14 Things You Should Not Do During and Before a Soccer Game!


what not to do in soccer

If you want to be good or even perform at the highest possible level in a discipline like soccer, it is normal to search everything you need to do to perform well …

… There is nothing wrong with that, yet it is also worth it to understand what you should not do, not only to be compliant properly with the rules, but also to make sure you avoid mistakes most soccer players might do!

In this Post, I breakdown 14 different things you should not do in a soccer game.

1. Lazy Warm up

The worst thing you might do before a game is not to warm up. You are almost guaranteed to injure yourself.

Once the game really starts to take off and tempers flare you will have to start pushing yourself harder.

And this is the moment injuries occur…

… Sprained ankles, pulled hamstrings, sore muscles all over. Improper warm ups lead to all kinds of problems on the field.

Watch any professional athlete before a match and you’ll notice they all do the same thing. Warm up.

2. Grabbing shirts

This might sound obvious to most people. In the heat of the moment however it is really tempting and happens more often than not. Players grab shirts, it happens.

The main reason players do it is because they are trying their best to not let a player get away with the ball. It’s instinct to want to reach out and pull something closer with your hands.

Unfortunately, if you are not a goalkeeper then you have very few reasons to use your hands. Reaching and pulling a player closer is not one of those reasons.

The only case when you can do so is if your team is in a position where it can’t concede a goal, and a striker from the opposite team is about to score a goal …

… The consequences depend on whether you are the last defender or not! Indeed, if you are the last defender, then you will get a red card (no question!), otherwise you will get a yellow card in most cases, unless you’ve got a prior yellow card.

3. Over-Flopping

Everyone has seen videos of players writhing in pain as they roll on the ground after “light” touch. It’s as though they have been intentionally hurt with a baseball bat. Rather than the actual feather like touch they actually experienced.

Why do players do this?

Let’s say you do get hurt, there’s no reason to hide the pain just to look tough. Sometimes it will be in a team’s favor to flop.

If you flop, then the opposing team may get a card. Which will put your team in a better position.

Don’t overdo do it though! Going over the top will land you a card. Use flops sparingly and reasonably.

4. Cheating

It should go without saying, but it can never be said enough. Don’t cheat (in any form). You are not only cheating yourself, but you are cheating your team and everyone involved in the sport.

Additionally, no matter how sneaky you may think you are, remember there are so many eyes on the field it is almost impossible to cheat.

Not that it’s worth it anyway. Don’t cheat.

5. Not utilize slide tackles

Use slide tackles. They are legal and effective if done correctly. Done incorrectly you might injure yourself or the opponent, and at worse get a red card.

Learn how to properly slide tackle and you’ll get more turnovers. No one is expecting a slide tackle, which you can use this fact to your advantage.

Use them as an element of surprise.

Don’t overdo it though. You don’t want to be labeled as the tackler because then the other team will avoid your side which then means you won’t get the opportunity to steal the ball again.

Also, be sure you have the skill down before attempting it. Improper slide tackles will definitely get you a card.

6. Become a card collector

Avoid fouls. They slow the pace of the game (especially if your team is leading the pace), they put your team in compromising positions, and at worse you will get ejected from the game.

Too many fouls and you can guarantee you will get less play time than everyone else.

7. Toe-Punching

Stick to the fundamentals and avoid kicks with your toes. Unless you want to break your toes. In that case, go for it.

Master the game, before you attempt to change it. There will be times when kicking with your toe will be the perfect play. Sometimes stretching out just past your comfort zone to kick with the tips of your toes to inch the ball will be necessary.

For the most part, stick to correct form and have the fundamentals instilled into you like second nature.

8. Not playing your position

Every player on a team has a role. When a player does not fill the role properly a weak point becomes apparent. Smart coaches and teams learn their opponent’s weak points.

If you are a midfield then you should be the first line of defense and the first line of offense. It is up to you to control the ball so it does not end up past you. Which means you should not be in a scoring position.

