Three Ways to Improve Your Soccer Vision
I’ve been in this game for years and when I speak with other players or coaches about youth and coaching, I always get the same ole lackey responses.
“We must teach first touch!” “We must coach dribbling skills!” “Speed is so important in the modern game!”
Well ok, when teaching the game all of those are important and my colleagues are genuinely correct. But, how I see it, “vision” is by far the most powerful skill! Now let me explain why.
There are some fortunate souls who are born with the innate skill of good vision. However, the rest of us need to cultivate and really work on forming this skill. Just like any other skill be that, speed, dribbling, passing etc. You should also work on your vision. Here are some ways to Improve your Soccer vision.
Why vision is important in soccer:
• Vision creates calmness
With good vision you will promote other important qualities like calmness. Take for example you are in the midst of high-pressure situations. If you see where your opponents are, and where they are coming from you are more capable of trapping the ball in the right direction away from the high-pressure defense. Also, with good vision you will know where your teammates are located at in regards to the opponents high-pressure. This allows for a smart one touch pass, or just being tranquil with possession. Since you know where opponents and teammates are at you are already ahead of the game!
• Vision helps with trapping
Trapping is very important and of coarse you need the ability to trap physically but you also need to be aware of who’s around you. Being calm because you know where your teammates are positioned, is an enabler to your trapping ability. Your first touch will be calm, since you are confident and know where people are around you. Your support and square pass is just one trap away!
• Vision helps dribbling and passing
Imagine you receive a ball, and you see everyone on the field because of your awesome vision. You have time to take someone on so you start dribbling. You make a move, and then you notice someone coming in from the side to double-team you. Then in the corner of your eye you notice a teammate moving into position for a quick one two. You then fake one-way but pass to your teammate and your teammate does a one-two with you. You just faked out two guys because of your vision.
Some players because of their natural born ability may forsake good vision; however, once they get older and their skill starts to fade their vision will become all the more important. So why not work on it NOW! (Note: Most good players have great vision.)
Here are some things I have done to help my vision, I hope they help you.
Soccer Vision Tutorials
1. If you are still in school, you should try to sit in class and watch everyone around you without moving your head. Using your peripheral vision, watch the pretty girl two rows over. Or keep an eye out for the class clowns sitting to your side. Do this while keeping track of the professor. Watching everyone and paying attention to the professor at the same time will eventually promote multitasking and vision skills that you will be able to easily transfer to the soccer field.
2. Be conscious of what you are doing while on the field. You will need to think about vision while on the field. Don’t just expect it to happen just because you are training in the classroom and looking at the pretty girl next to you. Remember where your teammates are at and make a mental note. Before you receive a pass take a look around, see where folks are at and where they are running. Be aware that you are doing this, and as you mature as a player you will unknowingly start doing this and slowly it will just become an innate normal function and you will not even be aware you’re doing it.
3. While on the field practicing or doing a kick-a-bout with some friends, you should try to always keep your head up while dribbling or moving with the ball. Watch Xavi Hernandez from FC Brcelona and imitate how he does it. When you practice try to see everyone on the field before you get a pass. Once you receive the ball, look one way then turn and pass or cross to the other side. This will fake out all the defenders as they move to the middle of the field. Always make your runs and literally take note of the players around you. After awhile you will start making better runs as you become more familiar with tactics, strategies and formations.
Vision in soccer is extremely important. I have played against extremely ordinary players, who have great vision. The vision gave them the ability to compete with players much more skilled. Lastly, vision helps give a player longevity. As your speed and first step start to dwindle with age you will need to change your style. Having good vision will support your transition from a winger to a holding midfielder or stopper and this can prolong a professionals career.
Roberto Avey is an ex-soccer player from Brazil. Club, Associação Atlética Ponte Preta in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, 1995-1998 under coach, Francisco da Silva Júnior “Chiquinho." He has since graduated from Midwestern State University in Texas, with a bachelor degree in journalism and helps coach teams in Southern California. Read more