Most young soccer players think a bit too much about what they are going to do with the ball and not so much about staying active without it. This is a shame because you can easily become a better all-around soccer player if you are the type of player who is constantly looking for ways to confuse the opposing defense.
The number one reason why staying active without the ball is so important is because it makes you and your team unpredictable. If you are just standing still when you don’t have the ball, then the opposing team doesn’t have to worry about you. However, when everyone is staying active, your opponents will have a very tough time keeping track of you.
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Because of that unpredictability, your team will have a much higher chance of scoring goals during your games. When players are constantly making runs and moving to get open, it creates holes in the defense. When you have a team that is used to moving around a lot, it is a lot easier to see those holes and take advantage of them.
Take a look at any of the best teams in the world and you will see that they are great at moving without the ball. This is because that off-ball movement creates better team chemistry and good team chemistry usually results in wins. They know where their teammates are going to be because they know to look for off-ball runs.
Absolutely everyone on the soccer field should stay active, not just the forwards and attacking midfielders. Defensive midfielders should be moving around to disrupt counterattacks and to make themselves available to the players further up the field. Defenders should be moving to create outlets for their teammates so they stay in the best defensive positions possible.
As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to stay active when you don’t have the ball. Work on this skill (yes, it is a skill) and you will surely improve as a soccer player.