Having a great vision is a must if your really want to get very good at soccer. Possessing this ability makes it possible for you to spot teammates and opportunities that mediocre players are unaware of. It lets you make intelligent decisions regarding what to do when you have the ball and when you don’t have it too. Once you know what is happening around you, the decisions like when to pass a ball, to whom to pass it to and positioning yourself when you don;t have the ball, all start coming naturally to you.
There are two techniques that can really help you develop your vision :
Keeping Your Head Up - It is really vital that you start learning the habit of keeping your head up straight away. This is not an easy skill to learn as when we start learning soccer, the natural tendency is to always the watch the ball when we are dribbling, so as to not lose the control. But it is a must to learn to keep your head up if you want to improve your vision. The ‘How to Practice‘ section below will describe how you can incorporate this skill in your game.
The Quick Look Technique – This technique is one that is really essential in not only increasing your vision, but also to make your game much quicker. This involves using quick glances to get see what is around you ALL THE TIME, especially when you do not have the ball. The quick look makes it possible for you to know what to do with the ball BEFORE YOU RECEIVE IT, since you know the position of your teammates and opponents. The trick is to keeping checking around you all the time, even during set pieces.
The key to practicing the ‘Head up’ technique is to SLOWLY incorporate it into all your other practice drills that have been discussed in the Basic and Intermediate sections. So if you are practicing dribbling, start developing the habit of lifting your head up and not looking at the ball. Look up for a second and then look at the ball again. Keep doing this till you can increase the time for which you are able to keep control of the ball when your head is up. This takes time, so make sure you are really patient.
To practice the ‘Quick Look Technique‘, all you have to remember is that the only way you can develop is by just making it a habit, no matter what you are practicing. So if you are doing a drill, make it a habit to frequently look around you. Suppose you are practicing receiving a soccer ball, or learning how to juggle, just have a quick glance around you whenever you get the chance. Initially it may feel awkward to do this, and you may fear a person observing you mistaking you for a lunatic. But you can keep yourself motivated by telling yourself that this will put your games light years ahead of mediocre players.
Important Tip : Do not over-practice both these techniques if you are still a beginner. Do incorporate them but make sure you are not overdoing it. This is because unless you are comfortable with the basics of dribbling and receiving a pass, these drills will be even harder. So use them, but increase their frequency once you know are very comfortable doing the basic drills. In fact, you will find that these techniques start coming to you naturally once you gain more control of the ball.
Keep practicing these drills till you are able to naturally look around you and not lose control of the ball.
Usefulness in Game Situations
To understand the usefulness of improving your vision, be sure to check out Xavi Hernandez’s game. His ability to keep his head up all the time and his awareness of what is around him, is probably unparallelled in the world of soccer. This enables him to spot the runs of his teammates with consummate ease, and also makes his overall game very intelligent and efficient.