Today is my stop on the blog tour for the brilliant, football-tastic book by Seth Burkett and Matt Oldfield. I know the kids at my school were football crazy before we broke up and all of the football books were constantly out of the library, so new football books are always welcome in our life!
In bite-size chapters, learn the secrets of 20 footballing legends, including how to dribble like Messi, overcome adversity like Harry Kane and set and score goals like Vivianne Miedema. With top tips on how to train, play, think and live smart, as well as challenges for the reader, this inspiring and interactive guide will inspire football-mad kids to play just like their heroes.
Seth and Matt are here today to give you some tips on being the best player you can be and I can’t wait to share this with the kids in my class – there’s some gorgeous tips here!
Top 5 tips on being the best player you can be
To become a top footballer, you’ll need a lot more than just talent. Yes, fancy footwork helps, but really you play the game with your whole body, and especially your brain. It takes dedication, determination, discipline and teamwork, and – as our book will teach you – you can learn that from your heroes too.
Play Like Your Football Heroes is packed with information about all your favourite players and tips to help you dribble like Messi, overcome adversity like Harry Kane and set and score goals like Vivianne Miedema. It’s divided into four sections, how to train, think, live and play smart, so here are five top tips to help you on your way to being the best player you can be.
Become the ultimate copycat
Have you ever watched a game and found your jaw drops at a crazy skill or unbelievable goal? Perhaps it’s something even simpler, such as the way a player controls the ball. Watch it back again, then see if you can copy their skill. It’ll take plenty of practice and you may not get it right the first time, but with dedication and determination you’ll eventually master it. Perhaps you’ll even do it better.
Take Jadon Sancho, for example. Growing up he’d watch countless hours of videos of Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho on YouTube. He saw how Ronaldinho performed his trademark flip-flaps and stepovers, then practised them at home. Following that, he tried them out in games against his mates, over and over again. They didn’t always work, but the more that he tried them, the more often they did seem to work. Eventually, they worked so well that Jadon signed a professional football contract, then played for England!
Act confident (even if you don’t feel it)
Your mind is your most powerful tool. And when you train that tool, it helps your body to play at its best. That’s because your body and your mind are linked. When your mind is confident that your body can perform a skill, it feels easy. That’s why confidence is like a superpower!
Our body language shows how confident we are. By puffing out your chest, holding your head high and smiling, you not only show your teammates that you are confident in yourself, you also let the opposition know they’re going to be in for a tough game. Even if your mind doesn’t feel confident before the game, acting confident can actually reassure the mind, improving your confidence in a split second!
Manchester City magician Kevin de Bruyne is Mr Confident on the pitch. He always plays with his chest puffed out and head held high. How else can he play those defence-splitting passes?
Look after your body
Your body is like a racing car. On its best days it zooms around the football pitch at maximum speed, weaving in and out of opponents as if they weren’t there. But think about all that goes into a racing car’s optimal performance. It needs the right fuel, because without the right fuel, it can’t even get past the start line.
So, how do you fuel your body? The most obvious way is with food and drink. Food contains three main nutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Carbohydrates provide energy, proteins help the body to grow and repair itself and fats also provide energy and keep the body warm. There are good fats (yay!) and not-so-good fats (boo!). High-fat meals will slow you down, which is a very bad idea if you’re about to run around a pitch for ninety minutes! To perform at your best, you need to have a balanced diet that includes the right amount of these nutrients. This means around 55% of energy from carbohydrates, 25% from fat and 20% from proteins.
As England captain Steph Houghton says, “It’s important to fuel properly. Two training sessions mean I need to get the right balance between carbohydrates and protein. Match day is all about topping up carbohydrates.”
Try different positions
These days, every player is expected to both attack and defend. Even goalkeepers! That means that players need to be comfortable receiving the ball in any part of the pitch. If you only ever play centre forward, you may feel a little lost when you run past the halfway line into your own half. Yet if you’re a centre forward who goes to play one match at centre back, you’ll learn all kinds of valuable lessons. You’ll discover which runs are hard to defend against, what makes a defender uncomfortable and how to protect space.
If you want a perfect example of this, look no further than England international, Lucy Bronze. She’s really not your average right-back. She’s so multi-talented that she used to make pizzas at Domino’s while also studying at university and playing for Everton! But in all seriousness, when she first joined the Sunderland academy she was one of the fittest and fastest in the team, so her coach put her in attack. After that, she became a midfielder, then eventually a defender. Playing in all those positions gave her a rounded education on the football pitch. Now, not only is Bronze one of England’s best defenders, but she’s also one of their most dangerous attackers too.
We believe that football is the most fun thing in the world, and hopefully you agree with us! When you relax and enjoy yourself you’re most likely to play at your best. The same goes with training. If you enjoy your training sessions, you’re more likely to keep on training. The more training you do, the better you’ll get!
To keep football fun, try training alongside friends, setting yourself challenges and playing street football (the fewer rules the better!). There’s nothing better than all improving together. It’s certainly enough to put a smile on our faces.
And there you have it! Five starting tips to help you train, think, live and play smart so that you can become the best football player you can be. And if that wasn’t enough and you want more so you can truly be the best, then you’ll find lots more advice and facts in our book, Play Like Your Football Heroes: Pro tips for becoming a top player by us, Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett!
A massive thanks to Matt and Seth for their time and a massive thanks to Walker for inviting me to be on this blog tour!
Remember to check out the other posts on the blog tour and get yourself a copy of the book (out now!)