At the age of 27, four-time winner, and placing either first or second over the last seven years, Messi is once again in the final three for the Ballon d’Or. Recently breaking the La Liga goal scoring record, and current holder of the Champions League goal scoring record, Messi is undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever. But what are his soccer skills that set him apart from the competition?
Today in partnership with Coerver Coaching, we will highlight two of Messi’s soccer skills; Change of Direction and Dynamic Speed.
There are four key ways Messi Changes Direction with the ball.
1. Messi uses change of direction moves like the “U-turn” & “Drag Back” to shield the ball from defenders. Check out this video so you can learn and test your own U-turn and drag back moves.
Make sure you touch the ball with your toe, pivot and change direction with a high knee movement.
- How to do the “Drag back”
Stop the ball with the sole of your foot, drag it back, change the angle of your hips and push the ball out using the inside of your foot.
- The Zig Zag Soccer Skills Test
Set up this simple drill with your friends or by yourself. Use two different change of direction moves between each cone. When you have mastered it with your good foot, start practicing on your weaker foot, by starting the drill at the other end!!!
2. As Messi is usually double or even triple marked by defenders, he sometimes uses double or triple change of direction moves to protect the ball and get out of trouble. This is one of the reasons he is so amazing! Skilled players have a great chance of beating or protecting the ball against one opponent. Messi can keep the ball or beat two or three opponents regularly.
3. Messi is brilliant at combining change of direction moves to create a space for the quick one two pass with a team mate or giving him time to make the killer pass. The killer pass is a pass that creates a goal chance.
4. Finally he uses change of direction moves to create a shot. Messi’s shot is usually with his left foot and he places the ball in the back of the net with a firm passing like technique. This is great news for all of us, as we can all learn that composure, accuracy and placement scores goals. With practice we can all improve these qualities in our game.
Of course Messi is blistering fast, particularly over the first five yards. He is lightening quick, something that he has worked incredibly hard on in practice. But there is one thing that we can all incorporate into our own game about Messi’s game, and that’s speed!
Think about the way that he stops & starts when he is dribbling the ball. He changes pace, either from slow to fast, or fast to slow. This is a nightmare for defenders as they do not know when to make the tackle. The defender does not know how you are going to control your speed and can’t anticipate your soccer skills. This may give you more time and more space with the ball crafting a pass, dribble or shot.
Check out the step kick here.
A great way to stop and start your speed, especially on the wings and across the goal, just like Messi!
To develop the explosive power that you need to get to every ball, be sure to figure in the extra training that is needed, in addition to the tips above.
Check out this training plan on game breaking speed.
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