When your skill level becomes very abundant and your team is playing at a high level it is often the smallest details of the game that separate one team from another, one player from another. The smartest and best players often have a trick or two up their sleeve in case the time comes to use it. They have often practiced these traits in training and mentally gone over the scenario in case the play occurs in a game. This summer’s world cup has seen some ‘sneaky’ goals scored and surprise plays that were by no means lucky. Whether you’re a professional or amateur player developing these secrets will always put you one step ahead of the competition and make you a feared apponent.
1) Surprise the goalie and everybody with this shot: when sprinting down the field and you’re about to cross the ball for a header, instead surprise everyone with shot on net from an acute angle. This play requires extreme accuracy, however, if successfully pulled off can surprise even the best. Look to see whether the goalie is standing his goal line or not. The further the goalie is off his line then the greater the opening on net there will be. Only take this chance on net if you are close enough otherwise the chances of successfully converting this shot greatly diminish. Close range would be inside the 18-yard box. Watch highlight video of the game and more specifically Brazilian defender Maicon surprise everybody with his goal in the opening round of versus Korea DPR.
2) Taking penalty shots: the key thing to remember here is not to second guess yourself. Whether you are the regular penalty taker or not, stick to your routine; choose your spot and put the ball in the back of the net. The moment you begin to second guess yourself is the moment problems occur. If you can consistently do this then you will separate yourself from others. People will be surprised at your level of consistency and you will become a feared penalty kicker. Nerves of steal or just really well prepared?
3) The speed of thought: quick, think fast! If you can think fast in the field of play then you will surprise many people. At the same time don’t think so fast that you play without control. The idea is you always want to be thinking several plays ahead. Remember that each play in itself create several other possibilities. It becomes obvious when watching and playing against certain players those that have a higher speed of thought. Mentally train yourself to think at least one play ahead so that when that play occurs you will be able to react instinctively creating a wonderful play.
4) The ball is round…expect the unexpected: if you take an optimistic approach to the game anything can happen. The game is 90 minutes and the ball can bounce any which way. You never know what can happen. Naturally one cannot predict where the ball will bounce and how the game will turn out but if you go into the game with the mentality that the game is yours to be won (not just played) then you will have a distinct advantage over your opponents.
5) Vision: my favorite player was Zinedine Zidane. He had the best vision on the field and was able to make passes and create plays often out of nothing. Not only did he have an incredible touch on the ball but he was able to read defenders and how they would move. This gave him the advantage with his movements, dribbles and passes. Simple things you can do are: (1) always have your head up and (2) read the play. Many players get caught with their head down and they miss out on so much of the game. By knowing where all your teammates on the field are and the runs they make you will instantly give yourself more options to create plays. Soon enough people will begin to talk about the great vision you have.
6) Accuracy over power: many players love to kick the ball on net as hard as they can. In fact, even at the world cup level players will shoot the ball fifty rows into the crowd and then wonder how the heck that happened. The reality is if you score with a powerful shot or not makes no difference. The bottom line is if you score. With this being said really work on developing accuracy in your shot. The net is a lot bigger than it may seem and if you can consistently pick out corners you will surprise everyone on the field. The shots on net will still require enough power but a greater emphasis should be placed on accuracy. David Beckham is widely known for his free-kick taking abilities but watch this video of Beckham early in his career where he scores many great goals in live play. Many of these shots came from outside the box and his accuracy is what beat the goalie. The next time you are 20 yard from the net try picking out a corner instead of blasting the ball as hard as you can hoping for the best. You’ll be surprised at the results.