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5 Basic Football Skills for Kids and Beginners

5 Basic Football Skills for Kids and Beginners

To say that hundreds of millions of people enjoy football in one way or another would be an understatement. 1.12 billion people have tuned in to the 2018 World Cup final, and an estimated 3.5 billion individuals have watched at least a fragment of one game from that tournament.

It is a truly global sport, one that continues to captivate generations. It has even transcended the global public health crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic, as it provided people a way to escape their problems and forget about the terrible condition of the global economy and public officials' handling of the coronavirus.

There is no such thing as a "bad time" to get into football, but this season is a great time in particular. With Everton topping the Premier League table in England, AC Milan finally returning to winning ways in Italy, and Barcelona and Real Madrid struggling to find their form in Spain, you might have difficulties focusing on one football live stream at a time. There's just so much going on!

Watching it is half the fun, though. If you want to learn the basics of playing football or maybe want to pass down the love for the game to your children, take some time to look through this article and see what basic football skills you should master in order to be match-ready.


This is the absolute foundation of any football match. Without passing, the concept of a "team" wouldn't even exist -- it would just be 11 individuals trying to find the back of the net. If you want to improve your game as a football player or teach your kids how to be one, do not underestimate the importance of a well-placed pass.

When your practice passes, remember to always keep your head up and look for players you could potentially give the ball to. If you're training by yourself, you can use cones or other markers to aim for. Regardless of whether you're attempting a ground pass or a long, flying one, you should always try to hit the ball with the inside of your foot for maximum accuracy. Sometimes, this may not be possible due to opponents blocking your way, so once you get a grasp of the basics, you should try and work on passes that make use of other parts of your feet, as well.


You can have the skills of Leo Messi when you have the ball, but it won't be of much use to you or your team once you lose it or fail to become an option for your mates to pass to. Your off-the-ball movements matter more than you think. Practice running into open areas and receiving the ball. Grab a friend and try to learn how to evade your opponent and their marking to be ready to receive a pass at a moment's notice.

The knowledge of positioning and how to move around without the ball will also help adjust to the coach's tactics and understand the intricacies of his strategy.

Ball Control

Just like passing, ball control is one of the skills that professional football players can't do without. In fact, they don't even think of it as a skill. At the highest level, the lack of ball control ability can cost teams valuable points, so practising this aspect of the game is especially important to implement at a young age. It can be the deciding factor when it comes to keeping and losing possession, as well as the team's ability to get up the field quickly and efficiently.

"Ball control" encompasses things like dribbling, first touch and the general ability to swiftly move around with the ball at your feet. You should also improve your weaker foot as part of training this aspect of play. A player who can only effectively use one foot will struggle to make a difference in any match.

Smart Defending

Without the right defensive set-ups, all of the football would come down to players looking to kick the ball forward and hope for the best. Defending is a part of the game that has to be practised in a team, as you'll learn things such as setting up offside traps, blocking the opponent from making a pass and making sure that your backline is not vulnerable in the back in case of a rapid counterattack.

Defending might just be the most difficult aspect of the game to learn on your own, but it's crucial if you want to be a well-rounded player. Don't beat yourself up too much if you don't get it right on your first match. Even the most expensive centre back in the world makes silly mistakes sometimes. More often than some would hope for, given his price tag.


Correctly heading the ball is one of the most overlooked aspects of the game by youth coaches. It's a grave mistake not to teach players the right heading techniques, as it often becomes one of their greatest liabilities later on in their careers. You can practice by yourself by throwing the ball up and aiming for a target. Remember to always try to land the ball on your forehead and never close your eyes when heading -- you'll lose your footing and miss it, or worse yet, hit it in the wrong direction.

The Bottom Line

It's never too late to start learning some of the basic football skills in order to enjoy the game on the pitch. You might not become a professional, but it's a great way to keep fit and have fun while you're at it! By playing football, you'll gain more appreciation for the players you see on the telly, as you'll know exactly what lengths they've gone through to master the most popular sport in the world. Who knows, if you get good enough, you may even decide to join a Sunday League team, or form your own one!

Maciej Grzymkowski - an avid traveller with a particular affinity for Southeast Asia. Some of my favourite sports include trekking, football, and golf. I'm a strong believer in outdoor gyms, as I think everybody should have full, uninhibited access to basic exercise equipment.

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