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How Can I Improve On My Own?

I played my first soccer season this year, and I am in the 9th grade.
I want to do better.
I am a center mid and can run. I want to be able to kick the ball harder (I can’t kick very hard) and I want to be able to dribble fast and get around people.
Any easy leg exercises to increase strength? Any other ways to improve?
Thanks!

Start with the video above. It’s not fancy, but it only takes a few minutes (start with 25 or even 10 repetitions of each skill if you need to make it easier or faster). These moves help you get comfortable with the ball at your feet if you can complete this “challenge” just 3 times a week, you’ll be off to a great start.

However, you need to not only be comfortable with the ball, but you also need to be able to put different types of dribbles together one after another and combine those with your other skills. In addition, it’s useful to be able to perform these skills under pressure as you would in a game.

To begin practicing your dribbling, if you have cones, simply set them up in different patterns and practice dribbling around them with both your dominant and non-dominant feet. Check out the video below for an example.

 

Once you’re comfortable with that, have a friend or relative offer passive defense against you (this means they shadow you backpedaling and let you go forward with your dribble, but if you put the ball too far out in front of you or you lose control of the ball, they take control of it briefly then pass it right back to you and you continue).

If you don’t have cones, you can use trees, bushes, etc.

For new players, perhaps the best way to improve your kicks is to make sure you are using good form. When you are kicking:
  • make sure you are kicking with your instep or laces
  • the knee of your kicking leg should be over the ball
  • you should have good back-swing and follow-through. Also make sure your plant foot is beside the ball not in front of it or behind it
As for your kick power, you can begin weight training around the age of 14. Squats are a great exercise for developing leg strength. You can also do squats without weights. Lower your body into the squatting position and hold it for 5 seconds each time. Do as many reps as you can before you feel tired. Increase the number of reps you do each time.

Another exercise you can do without weights is “sky touches.” Basically, you bend to an almost squatting position, then you jump off the ground as high as you can and land in the position you started from. Do 10-20 reps a day.

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