Summary: Nothing compares to actually practicing the beautiful game but there is still much to learn from watching the pros play.
After a month of watching the world’s best soccer players compete at the sport’s highest level during the FIFA World Cup in Russia, one may be wondering how they can apply what they watch to their own playstyle. Going out with a soccer ball to practice their skills is the optimal method of seeing athletic improvement but what someone does off the field can still be quite beneficial to their game.
By watching Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar run around the field and make bold moves towards the goal, players can start memorizing their signature moves and how they go about executing them. Observing the pros move quickly and confidently can give a viewer the confidence to improve and do the same.
The confidence to make smart plays, both big and small, can help make a player watching the game become more aware of their surroundings. Soccer is very much a team sport that requires cooperation, understanding how both teams are moving around the field, and ultimately knowing how to react to players’ positioning will help navigate the field.
Spirit of Competition
Technical skills aside, watching professional soccer players duke it out on the field can also heighten a player’s competitive spirit. At the end of the day, each player, from the goalkeeper to the striker, is fighting to bring their team to victory. This sense of fierce competition and resilience in the face of setbacks can make a player hungry and willing to do all they can to improve their gameplay.
With matches lasting over an hour-and-a-half with nonstop action, mindfulness and mental discipline simply cannot be overlooked. Pros like Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, for example, know how to have a healthy mindset and keep their heads up when things get tough.
Play Like the Pros
As was mentioned before, making smart plays is crucial to any team sport. A soccer match can quickly get turned around when someone makes a misplay, such as overextending, being out of position, or making a wrong pass. With numerous players running around and strategizing, knowing which move is the right one takes practice. By analyzing what a player in a top team is doing and how they react in certain situations an individual can apply that knowledge to how they approach similar situations, as well.
Actively, rather than passively, watching the game can give a player new insight on how to play the sport. Watching players over and over and having the ability to slow footage down can provide viewers with gameplay information that might be missed during a standard viewing.