What’s the most important thing in a soccer match? You might think it’s scoring goals, but that’s not it.
The most important thing in a soccer match is the next action.
As a player, before you receive a pass, you should already know what you’re going to do with it before the ball arrives at your feet. And as the ball’s is travelling to you, you physically and mentally prepare your move. With your first touch, you immediately move in the right direction to execute what you have in mind. To be able to do this, you constantly need to scan the field to know where everybody is, where the space is & where there it isn’t. Look at what’s happening and how the play is evolving. As a player, you should never be staring at the ball because you’re not a spectator! Constantly re-evaluate what the best next action is and make runs to get in the right position. When receiving the ball, make sure you perform your first touch with your purpose in mind.
What can happen when you don’t anticipate your next action? You receive a ball and you need to start looking around to figure out what to do. During the time that you’re looking and thinking, defenders start to close down on you at high speed. There are times that you get into trouble when doubt and fear kick in. The longer you stay in doubt, the less time you have to perform your action or any action whatsoever. And that’s when you might start panicking and deliver a poorly executed pass that gets intercepted or you lose the ball while doing a poorly executed move…
When you constantly anticipate your next action during a match, you’ll be a much quicker player and you’ll avoid a lot of bad choices or mistakes.