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Becoming a Complete Soccer Player

Updated: May 9, 2023


Soccer goal shot - becoming a complete soccer player


What does it mean to become a complete soccer player?


It means that you have all the physical, tactical, and mental skills necessary to succeed. You need all three in order to reach your full potential.


In this post, I'll outline the core skills you need and share why the mental game of soccer is so important!


Let's get started!


Physical Skills


This includes things like:

Without these core skills, you’ll never succeed as a soccer player. They are the foundational building blocks that you must have in order to compete AND succeed at any level.


Tactical Skills


In addition to the physical skills, you will also need tactical skills. This has to do with the strategy and tactics of soccer. This includes things like:

  • Understanding Formations

  • Creating Space

  • Counter Attack

  • Possession

  • Direct Play

Strategy and tactics play a key role in soccer, especially as you play more competitively like at the college or pro level.


Without an understanding of strategy and tactics, your physical abilities will only get you so far. Soccer becomes more of a mental game the further you go.


You have to be thinking two and three plays ahead and reading the game at a much faster pace.


If you have developed the physical and tactical skills, great job. That’s a great start. But being a complete player entails so much more.


In order to compete at the highest levels and become the best player you can be, you have to master the mental skills. The mental side of soccer.


Mental Skills


This would be things like:

These are the skills that connect all your knowledge, skill, and ability as a soccer player. They make or break your game and allow you to maximize your abilities.


For example, what good is all the talent in the world if you get psyched out by the other team?


Or what good is all your training if you choke when it matters most?


Like I said before, you need every piece of the pie in order to succeed. You need the physical, tactical, and mental skills to be a great soccer player.


But which one do you think gets the least attention? Or put another way, which one is the most neglected?


Developing the Mental Side of Your Game


If you said mental, then you are correct. It’s just not as flashy or fun as the other two.


But I can’t stress enough how important it is to develop the mental side of your game.


So how can you do it? How can you develop the mental skills necessary to become a complete soccer player?


There’s no one size fits all approach, and some struggle more with this than others. But I know a simple way you can start developing mental skills...today!


Soccer Book - Playing Out of Your Mind



It’s a book called "Playing Out of Your Mind" and it’s the best book I’ve ever read about mental toughness for soccer players.


It’s the book I used while I was playing soccer at BYU. It’s easy to read and only has 70 pages or so of content.


But the cool thing about this book is the strategies really work. They work great!


My personal favorite is visualization and the book covers it in detail.


I always get better results as a player when I visualize, and it helped me immensely during my time at BYU.


I’m a naturally shy person and we had to play in some big time games. Sometimes we played in front of fans as big as 3,000 to 5,000 people.


And even though I love the game, I’ll admit that this affected me quite a bit.


But once I started utilizing the strategies in this book, everything got so much better. I was able to keep myself cool, calm, and composed.


I was able to play with more confidence and make a bigger impact on the game.


Why Use the Book


So why get the book? Why not go about it in your own way?


I really like the book because it gives you an action plan you can follow.


The mental side of soccer is talked about so little and most people have no idea of what it is or how to develop it.


But this book as actionable strategies used by real soccer players that you can start using today.


Summary


If you want to become a complete soccer player, make sure you train all three areas.

  • Physical

  • Tactical

  • Mental

Each one is key to your progression as a player.


But don’t overlook the mental. It’s worth the time and investment to develop it. The book (paid link) I mentioned above costs less than $20 and I still use it to this day.


That's why I wanted to do this post. Whether you use the book or not, soccer is game that takes time and dedication to become good at it.


This should give you an outline of some skills you will need to become a great soccer player.


I have written about several of these topics on this blog and will continue to add more content in the future.


It's a game that I love and have played all of my life. So I'm hoping to share tips that I know will work and help the soccer community.



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