How to Become a Professional Footballer: 10 Vital Tips

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A view of a football match from the stands

There’s no doubt about it, professional football is a competitive business. To be in with a shot, you need to have an edge on your competition and be the best of the best. But how do you do that? In this article, we explore some top tips for becoming a footballer.

1. Devote Yourself to the Game

Devotion to the game is what will set you apart from the rest.

To become a professional footballer, you need to live and breathe the game. The journey won’t be all smooth sailing, but your passion will help you to power through the negative and challenging moments.

If you want to be a professional athlete in today’s market, you need to be 100% committed. Every fibre of your being needs to be determined to make it; without this, you’ll fall behind the competition.

2. Learn the Sport Inside Out

Fulham loanee Zambo Anguissa shining brightly in La Liga with Villarreal

Learn as much about football as you can.

Watch matches, read books and talk with professional players whenever you can. Ask for their advice on tactics and how to climb the ranks.

To help you progress in your career, gain a solid understanding of what famous players have done to succeed.

3. Train Regularly

While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how often this point is pushed aside.

To make it as a footballer, training once a week just isn’t going to cut it. To be better than your competition, training regularly is essential. If your club offers training or summer camps, make use of those as well.

Not only will you learn new skills, but you’ll feed off the competitiveness and enthusiasm of other players.

Training camps are designed to teach you a lot of new skills in a short period of time. If possible, also get involved in organised games outside of your club. Try to get into tournaments that represent your school, region, or county at the youth level.

4. Run Every Day

Running for a few miles each day is a great cardiovascular workout and will keep your body at its peak fitness. If possible, try to incorporate some hills into your route.

For even better results, find a steep hill and sprint up it for about 30 metres and then walk back down. Repeat this exercise ten times before finishing the run.

Doing this every day will help you to become stronger and fitter, allowing you to play at your best for longer.

A man running

5. Do Exercises to Increase Your Speed

Find a barrel or another sturdy object with a height of around 150cm. Stand on the object and jump off, landing on both feet in a squatting position.

Once you’ve hit the ground, stand up as quickly as possible. This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your legs to improve your speed. It’s also a great way to improve your reflexes. To avoid injury, be sure to be warmed up and stretched out before practising this exercise.

6. Learn to Play with Both Feet

While most footballers play better with one foot than the other, it’s important to know how to use both. Instead of improving your touch with your dominant foot, concentrate on your weaker one for a quick win.

Being able to play well with both feet is something that will set you apart from the crowd and catch the eye of talent scouts. You can improve your weaker foot by using it to kick a ball against a wall.

Another great way is to play a scratch game in training where everyone uses their weaker foot. This doesn’t require much effort and you’ll notice results after just a few games.

7. Learn from the Professionals

To become a professional footballer, learn from those that have already made it. Watch how footballers in the Premier League play and copy their moves and tactics.

This may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many players ignore this! For best results, choose a player who plays in your position and watch him closely. Pay attention to his positions when on and off the ball and follow suit.

A professional footballer

8. Move Through Graduate Levels

If you’re not already part of a club, join one immediately. Whether you choose a school team, district team, or local club, attend their training sessions and matches regularly.

From there, keep your eyes open for recruiting academies. Known for grooming young players into professionals, academies are well worth the competitive entry process.

If you don’t get into an academy, don’t panic. Continue building your skills and progress to more competition and selective teams each year. Eventually, move from your youth team to a collegiate team or a semi-professional club. Continue to improve each year and climb the levels gradually.

9. Assess Yourself as a Player

Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, asses yourself as a player. Take a good look at your skills and find out what position you’re best suited to. To figure this out, don’t just think about yourself.

Consider how your strengths benefit your teammates and how your skills fit into the game as a whole. As the sport is so competitive, it’s important that you’re extraordinary at what you do.

To do this, choose your position and fine-tune your skills. Seek your trainer’s honest opinion about your talent and strengths. Listen to this advice and identify ways to improve your natural talent.

10. Know What a Scout is Looking For

To get selected for a professional trial, you’ll need to impress the scout. Trained by the PFSA, a scout can appear at any time to check out your team. With this in mind, it’s important to play your best in every game.

To impress a scout, you’ll need to know what they’re looking for. In addition to your ball play, a scout will assess your entire attitude. Your character will be watched just as much as your talent, so showcase your team ethos by helping your teammates. While competitiveness and ambition are important, play fairly and stick to rules.

In Summary

Making it as a professional footballer isn’t easy, but the tips above can certainly get you closer to your goals. To be better than your competition, devote yourself to the game, practice regularly, and fine-tune your skills. In every match you play, give 100% and keep a cool head. You never know who could be watching.

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