5 Common Mistakes Beginner Footballers Make

So, you’re a beginner and you can’t seem to get your game up a level? Worry not, because that is a problem that a lot of beginners face, and this article is going to help you realize what you are doing wrong and what you can do to correct the wrongs.

Here are 5 common mistakes that beginner football players make at the start of their footballing journey:

1. Not Focusing on The Fundamentals

Most beginners cannot wait to get on to the bigger stages and just don’t emphasize the most important part of football- the fundamentals, or basics. Every good thing has to have a perfect base to be stable and it is true for football as well. The basics of football like ball control, passing, movements. technique, and so on can only be perfected through practice.

Once you’ve perfected, or at the least, sharpened your basic skills, you can move on to the more advanced parts of technical football. One thing every professional footballer does when having a bad game is trying to stick to the basics. This reduces the chances of making an error and builds up the confidence in the player.

2. Playing With Your Head Down

Another common problem that beginners have to deal with is playing with their head down looking at the ball. It’s simple, once you have your head down and you only focus on the ball, you have no idea what is happening around you, thus affecting your overall game. A lot of youngsters can be seen playing with their heads down.

This is mostly because the player is not confident with the ball at their feet and is conscious about the ball and thus keeps focusing on it. Say you have the ball and you run down the line with your head down. You might have the pace to get past the defenders, but since you’re not aware of anything around you, you will not have the ability to make a key final third decision.

However, this does not mean that you should not look at the ball at all. Glance at the ball time and again, and also scan the pitch to analyze the best possible route forward, and if there is no route forward, you can always play the ball back. The easiest way to tackle this issue would be to practice your dribbling and try to dribble around with your head up. This might seem like an obvious and simple detail, but the difference in playing with your head up and playing with your head down is massive.

3. Not Demanding The Ball

Beginners tend to be shy and underconfident in receiving the ball. Since they are not too confident about their ability to keep the ball, they’d rather have someone else get the ball instead of asking for it. This will result in a player becoming more and more underconfident because the more you touch the ball and pass around, the more confidence you get.

Do not tend to hide behind defenders and hope the ball doesn’t come to you. Instead, be active, get ahead of your marker, and ask for the ball to your feet.

Being vocal on the pitch will give you self-confidence and increase team communication as well. Move around the pitch looking for spaces and demand the ball in those spaces. It all just comes down to practicing the fundamentals again, as looking for space and controlling the ball inside tight spaces all fall under the fundamentals.

4. Always Looking For The Killer Pass

Reading the situation is a must for footballers. Especially if you’re a midfield player, you have to have the ability to control the tempo of the game. Midfielders are tasked with the transition from defense to attack and thus must make key decisions while taking the ball forward. This does not only concern the midfielders, however. One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is that they look to go forward and play a hopeful through ball every time they get the ball rather than build possession and look for a better chance.

Looking for the killer pass might work once or twice, but it doesn’t always work. When you try to find the final pass every time you get the ball, your teammates will lose faith in you and instead of looking up to you to create chances, they’ll rather you not have the ball at all.

Always think of your next move before you get the ball, so you won’t be pressured into making a hasty decision. One way to improve this is to practice checking your shoulders before you receive the ball, which will give you an idea of the dangers around you and also the opportunities around you.

5. Not Taking A Touch

Again, this too falls primarily on building your fundamentals. Knowing when to take a touch and when to hit it the first time will make a world of difference on the pitch. Most players under pressure will try getting rid of the ball hastily rather than taking a touch into space away from the pressure to make a better decision.

Taking a touch means getting the valuable fraction of a second to compose yourself before taking a shot or even before passing. That being said, situational awareness is key and it doesn’t mean you need to take a touch in every situation.

You might have a wide-open goal but instead of hitting it the first time, you might take a touch that will draw a defender close to you, possibly leading to a block or a tackle. Your decision to take a touch might cost your team a goal in these situations. So, develop your fundamentals first, understand the game you’re playing, and work on your mistakes.

We hope reading this article will give you that much-needed push to reach a step higher in your football career!

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Atif Abidi
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