5 mistakes football players make that keep them average

by Pablo M22nd Oct 2019

Usually we share advice on how to improve as a football player. In this post we will discuss what not to do in the field. We will focus on 5 mistakes football players make that keep them average. These mistakes are common among footballers and hold them back from getting to that next level or improving as much as they can.

1. Constantly looking down at the ball

Being able to have your head up so you can see all the different options around the pitch. You want to be able to recognize if there’s a teammate open for a pass or whether there is a space that you can dribble into. If you have your head down the entire time, the chances are you’re going to make a lot more mistakes and you’re not going to be an effective player for your team.

Looking down is something we’ve all done while playing football, particularly when you are learning or you are not a hundred percent comfortable on the ball. But looking down constantly is a problem because it means that you can’t see your teammates, especially if they’re making good runs and you should pass the ball to them, and you can’t see your opponents to know how far away they are from you.

On the other hand, having your head up all the time is unrealistic. When you are sprinting with the ball, if the pitch is uneven, or when you are about to shoot, you need to look down at the ball to know its exact position. But even in these situations, take a second to look at your surroundings.

So, the second you get the ball make sure that you always look around and see what options you have.

2. Being too afraid to make a mistake

Are you too afraid to take shots when you have them? Are you too afraid to take a player on in a one-on-one situation? Maybe you’re afraid of what other people will think of you. You’re afraid of embarrassing yourself. You’re afraid of not being good enough. You have to realize that that in itself is the biggest mistake you can make.

If you never make mistakes that means you’re not trying that hard. It means that you’re not challenging yourself. If you want to grow as a player,you have to fail every once in a while. You have to do something that is difficult. You’re not going to succeed 100% of the time. So, if you’re making mistakes, that’s a good thing. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. You should try to avoid them, but if mistakes happen that means you’re trying something new.

The only person you really have to worry about impressing or satisfying is yourself. So, stop worrying of what other people think right away and you’re going to have more success.

3. Poor decision making

Often mistakes football players make are due to poor decision making. This is a general problem that takes a little bit to fix because it takes a lot of consistent practice working on your soccer IQ. Most players make poor decisions because they panic on the ball. Giving the ball away or making a rash decision usually comes down to the fact that the player panicked.

This is an issue a lot of players go through, but if you have the ability to relax and not make rash decisions, you’re not going to be making as many poor decisions. Poor decision-making usually comes from getting nervous because someone is on your back, and if you can take control of your mental strength, you can start performing better and making better decisions.

Poor decisions are also often the result of the previously discussed mistakes: lack of vision and being afraid of making mistakes. For example, if you don’t know the position of your opponent, they are going to close you down and you may rush to pass the ball. Or, maybe you are in a position of taking a shot at goal but you are afraid of missing, so you pass the ball instead.

So, if you relax, take a second to look around and are not afraid of making mistakes, you are more likely to make the right decision.

4. Being selfish

On one hand you shouldn’t worry of what people think, one the other hand football is a team sport. It is ok to challenge yourself trying a new fancy technique, but if a teammate is in a clear position to score, you must pass the ball. Of all the mistakes football players make, the biggest one is to be selfish with the ball.

If you get the ball off a teammate and you think you can take on four players, you are wrong. No one likes to play with a player like that. A selfish player has more chances of failing than succeeding. Passing the ball, playing a one-two combination or playing off the third man is often the best way to split open a defense.

If you play simple and pass the ball at the right time, you will be more valuable for your team and nobody is going to hate you.

5. Not giving options to your teammates.

You don’t want to be that annoying player that is constantly asking for the ball, and when they get it don’t pass it to anyone, but you also don’t want to be anonymous. If you are not demanding the ball when it is required, it’s actually going to make it really hard for your teammates.

You should demand the ball and let people know your position. Firstly, it will make it easier for your teammates as you give them an option. Secondly, the opposition will have to cover you, potentially leaving space for your teammates.

Don’t be shy, call for the ball. Use common sense though. Don’t ask for an impossible pass.


There are many more mistakes football players make. Ultimately, it is all down to the basics of the game. If you don’t have the foundations, there’s no point on working on more advanced techniques because you’re not going to get many opportunities to use them in a match. If you watch a full-length football match, you will notice that about 97% of the game is just passing and receiving. Do the basics well, and then you’ll get those small moments where you can show your individual brilliance.

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