Ask yourself this:  Are you ok NOT being the best?

Think about your last game and just how well you played.  Were you better than everyone else? Or were you just about average, having a bit of fun while making up the numbers?

If you want to play this game at the highest level, be the best player in your team and have everyone desperate to play with you, then you can no longer afford to coast from game to game.

Like trying to drive a car with the hand brake on, you’re holding yourself back.

You need to practice your football skills.

And I don’t just mean turn up for your weekly training session.  I mean practice.  ALL OF THE TIME.

But I don’t have anyone to practice with.

So what?  The only players that can guarantee daily sessions with a bunch of like-minded people are already playing professionally.  If you want to become the best then you have to take advantage of the resources that you have.

But where do I start?  I have no idea how I should be practicing.

This is why you’re going to love this post – a football skills tutorial.

Over the next 4 sections, I’m going to give you everything you need to practice your football skills on your own, without having to rely on others for help.

I’ll also recommend some equipment that will turbo-charge your skills even faster (look out for the white boxes below).  But don’t worry, the training advice that follows can be done anywhere and all you really need is a ball.

Finally, get to the bottom of the post and I’ll show you where you can download a summary of everything I’ve outlined, in the form of an easy to follow plan.

So let’s get started.

Warm-Up

Just because you don’t have a coach to keep an eye on you, does not mean that you can skip your warm-up.

It’s tempting to dive straight in to booting a ball around, especially when you don’t have a lot of time to practice.  But failing to prepare your body properly is like trying to bend toffee – without warming it up first it’s just going to break.

Not only is a proper warm-up essential to avoid injury, do it right and you’re preparing your body for the training to come, giving you a head start in your practice session.

So, factor in 5-10 minutes at the start of your practice and follow this simple progression –

  • 2-3 minutes of gentle jogging, gradually increasing the intensity until you can feel your pulse quickening
  • 2-3 minutes of dynamic stretching, focusing on your quads (thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs) and groin (inside of thighs)
  • 5 minutes of ball work

(Check out my previous post on how to warm-up effectively.  There’s a lot more detail there and I’ve linked out to some videos showing how to perform the dynamic stretches)

BONUS TIP: for the ball work part of the warm-up, try doing your own ‘crossbar challenge’ –

  1. Stand with the ball in the centre circle
  2. Perform a lobbed shot and try to hit the crossbar of the goal
  3. Jog to retrieve the ball
  4. Dribble back to the centre circle
  5. Repeat, shooting and dribbling with your other foot

This works best of you have a full size pitch to practice on.  But you can play this game anywhere if you have a bit of space and a target in the distance to aim for.

Think of your warm-up as part of your practice.  Not only are you preventing your body from sustaining injury, but you’re easing your way into the technical football skills training you’re about to do.  Keep this in mind next time you’re in a rush and you’re tempted to skip this part of your session.

Technical Football Skills Practice

Now that you’re all warmed up it’s time for us to get started on developing your technique.

We can talk to death about fitness, strength, which formation is best, who has the best haircut etc., but a player without good technical football skills is about as much use as car without wheels – you’re going nowhere.

The game is basically about passing, dribbling, shooting and control, and this is where we’re going to focus our practice.

We’ve already established that you want this more than anyone else, so we’re going to have to figure out a way that you can practice these techniques without their help.

Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

Ball Control

If you can’t make the ball do what you want it to do then how can you expect to be a great footballer?

Control of the ball comes down to your first touch, your ability to get possession of it, and move it into a position where you can use it.  To get better at this you have to practice receiving the ball with ball control drills.

But how do you do this if there’s no-one to give it to you?

Well, there are a couple of things that you can use to ‘pass’ the ball to you –

Walls – grab your ball and stand in front of a sturdy wall.  Hit a firm shot against the wall and try to control the ball on the rebound.  Aim to control the ball so that it sits just right for you to hit your next shot.  Take turns controlling the ball with each foot.

Gravity – find a bit of open space and kick the ball from your hands straight up into the air.  As it comes back down, cushion it nicely and bring it back under your control.  Again, aim to set it in a position from which you can shoot or pass without having to take another touch.

Quick Feet Training System

If you’re really committed to becoming the best, then you absolutely have to check this piece of kit out in the video below.

The Quick Feet Training System has been designed to force you to make more touches on the ball than you can get through any other form of training.  The designers claim that through just 15-minutes of practice a day you will see a dramatic improvement in your ball control skills and spatial awareness.

It’s not cheap, but if you are really serious about your development then you need to get your hands on it.  If it’s any help, you can purchase it through Amazon and get free shipping – CLICK HERE

Shooting

Don’t let those players fool you.

The ones that think a clean sheet is the greatest achievement you can get on a football pitch.

All players want to score goals.

But if your shooting technique is not up to scratch, how many chances are you going to miss?

A large part of your practice needs to focus on your shooting technique.  If you’re going to convert all of your chances you better make sure that you’re hitting the ball with both accuracy and power.

