7 Ways to Rule the Air and Win the Ball
Throughout a soccer game, the ball spends a great deal of time in the air. It’s important for all players to be able to win those battles but it seems to be especially so for midfielders and defenders.
There is more at stake if they aren’t able to win it than if a forward misses a flick or it goes over their head. When it goes over a midfielder or defender’s head, it could lead to a breakaway.
You never want that to happen so here are seven ways to help you rule the air:
1. Get your timing down
A lot of winning a ball out of the air comes down to the timing of your jump. You want to try to jump and meet the ball at the peak of your jump in order to get the most force of it.
Sometimes if the player you are going up against jumps first, you have to jump when they do to give yourself a chance to win the ball at all. However, you typically don’t want to leave it up to them so you should try to jump first.
2. Work on your explosiveness
There are different strength training and jumping exercises you can use to improve the height of your jumps.
It also helps to do neck strengthening exercises and have a strong core to be able to control your body while in the air.
3. Want it more
Some of winning the ball out of the air comes from the desire to win it. If you jump half-heartedly and don’t put your all into it, you’re probably not going to win it.
Not only that, but you can get injured if the other player is jumping and going up as hard as they can.
4. Position yourself correctly
Anticipate how far and the general area it would be landing in and get over there are soon as you can.
This way you can put your arms up a little and try to make yourself appear bigger and have an easier time keeping your opponent further from the ball while jumping.
5. Be vocal
Call your teammates off of the ball. You don’t want to have two of you going up for the same ball and missing, that will likely lead to the other team having a counter attack.
Instead, let them know you are going up to get it.
6. Direct it
Don’t just win the ball, play it into your forward’s run or get it directly to a teammate.
Winning it is great, but if you can win it and get the ball to where you want it to go, it will make a world of difference for your team.
7. Be fearless
Don’t be scared of going up against other players who might be bigger than you, put your arms up, protect yourself, but jump like you were born to win the battle.