Youth players sometimes find themselves not fully developed and on the smaller side in height and weight. Often, you believe that you need to be 6’2 and be a great a soccer player, and this idea isn’t accurate. We see day in and day out great soccer players who are small at not 6’2. In this post, I discuss with you how to navigate the game when you’re playing against bigger players and give you some tips you can start implementing in your game today.
1. Thinking Quicker with and without the ball
Quincy and I always emphasize playing quickly. Playing quickly shows coaches that you're a thinker and are still trying to dissect the game to win. Playing swiftly gives your teammates more time on the ball, and provides the other team less time to react. This idea is how you should always approach every practice and game. Remember to say to yourself, “ How can I pass, dribble, or move in a way that gives my teammates enough time to do what they’re good at during the match. The reality of the situation is bigger players will try to use their strength and athleticism to impose themselves on you, and that's ok. The way to combat that is to think quicker. Our book details this and other topics to find success in Soccer. The quicker you think will never give a bigger player enough time to get close to you.
2. Master your touches ( Dribbling and Passing)
Mastering your touch will take you a long way in your development, especially if you're smaller. If you haven’t watched these two players, go back and watch their youtube videos. The two players I’m talking about are Xavi and Andres Iniesta. These guys were 5’7 and 5’8 and are considered the best midfielders in the world. Their ball control and mastery is something to marvel over, and I always loved watching these two. They knew that they weren’t the biggest and most athletic, but that didn’t stop them from excelling. So you have to get comfortable with the ball at your feet. The ball has to be an extension of your body if you want to maneuver around players bigger than you. If you aren’t kicking a ball against the wall or doing extra training outside of your team practice, you will struggle in Soccer, period.
3. Strong sense of balance (Strong Core)
Soccer is a physical sport, and you will encounter situations where bigger players will get close to you and try to tackle you and be aggressive, so you have to prepare for these situations. Having a strong core will allow you to counter attack this type of player. Your core will enable you to sprint, cut, jump, pass, shoot, etcetera. Making sure you don’t show the ball to bigger players is essential because bigger players want to see the ball so they can win duals and tackle. Core Strength has to be maintained and worked at. So if you haven’t checked out our fitness Friday's segments, go to our Youtube page and check it out.
4. Believe in your ability
Belief in yourself comes through preparation. Feeling that you’re prepared for a game will make you feel confident and eager to play the game. So always remind yourself that you are capable and you’re ready for this game because you’ve put in the hours and have been a student of the game.
For all my smaller players out there, start implementing this mindset as soon as possible so you can begin finding success against bigger players. If you guys want more tips on how to find success in soccer, grab a copy of our free book. In our book, we go into detail of what it is going to take to take your game to the next level.