Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.


Written by Allan

In my last blog, I spoke to you about how the method of playing football is changing, and how defenders need to adapt to the beautiful game. This time, I’m dribbling past all of the other players on the pitch like a young Diego Maradonna to give you some tips on how to improve as an attacking player.

Bob Dylan once wrote “The first one now, will later be last, for the times they are a-changin”. And this is very apparent in modern football. The flat 4-4-2 of old, has been replaced by the more complicated 3-5-2 with a high press and tiki-taka passing. This new way of seeing the game is very hard on attacking players as it requires a high-intensity work rate and an intelligent footballing brain. But how can you adapt your game and improve as an attacking player? Keep reading to find out!

Step 1 - Take up street football as a hobby

Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. all started out by playing futsal, street football or freestyling. It is here you really learn the basics of an all out attacking game, and how to be a team player. Having the skill to go past the defender if necessary, is everything. In the small sided game you need to master the art of ball control and awareness of your surroundings, as you don’t have the time to think, your instincts take over, and your body learns to adjust to keeping the ball, while you spend most of your time looking around you for space and a player to pass to.

Step 2 - Perfect practice makes perfect performance

No matter how talented you are, if you don’t work hard, you will not improve, and you will not become successful. In our recent video with Roberto Firminho, he talks almost exclusively about the importance of hard work and practice as an attacking player. So if you and your team want to play an attacking style and be successful, you need to practice playing that way. Be warned, you will make mistakes, and you will lose games (heavily in some cases) but you won’t learn from your mistakes, if you never make any.

Step 3 - Don’t be afraid to try new things on the pitch

Ronaldinho’s father famously gave him some advice as a young man “play with the ball”. This meant that he wanted his son to simply enjoy playing the game, however he wanted to play it. If you are afraid to try new things on the pitch, the other team has won. If you are too afraid to get the ball and try to take on the defender, the defender has beaten you. Working hard is of course very important, but you need to be able to enjoy what you’re doing.

Step 4 - Play with people who are better than you

Youth football is set up in age groups. You often see 15 year olds training with the 18 year olds and so on. This is because it is not only a good preparation for the physical challenges of the men’s game, but also because their skills are more developed, and they are further down the path to becoming the best that they can be. Learning from playing with better players is invaluable, as it will improve you by forcing you to step up your game - eventually this will become your level, and you will be ready to take another step up.

So that was 4 steps on how to become a better attacking player. I hope you can use some of the ideas I mentioned to help you step-up your game!

Below you will see the video I mentioned about how to become a better striker with Roberto Firminho. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for more ‘How-To’ blogs in the coming weeks for more awesome #Unisportlife content.