How to get stronger at soccer? 17 tips

Are you a soccer player looking to significantly improve your performance in weekend matches? Did you know that, in reality, 80% of your training takes place during the week, and that matches only account for 20% of your success? Here are 17 key points.

How to become a better soccer player at your level?

You don't need all the things the pros have to improve their performance. Getting better every day depends on perseverance and commitment.

Setting up a real daily routine, with good habits, takes up 80% of your time, with the remaining 20% played out during the match. It's up to you to keep faith in your abilities and your training, so as not to let your opponents throw you off balance.

Whatever your condition or resources, the result of your performance at the weekend will be equal to the effort you put in during the week.

There's no magic formula in this article, only lasting solutions: by implementing a series of steps and habits to follow, you'll considerably improve your performance during matches. Here's our advice on soccer.

1. Show discipline

To succeed at anything, you have to be disciplined. There's always a debate in soccer that discipline is more important than talent, or that talent is more important than discipline. To play soccer, you need both. But, if you're not very talented but much more disciplined than other players who are more talented than you, you'll end up becoming a better player.

Undisciplined teams don't go anywhere. There's no point in trying to play better at the weekend if you're not prepared to put in the necessary effort. Go to all your soccer practices on time, and train as you're told, and you'll see better results.

2. Stay motivated: know "why" you're doing it

As with everything else, you need to know why you're doing it? Why do you train hard every day? It's not enough to say you want to play better at the weekend, you also need to want something that goes even further. What do you want to become in the future as a soccer player?

Visualizing your why is something that will keep you motivated. Most of the time, when people lose their motivation to do something, it's because they've forgotten why they started. If you want to play better at the weekend, this is something you need to do right from the start.

3. Get organized and be rigorous in your training

Plan your week in advance:

  • What days and times do I have soccer training?
  • What else do I do apart from soccer?
  • How will I spend each day?
  • What can I do to organize my time better and arrive at training in the best possible conditions?
  • Do I take the time to eat and rest properly?

On days when you don't have training sessions, what can you do in your free time to become a better player? Visualize the tasks you will accomplish each day.

5. Eat well: create good habits before and after training

For today's top athletes, good nutrition isn't a perk, it's a necessity. If it's not managed properly, it can put you at a considerable disadvantage compared to the other players who take care of it.

Most of the time, when we think of healthy eating, we think of boring vegetables, salads and so on. That's not the case at all; you can take a big step forward simply by avoiding three things from now on: fast-food restaurants, sodas (drink water instead) and bad sugar.

It's important to eat properly before a training session or match to play better, as you need to give your body the energy it needs.

Eat a well-balanced meal two hours before the match or training session.

6. Drink water, stay hydrated during training

This is an extremely important part: staying well hydrated in and out of training. If you make sure you're well hydrated during soccer training, you'll train better, and training better means performing better. Take care of your body, it will pay you back.

7. A good night's sleep for proper rest and recovery

The first activity that complements physical exercise is sleep. Studies have shown that the number of hours you sleep has a significant impact on your sporting performance. By getting the right amount of rest you need, your reaction time, speed and accuracy increase considerably compared to those who don't get enough sleep.

Obesity is directly linked to lack of rest. Literally, your body loses fat while you sleep. What's more, lack of rest directly affects your body's hormones. Not sleeping properly creates a hormonal imbalance in the body that directly affects muscle growth and fat reduction. Finally, lack of sleep can also lead you to depression, lack of productivity and poor concentration.

8. Crosstraining, weight training with heavy weights

Weightlifting is an activity that needs to be regulated. Try to go to the gym only twice a week for strength training and perhaps once a week for regular exercise.

In any case, the harder the work you'll be doing in the weight room, the further away it should be from your playing day.

If you're playing at the weekend, the best thing to do is probably weight training on Mondays and Wednesdays. This will give your muscles enough time to recover from those heavy exercises.

Discover our free 5-week general physical preparation plan.

You can train at home with weight training equipment adapted to your soccer training.

9. Look after your body: give it the right care

If you're going to play with post-training muscle soreness, you probably won't perform at the level you want.

Find out more about our range of sports care products.

10. Increase your endurance

When you're training, it's not all about having a good, relaxing time kicking a ball around and playing with it. It's about training your stamina and feeling tired. If you don't train your stamina, then at the weekend, don't wonder why you feel so tired.

What makes a footballer a good player isn't that he can play one good game, it's that he can maintain a consistent performance for all 90 minutes. Endurance is one of the most important aspects of the game.

11. Quality before quantity

Beware of over-training, which can slow down your progress: train less, but better. It's not the quantity of training that counts, but the fact of training better. It's not about running for two hours in a straight line, when you can do an intense ten-minute sprint exercise that could bring you better results. Everyone's success depends solely on the effort and quality of your workout.

12. Push your own limits by training at home

Want to be the best player on your team? Then you'll always want to do something that goes a little further than what everyone else is doing. In your spare time, look for exercises you can do yourself at home.

Specific exercises to increase stamina, ball control, technique, shooting, positioning, etc.

13. Build strong relationships with teammates

Antoine Griezmann's secret to playing better before matches? The only thing he does is train, laugh and relax with his team-mates before the match even starts.

This shows how important it is to have a good relationship with your teammates. Seeing teammates as if they were your friends gives you a lot more confidence when you're out on the pitch. Friends will always support you, even if you do things wrong.

14. Learn from your mistakes

Make mistakes! That's the only way to make progress. Take measured risks. Don't demonize your mistakes; use them to learn from them.

People who make the most mistakes tend to be the most successful. The worst thing you can do is keep thinking about what you did wrong at a soccer match.

15. Visualize the game and the pitch

A good tip is to try and visualize how absolutely complete the game will be. Imagine having the best game you'll ever have. Imagine making beautiful passes, moving quickly through space, taking great shots, etc. Visualize the field you're going to play on, look for photos online. This will give you a better idea of what the game will be like, and you'll feel more confident and self-assured.

16. Pack for the game the night before

  • What time is the game?
  • When do I have to be on the pitch?
  • What time should I eat?
  • What should I pack in my bag?
  • What should I buy to stay hydrated?
  • What time should I go to sleep so I'm well rested?

These are all questions you need to answer the day before the match to be prepared in the best possible way.

17. The ultimate key: trust is everything

The most important person you talk to every day is yourself. So, at soccer matches and training sessions, talk to yourself to motivate yourself to become better: "I can do it", "Take this ball", "You're strong and fast". Saying things like this to yourself can have a bigger impact than you might think.

Body language: it's more important than you think, the way you stand communicates more than actual words. Having a confident posture will give you more self-confidence and show the same to your opponents.

Finally, a good soccer player is always ready. That's why Netsportique has developed the best soccer training equipment to help you progress further and perform better in your matches. We're here to help you develop your potential, with pleasure.

Find out also how to improve your soccer shooting or how to join a training center.

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