Win Each Individual Battle: The Game Victories will Follow
Every soccer team shares the same goals; they want to play great soccer, but they also want to win every game. In competitive sports, such is the way of things. But before any team can start celebrating their hard-fought victory, they need to win the individual battles that occur roughly every 3 seconds on the pitch. This is where focus needs to be for a player. Individual battles are key for teams to succeed, and your focus should be on always doing your part to help the team win every battle that emerges.
When a player dribbles past three players and scores a goal, he or she has won 4 individual battles, one with each of the defenders and the one with the goalie. If any one of those opponents had risen up to the challenge to stop the attacking player, the goal could have been avoided and the team would have a better chance at winning the game. So how can you go about winning the individual battles?
Focus on both your dribbling skills and your ability to win the ball back. By mastering ball control and dribbling, a player will have the necessary tools to beat an opponent with the ball. This is not easy! Most defenders have a pretty solid arsenal of tools for defending, and even when you beat one defender another will often approach. Even if you beat 3 defenders but lose possession to the 4th, you’ve still lost a battle and the ball for your team.
Therefore, learn a general mastery of the team as a whole. Individual battles in soccer are not necessarily just the efforts of one player versus another, they encompass the entire team. When you pass the ball by a defender to a teammate and put him or her into an area of space, you have won a battle. Passing is vital to success in soccer. So my recommendation would be that after you progress past a defender, look up to see if any teammates are open or making advancing runs. Beating a marker and getting open for a pass counts as an individual victory as well.
Defensively, these battles are just as important. Most soccer games only see a handful of goals and the reason for this is that the defenders usually win the individual battles. When a player runs at you, they typically have to perform some kind of trick or use speed to beat you. Passing around you is the safest and easiest route to beating an opponent. But when defending against an attacker, you should always maintain focus on the ball and wait for your opponent to make a mistake. Don’t follow their tricky foot movements as decent players use those tctics to throw you off.
Also, defensive work also encompasses the entire team, all the way from the goalie up to the striker. When a striker loses the ball and lazily jogs back, they lose a battle. Instead, a forward should put pressure on a nearby player with the ball. Make them make a mistake. Your defensive work can easily win the ball back for team quicker and get it back to your feet in a position to score. Make the battles and win them defensively.
As you can see, there are countless battles going on throughout an entire soccer match between all the players. No doubt, whichever team wins more of these will likely be the ones favored in the final score line. Therefore, forget about the match for a second and just focus on beating your opponent each and every time you square off throughout a game. The hard-fought victory will then come naturally!