When you’re young, playing against bigger and older players is intimidating and can mess with your confidence. It’s like in the movie space jam when Michael Jordan and the Toon Squad are playing against the Monstars. The monstars are dominating in the beginning and make the toon squad look pathetic. Everything the bigger, stronger, faster player does seem to work and your game dwindles and you don’t play your best. But, just like in Space Jam, you too can be smarter and more efficient and find success when playing against bigger and older players.
Playing against bigger and older players will require a higher demand for technical and tactical ability. Here my 4 tips on how to find success when you’re in this scenario.
1. Play Quicker/technical ability
You have to understand the quicker you play, the more difficult it is to get close to you. Players who are older and bigger are going to use the physical attributes whenever they can because you're a smaller player. Don't hold onto the ball or you will get knocked around and the game will be difficult. There is a time and place to dribble the ball, but more often than not you need to get the ball off your foot and make another angle to get open. Keep it simple, simplicity is your friend!
2. Respect their ability, but don’t let it scare you.
Always respect your opponent. When you underestimate and not take them seriously, that is when you lose and play poorly because your mindset wasn't right. Once respect is established, it is still necessary to have the mindset of never feeling scared or intimated. As I said, this is what older players constantly do when playing against smaller players. Go out there and feel like you are the best player on the field and that nothing can stop you. Believe in yourself or no one else will
3. Don’t let their physicality dictate play
Size means nothing, as some of the best players in the world are small. They never make that excuses and rely on other things ( technical ability/tactical ability) to be successful. Don't let the bigger player rough you up and take you out of your game. There will be times they might get stuck in, but that's ok, keep doing the right things and doing your best to take all the physicality out of the game and you'll do great
4. Tactically you have to be better.
Soccer can be won with smarts. Understanding situations on the field and making the correct play is what separates the good players from the greats. If you're smaller this is a great skill to learn because you can move and understand the game quicker than your opponent. Being two steps ahead in the game will frustrate your opponent and have he or she forcing the game. Once you frustrate your opponent, you've won, now you must take advantage. Become a student of the game and watch your game go to another level.