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How to Be More Competitive in Soccer

Updated: Feb 15

How can you become an expert in whatever you do?

We use soccer as an example but, if you learn to compete, it will help you become an expert in any of your passions whether they be academics, athletics, work, or hobbies.

According to Anson Dorrance, UNC Women's Soccer Head Coach, you have to compete to become an expert in anything.

The first decision to compete has to start with the player.

Anyone who is familiar with Anson Dorrance and his Competitive Cauldron methodology (that he created to fuel competition among his players), knows that his techniques have been wildly successful over the years.

However, his players are some of the best of the best in the country and in the world.

How do we take Anson's ideas and translate them to our own selves as parents, players, and coaches and to our soccer teams?

First of all, soccer players have to understand that competition is not a bad thing. It's a necessary part of all sports and a key component of life's endeavors. This can be reinforced by parents at home and by soccer coaches during training.

Secondly, soccer players need to understand that they should not reject other players who compete against them during practice. Competing against each other in practice and accepting the competition as normal will forge a stronger bond among players on a soccer team.

Teaching male and female soccer players to not only compete during practice but to accept those players who do compete, will not only strengthen the team bond but will teach these young people that competition in life doesn't have to be a bad thing.

We have all seen the result of teams that do not get along and disrupt soccer practices and games to the dismay of all watching. Listen to the comments below from a Captain Elite player. She was a World Cup youth player and is currently playing soccer at the University of Central Florida. She talks about her experiences with competition among teammates.

The third step is that coaches need to introduce healthy and effective competition into training sessions.

Here's an idea that Captain Elite's founder uses to instill competition in his training sessions.

"Coaches can encourage competition in practices by setting up team-training exercises adjusted to the level of each player. For example, the # 18 player usually cannot compete at the same level as the # 1 player. However, by adjusting goal sizes and cone distances, most players could effectively compete against the best players on the team in this passing drill.

The starting setup for a typical passing drill would be: 2 sets of 2 cones gate passing with 2 players who are 10 yards apart. Gates start out at 6 feet apart. Better players have smaller gates and longer passing distances while less-technical players have wider gates and shorter passing distances.

Start the timer for 1 minute to count how many passes get through the gates rolling and with pace. If Team A gets 15 passes and Team B gets 5 passes, you increase the size of the gates for Team B so that the passing drill is still very challenging for both teams, but the passes completed by Team B get to 10. And you can also decrease the width of the gates for Team A to achieve 10 passes. This inspires a competitive fire at every skill level on the team.

Be careful not to set too low a standard for the less-developed players. They still need to be under the same stress and urgency to perform at their best." Mike Keating, Captain Elite founder and Chief of Research & Training

Finally, soccer players need to develop their skills on their own outside of practice to compete to the best of their ability and feel good about themselves and their place on the team. Our online soccer training courses help with that.

Players at all levels need to develop soccer skills in dribbling, passing, 1st touch, and striking. They will not learn these skills in practice and need to learn them on their own. Click our link below to get a free online soccer skills assessment to see where your soccer skills need improvement.

To recap how to help soccer players become more competitive:

# 1 Coaches & parents should reinforce to players that competition is a good thing.

# 2 Coaches & parents should encourage players to support other players who are competitive at practice.

# 3 Coaches should run drills at practice that promote healthy, skill-balanced competition.

# 4 Players should train on their own to develop individual soccer skills to become personally more competitive.

When taught properly, soccer and other sports should be one of the healthiest ways to promote the practice of competition in our children's lives. However, we are responsible for teaching young players that competition is a good thing when moderated by good coaches and reinforced by parents at home.

Visit us at to get a free soccer skills assessment and to learn more about Captain Elite and our soccer training courses.

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1 Comment

cam keating
cam keating
Mar 14, 2023

Love this!! So important to teach players from a young age how to compete well!

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