The 3 Principles of Soccer
Soccer Principles are the concepts of the sport that allow players to be effective on the pitch.
Soccer is a sport based on 3 main principles and abilities. There are many sub-abilities you need to carry in your locker, but experts narrow it down to 3 areas; technical ability, athleticism and physical ability, and the tactical IQ and the mental of the game. A world class player is considered to have a balance of skill shared within these abilities. In the modern age, you rarely see a prime soccer player with a superb ability in one area, but with sub-standard ability in the other two areas. That’s why it’s important to train each one of them principles in order to ensure you have balanced competence between each of them. Having a balanced skill set is guaranteed to make you into a better player.
Many would argue that technical ability is the most important out of the three; and I would tend to agree. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the other areas and focus solely on your technical ability. Even though you train and spend the most time on your technique and perfecting your craft, the other areas are just as if not more significant than the technical side of the game.
Your technical ability has to do with what you can do with the ball. Below are some technical skills a player focuses in and improves during training.
- Passing (short, medium, and long range)
- First Touch
- Set-Piece Competency
- Skill Set (scissors, body feints, Maradona’s etc.)
- Turning Maneuvers
Technical ability is one of the principles you can improve with repetition and deliberate practice. Different players have different sets of weaknesses and strengths in certain areas of the technical area. It’s up to the individual to find those weaknesses and attempt to train them until they are at a proficient level.
A player’s technical ability is seen all over the pitch when in a game of soccer. However, the average player has the ball at his/her feet for an average of 3 minutes per game, meaning your ability off-the-ball is crucial as well. Technique can be practiced and it can also be taught. However, repetition and deliberate practice will be necessary if a player is to improve in an area of their technical side of the game.
Tactical knowledge is really underrated in the game. It is vital, however, to have a strategic vision of the game and a sense of game management to have an impact on the match. Many tactical instructions tend to come from a coach’s instruction, or the way your team goes about playing the game. Football IQ is one of the principles that comes with game experience and by having an understanding for the game in general.
Apart from having game experience, you can improve your soccer IQ by watching professional games and analyzing them at a closer level. There are millions of free resources out there dedicated to analyzing games and individual player performances. You can also record your game and analyze your game footage which is really effective. In fact, many professional clubs have used video analysis and have found success in using footage to improve their game for the future.
The mental side of the game arguably makes up 60% or more of the game. Anyone can practice and improve their technical side or get stronger in the gym, but the mental side is personal, and it is up to you to perfect and find that mental toughness. Having the right mindset while in play can be the difference between a positive performance and a sub-par one. Many coaches around the world state they would rather take a mentally tough player, than a technical, mentally weak player. That speaks volumes about how important the mental side of the game is.
The mental aspect of the game is improved through experience, exposure to different scenario’s and your personal insight.
Soccer Venture has a category dedicated to the Mental Side of the Game… click here to check it out!
Let’s face it, out of all the principles, this one is the most “flashy.” Everyone wants to look strong, be fast and rapid, and jump like if they were on a trampoline. However, most athletes tend to wander off when training their physical shape, and neglect exercises that are soccer specific. Some exercises that power lifters or bodybuilders perform may not be suitable for the purpose of becoming a better player.
Here are some physical traits a soccer player looks to improve on and increase their power in:
- Acceleration and Explosiveness
- Vertical/Jumping Power
- Change of Direction
Many athletes tend to believe they can get away with working out and improving their physical state while having a poor diet. That’s when they are wrong. 60% of having a solid foundation in terms of your body comes from nutrition you intake. What you put into your body, is what you also get out of your body. Make sure you think about that when you are making choices about your nutrition.
Those physical characteristics can be all the difference in a game. In the modern world, it has become so important to be an athlete and be explosive on the pitch. Height doesn’t tend to matter unless it is hindering you from your performance. In that case, find your strengths and revolve your game along those strengths.
Soccer Venture has a category dedicated to Physicality alone! Check it out and click here.
That’s a wrap for this article! If you have enjoyed reading, please make sure to share it using the social links below!
Make sure you are subscribed to Soccer Venture’s newsletter to make sure you never miss an article! Click here to subscribe!
Also, let me know your thoughts on these principles. What else would you consider a principle? If I were to add another principle, it would be emotional strength and control.