The single most important skill in soccer

by Ivan Bobanovic | Last updated

Balance…that’s right, balance! Many people overlook balance and take it for granted.  Balance is a skill.  Balance requires practice…and a lot of it. The best players in the world all know this, do you?  Here’s how you add balance to your game.

Balance is a general term that refers to a players center of gravity.  Balance can be represented in the form of mechanics and agility both with and without the ball. Why is it that some of the more skillful players are able to perform an abundance of tricks and complicated techniques without ever losing their footing or balance?  It’s because they’ve perfected their balance and strengthened their agility.

Lets stop for a second and ask ourselves what agility means.  Agility means that you have the ability to change your direction without losing balance or speed.  In order to materialize this skill, there are a few principles you need to follow:

(1) Always keep your center of gravity low.  This means being on your toes at all times and not allowing yourself to become too static.  Your body should always be in a dynamic state.  By that I mean you should be ready to pounce at any situation that develops.  Lean forward slightly and have your knee’s bent…this will help you be ready for anything.

(2) Don’t flare your arms all over the place.  Use your arms to create leverage for the rest of your body to maintain balance, but don’t wave them all over the place.  Waving your arms around actually decreases your balance.

(3) Constantly shuffle your feet.  When you have the ball at your feet, take smaller steps and increase the number of times you touch the ball.  Defenders are looking to attack a player with the ball when it is furthest from his/her foot.  Therefore, always take small strides, keep the ball close to you and touch it more than you normally would.  You’ll increase your balance, but decrease the defenders balance as he/she will never know when to commit.

I gained a true appreciation for balance when I watched players like Zidane, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo who did moves with such power and conviction, and it was all a result of their incredible balance.

Watch here as the players of Manchester United take part in an exercise to work on their balance.  Developing your leg strength is ultimately one of the most important things in assuring balance.

3 Responses to “The single most important skill in soccer

  • Hello,

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your site and this post. You make some very informative points.Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the comment! Balance is so important in soccer. Building the muscles in your thighs will greatly increase your ability to do the moves you want.

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