Diary of a professional footballer wannabe—This is the title of the blog
How to be a better football player—-This is the title of the post
So you want to be a footballer? I often get asked by young players what is the best way to improve as a footballer and as there are no quick fixes, I’ve decided to write a short blog on the things you can do to become a better player.
The first thing I say to any player is ‘practise.’ It is no coincidence that the best players in the world spend hours on the training ground, hitting free-kick after free-kick or shot after shot. Ronaldo was always the last to leave the training ground at Old Trafford and then Bernabeau, so if it’s good enough for Ronaldo, it’s good enough for you. Sitting in front of your Xbox playing Fortnite might make you a better gamer, but getting outside and practising is the only way to improve your touch and control. So the next time your coach calls full time on your training session, tell him to leave the lights on and the balls out so you can keep working on things that will make you better.
My next point is diet and sleep. It is simply impossible to be a top football player if your diet consists of fizzy sweets and bags of crisps and you sit up all night watching Netflix or playing video games. Food should be seen as fuel for your body. Just like your car can’t go without petrol or diesel, your body can’t do what you want it to, if you are giving it the correct fuel. Pre-match meals should be based on carbohydrates like pasta, which will give you energy and post match meals should be heavy on protein, like chicken or tuna in order for your muscles to recover. You need at least three litres of water a day in your body to keep yourself properly hydrated. Sleep is really important because it is when we are sleeping that our body recovers and grows and if we are not getting enough sleep, we will increase the chance of getting injured. I’ll assume that you know alcohol is strictly off the menu, if you’re serious about being a top football player.
Mobility is an important part of the modern game and it is something that young players often overlook. The ability to turn quickly and move quickly is dependent on our mobility. Look at the Spanish players we see every week and how they can turn so quickly in tight spaces and you’ll see the importance of mobility. Proper stretching of your muscles will lead to better mobility so make sure to include a good stretch before and after your pitch sessions and your gym sessions. This leads me to my next point; the gym. I see a lot of young players today who look like they’re auditioning for a job as a bouncer in the local nightclub rather than playing football. Gym work is not about looking like a bodybuilder, it’s about injury prevention and strength, not size. If you are doing gym work, make sure that you are under the guidance of a competent instructor, not someone who looks like the incredible hulk.
And finally, my last piece of advice, enjoy it! Too many young football players are so obsessed with ‘making it’ that they have forgotten why they started to play in the first place, because they love playing football. Play with a smile on your face and follow the steps above and you’ll be making waves in the world of football before you know it.