccer into the thing we do for 40 hours every week. It would also mean that an average player, who practices three times a week for one and a half hours and plays one game each week, has invested around 4,000 hours between the ages of 6 and 18.
This is an unrealistic amount of time to dedicate to a hobby, so let’s be more realistic: Practicing soccer for 20 hours a week is more than enough to make a talented beginner into a world-class player in no less than 10 years. This is also the amount of practice time that soccer experts recommend for new players: Practicing for two-three hours per day, with a few rest days scattered throughout the week, is more than enough to advance their skills.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that all of us will become the next Messi, even if we had the free time to dedicate to the sport. Players who want to become better at soccer should practice for a few hours every day, ensuring that their practice sessions are effective. Running around the field aimlessly for hours isn’t likely to lead to improvement.
All in all, learning soccer isn’t hard. As with everything else in life, mastering it requires years of sweat and tears. We hope that this brief article taught you something new, and maybe even provided some help on your road to success in the game.