Soccer in a Winter Wonderland: Tips for Playing in Snow
Winter snowstorms often keep most Americans inside and snuggling up next to a fire, but many kids like to go outside and build a snowman or simply to play in the snow. On some occasions, an outdoor soccer game in the snow can enfold, and although it is usually a simple pickup game just for fun, there are all sorts of difficulties involved in scoring goals in the snow. Here are some tips to help improve your soccer skills in winter weather.
First off, dress warmly. Winter weather should never be taken lightly as a jovial game in the snow can easily result in a week in bed with a cold. Make sure you are wearing proper winter dress including hats, gloves, and possibly snow boots, as well as a solid jacket. Although your heavy clothing may hamper your ability to play soccer to your fullest, it is crucial to your health.
When playing soccer in the snow, be sure to keep it simple. This is no time for showing off or bedazzling your friends with a “Maradona” 360-spin. Chances are you will fall on your bum like a fool, and you could potentially hurt yourself. Therefore, play smart and calm and use more simple tactics like flicks and body blocking to maintain possession of the ball.
Another tip to remember is to go aerial. Depending on the amount of snow on the ground, a rolling pass or shot may stop in the snow after just several feet of distance. This can be a pretty frustrating experience so try and utilize those juggling skills to lift the ball over your opponents and loft them towards your target.
Shooting will also become a tricky endeavor. Since most snow games usually involve just a few friends, the goals are often mini-goals only several feet wide and with no goalie. Often the best means of scoring involve dribbling the ball right up to the goal and placing it in, not brilliant shot from distance, which will become much more difficult in the snow.
The ball becomes much harder in snowy conditions as well. It will make ball control a more difficult task and will eventually start to hurt your feet a bit when your kick the ball. Sometimes kicking a cold soccer ball will feel like kicking a brick! Therefore, refrain from attempting long passes or shots, as they will probably just hurt a lot and will be more difficult to actually end up on target. Play short passes and a smaller, tighter game.
Playing any sport in snow can be a difficult proposition and usually results in people spending a lot of time falling over and slipping on the surface. Be prepared to fall over a lot and focus a good amount of your attention on simply keeping your balance. If you can master just staying on your feet in the snow, it could go a long ways to improving your balance in more pleasing conditions.
Few official soccer games actually go on when there is snow on the ground. Most recently a MLS Cup Playoff game between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls was cancelled due to snowfall. Clearly professional leagues prefer to not play in the snow, but for a small game just for fun, the snow provides a wonderful addition to the game of soccer.