If you are in a scoring position, then who is blocking the midfield?

The same reasoning goes for all positions. The most important position to remember is the goalkeeper. You wouldn’t want your goalkeeper out in the field while a ball is in play.

Learn your position, and play it the best you can. Remember, you can always switch to another position, just not while you are in play.

9. Hard Kick

Everyone wants the picture perfect hard kick goal. The kind of goal so fast that if you blink you’ll miss it.

One problem, more power equals less accuracy! You might end up kicking it right into the goalkeeper’s arms.

It’s better to kick with accuracy rather than power. If you can combine both, then you are already ahead of everyone else. More times than not, you need less power than you would think.

Try to practice kicking the ball to specific areas or players at varying distances. You’ll notice that technique trumps power.

For most shots on goal, low and to the corner will land you more goals.

Accuracy is the most important part of kicking the ball. It does not matter how fast you can make the ball go, if you can’t make the ball go where you want it to.

10. Only dribble with one foot

You know what’s better than one? Two. And you have two feet so you should be using them to dribble the ball down field. Especially when a defender is headed your way.

If you are dribbling with one foot, then you are missing out on a ton of different tricks to get past a defender.

A simple trick such as the double lunge is one of the most effective tricks you can use in a game. But, you’ll need both feet to perform it.

The main reason players don’t dribble with two feet is because they believe their weaker foot will cause them to lose control of the ball.

That’s only true if you never train it. Get comfortable using your other foot in practice. Find drills to strengthen your weaker foot. Then get out there and use both feet to dribble the ball.

You will not only improve as a player, but get past more defenders more frequently.

11. Overdoing tricks

You may have fancy footwork and everyone knows it. But is it always worth pulling out a rainbow? Not at all. In fact, simpler is sometimes better.

Avoid being flashy and opt for being practical. Besides being a show off, you are also wasting a valuable resource, energy.

Stringing together a collection of over the top, unnecessary tricks to get past one defender is pointless if you could have done it in one.

It’s better to stick with simpler maneuvers, conserve energy, and focus on basics. If not, the other team will let you tire yourself out then run right over you.

You will create a weakness that will be exploited. And at worse, someone will Nutmeg you while performing one of your amazing stylized performances.

12. Be a Screamer

Nothing shows hustle like being vocal. Is it possible to be too vocal? Most definitely. In fact, you are hurting more than helping when you are constantly screaming.

Of course you want to scream for the ball. That’s if you are open. If not, keep quiet. You might be screaming over someone who is actually open and available. If you are loud enough to drown out quieter players, then you are costing your team great opportunities.

If you or a teammate score, then scream your heart out!

13. Be a Bicycle Kicker

Some players live for the moment to kick like Pele. In reality, most players can not pull off this stunning feat of athleticism. You are better off kicking with proper form. You’ll get more power and accuracy with a basic kick.

For those that insist on bicycle kicking every pass to them, try to avoid them. They will injure themselves eventually, and you might get caught in the crossfire while they do.

14. Forget to have fun

Soccer is challenging and rewarding. You win some, you lose some. Take every game as a learning experience. Find new ways to improve. Try not to beat yourself up over a game.

Take your time on the field seriously, but always remember it’s just a game.

Have fun and enjoy the sport for what it is at all moments. That’s how you’ll get the most out of it.

You can overdo it with training, over analysing every play or player. You can become too critical of the match and in the end become someone no one wants to play with.

First have fun, then everything else will fall in line.

Final thoughts …

Obviously there is much more to that, there are more things than what’s on the list above that you should avoid while playing soccer!

Yet, these ones I’ve included are, according to my humble experience, the most common you are not allowed to do …

… That’s why, just by avoiding those, you will be ahead of most amateur soccer players and even professionals out there that still make these mistakes.

Claressa Cormier

Claressa Cormier has over 15 years of soccer experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest soccer teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right foot.

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