More people play soccer worldwide than any other sport. Here's how to play it.
Start with kicking. No skill is more important in soccer than learning how to kick. It is not, however, as easy as striking a soccer ball with your foot. The most useful kick in soccer is the instep kick, a kick that many beginners struggle with because it involves the coordination of multiple body parts, accurate foot placement and body positioning, as well as a reluctance to deviate from the easier-to-accomplish toe kick.
Youth Soccer Skills, a website dedicated to helping players learn the game of soccer, outlines the four basic components for accomplishing a correct instep kick:
Plant the non-kicking foot directly to the side of the ball at a distance comfortable enough to allow your kicking foot a full range of motion. The big toe of the plant foot should be pointed in the direction the ball is to be kicked.
Point the kicking toe perpendicular to the plant foot so that when the ball is struck, it is struck with the instep. The kicking foot must remain locked from the time the foot is swung back to the time it makes contact with the ball.
Keep the leg moving forward after the ball is struck with the foot remaining in the same position. This is called the follow through.
Make sure the body is positioned properly, with the chest and shoulders over the ball. Leaning back will cause the ball to sail.
After learning the basic instep kick, it is safe to move on to other types of soccer kicks.
Conditioning is key. Although cynics have described the sport of soccer as running long distances while occasionally kicking a ball, there is more to it than that. Soccer requires excellent cardiovascular stamina, leg strength, and the ability to stop and start quickly. To begin training for soccer, run. Run long distances to build a foundation of cardiovascular fitness. Once a strong foundation of fitness is achieved, mix in wind sprints. After a while, advanced training, such as plyometrics, will improve your ability.
Advanced skills. Once the basic instep kick is learned and cardiovascular fitness is achieved, it's time to move on to more advanced skills. These skills include heading the ball and running set plays. Of course, while learning more advanced skills, players shouldn't abandon the basics of the game. And remember: Practice makes perfect.