Shooting drills are a little easier to do on your own – all you need is a ball and something to aim it at.

Get yourself in front of that wall again and practice shooting the ball against it.  At first, I’m not concerned about accuracy – I just want to make sure that you have your technique right.  As you go to strike the ball, follow these tips to ensure that you get the perfect contact each time –

You’re only going to get better at this through repetition – you need to keep practicing until hitting that sweet spot becomes second nature.

And I want you to do it with both feet.

Next, we’re going to look at improving your accuracy.  So, set yourself in front of the wall again, but this time I want you to aim for specific targets at varying heights.  Pick out a spot at ground level, one at waist level and one about level with your head.

Keep practicing until you can hit those targets with perfect technique every time.

SKLZ Solo Practice Kick Trainer

The SKLZ kick trainer is not only perfect for developing your ball control but it’s ideal for working on your shooting technique too.

As the ball will come right back to you each time, you’ll spend less time retrieving it and more time practicing.  Just be careful with those huge shots – they’ll bring tears to your eyes if they hit you in the wrong place as they come back.

To get hold of one for less than $20 just CLICK HERE

 

Dribbling

Your ability to dribble the ball effectively is a reflection of how good your close control is.

For a defender, their worst nightmare is to see you running at them with the ball.  But if you’re not fully in control of that ball, you’ll look more like an excited puppy than a dangerous winger.

In order to take your dribbling skills to the next level, you’re going to have to practice moving the ball like it is glued to your foot.

Try these dribbling drills, recommended by Gareth Bale, to perfect your movement through tight spaces –

  1. BASIC – Set down 5 markers on the ground in a rough zig-zag shape, about 6 yards (5 metres) apart.  Run from one marker to the next, aiming to touch the ball with the outside of your foot as many times as possible between each marker.
  2. ADVANCED – Take 14 markers and place them at random, spread within a rough circular area fairly close together.  Start from one end and dribble your way through the ‘minefield’ without touching any of the markers.  Your close control is going to have to be good here to move through the markers at speed.

You can use pretty much anything for the markers – cones, poles, spots or even a bundle of socks.

If you want to perform these drills properly (and avoid getting injured tripping over a pile of jackets), get hold of a professional set of markers –

Precision Space Flexible Plastic Markers

These cones are ideal for the job.

They’re light but robust, and come with a great little storage stand so you’ll not lose any when you throw them back in the garage after practice.  You even get to choose your favourite colour!

For 50 markers they’re cheap too.  To get your hands on a set CLICK HERE

Passing

The ability to pass the ball to a team mate is the most fundamental skill you need for football.

If you cannot move the ball with accuracy to your team mate every time, then you’ll always be just an average player.

But if the definition of passing the ball is moving from one player to another, how can you possibly practice this on your own?

Remember that wall you were practicing against?  Yep, get back out there.

This time though, I want you to mark out specific targets (hopefully using a non-permanent marker, like chalk) at different heights.  Mark some targets low down, some at shin-level, waist-level and head level and some nice and high up.

The idea is to have a huge range of short passing options.

Now, as you begin passing the ball against the wall and aiming for different targets, don’t stand still.  I want you to keep your body moving, changing your distance and the angle from the wall so that you are not only changing up the height of your passes, but also the power and angle.

Take it slowly at first and focus on accuracy.  Feel free to take a touch as you receive the ball and before you pass it.  When you’re feeling comfortable, restrict yourself to one-touch passes only.

SKLZ Solo Practice Kick Trainer

The SKLZ kick trainer is quickly becoming an essential piece of kit for us!

Just like how we used it to develop our shooting technique, it can be used to work on your passing technique and accuracy.  You’ll still need a target to aim for, but you’re not restricted to standing in front of a wall all day.

The £20 price is starting to look like a bit of a bargain, so to get hold of one just CLICK HERE

Practice Plan

So now you know which football skills and techniques that you need to be working on.

You know how to develop your ball control, shooting, dribbling and passing, and you might even have your hands on some specialist equipment to give your practice sessions a boost.

But do you think this is all you need to become the best?

Knowing what to do is one thing, but now you have to practice.  Over and over again.

Still not sure what you should be doing, when?

OK, lucky for you that I have created a little bonus for you.

I’ve taken all of the advice outlined in this post and put it together into a handy little training schedule – a football skills step-by-step guide.

Just enter your name and email address below then click ‘Gimme!’.  I’ll then send you an email asking you to confirm your email address.  Do that and I’ll send you another email containing links to a boat-load of goodies, including the training schedule.

All for FREE!

NO EXCUSES!

Summary

It’s hardly rocket science is it?

To become the best, you have to work harder on your football skills than everyone else.

Turning up to training once a week just isn’t going to cut it.  You’re going to have to get off your backside and get out there with your ball EVERY DAY.

Having nobody else to train with is no longer an excuse.  With a little bit of creativity, and with the help of some of the equipment I have listed below, you can do this without having to rely on anyone else.

So ask yourself – are you happy NOT being the best?