The Benefits of Barefoot Soccer Training

Your feet, the ball, and some grass. Those are the only things you need to play the world’s most popular sport.

However, in the modern game of soccer, players are constantly looking for the newest training gadget or the newest fad and sometimes forget the most basic parts of training can be the most effective.

Barefoot soccer training is something that has been around for centuries and it has so many benefits that players do not want to miss out on. In this article, I will explain the benefits of barefoot soccer training.

The Most Important Tools in Soccer

As the great Andrea Pirlo once said, “Football is played with your head. Your feet are just your tools.” This means that players must know how to use their feet properly so that they can perform the tasks the brain wants them to do efficiently.

Foot health and function are the most important things as a “foot” baller because it is right in the name of the sport. The foot is a very complex structure made up of 26 bones, 56 joints, 100 different muscles, and a fascia web that connects everything from the feet to the head.

As a soccer player, your feet and toes must be strong, and mobile, and provide you with a good base of support during athletic movements. To get better technique and feel for the ball it is important to learn how to properly “lock the ankle” which just means you know how to provide the right type of tension to the foot and the rest of the body.

It is also important to learn how to “stay on your toes” which means you are mostly on the balls of your feet in an athletic position. Playing barefoot is a great way to learn how to better lock the ankle and stay on your toes because you get a much more personal feel for the ball and for the playing surface.

The Benefits of Barefoot Soccer Training

Barefoot soccer training is one of the best ways to train individually, or even with a group of players. There are many obvious benefits that you may think about right off the bat, but there are a lot more that can help with other aspects of training such as recovery, sleep, and energy levels.

  • Improves feel for the ball
  • Allows for a more personal touch on the ball which can help improve technical skills
  • Improves foot function and strength
  • Running and kicking the ball barefoot are great ways to build stronger legs
  • Can help you get wider feet
  • Playing barefoot can help spread the surface area of your metatarsal pads due to no narrow shoe constraints
  • Playing barefoot on natural surfaces, such as grass, sand, etc, will allow you to perform grounding therapy. Grounding therapy is known for…
    • Reducing inflammation
    • Improving circulation, energy levels, sleep, and recovery
    • Improves mitochondrial function
  • Decreases the risk of injury
    • Due to strengthening the feet and grounding therapy if playing on natural land
  • It is fun
  • Barefoot soccer training is fun and can make your training sessions more challenging and exciting

Playing barefoot while grounding is one of the best daily habits that players should do for at least 5-10 minutes daily. It can be as simple as juggling the ball barefoot for 5 minutes.

Barefoot Soccer Training

Barefoot soccer training does not have to be so complicated. It can be very simple, but it has to be done at maximum intensity, meaning game speed, to get the most benefits.

Here is a sample barefoot soccer training session that is so simple yet effective especially when you can do it on grass, sand, or any other surface you can perform grounding therapy, unlike artificial grass, on to help improve athleticism and decrease injuries.

  • 5 Minute dynamic warm-up movements
  • 5 minute juggling with one foot
  • 5 minute juggling with the other foot
  • 5 minute juggling alternating feet
  • 5 minute wall passing with one foot
  • 5 minute passing with the other foot
  • 5 minute alternating passing
  • 5 minute dribbling down the sidelines of the field and jogging goal lines
  • 5 minute dribbling and doing skill moves down the sidelines of the field and jogging goal lines
  • 5 Minute shoot at goal with right foot
  • 5 minute shoot at goal with left foot
  • 5 Minute Cool Down

Remember to keep the ankles locked and to be on the balls of your feet so that you are in an athletic position. During the juggling play with the height of the ball as well as practice moving while juggling.

During the passing also play how far you are from the wall, how hard you kick the ball, and how hard you can control it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who plays barefoot soccer?

There are a lot of people around the world who play barefoot soccer, some because they have no other option, others because they enjoy that way of playing, both, or many other reasons. You can find people playing barefoot soccer at all skill levels and all ages in all parts of the world, but most famously in Brazil and Africa.

A lot of the best players in the world grew up playing barefoot, such as Ronaldinho, Neymar, and Zlatan to name a few which helped them develop their talent a lot faster than other players.

How do you start playing barefoot soccer?

To start playing barefoot soccer all you have to do is go outside, take off your cleats or shoes, and begin playing with the ball. Depending on your level of soccer skills and athleticism you may want to start on softer surfaces, like grass or sand, before moving on to playing on harder surfaces.

If you are new to barefoot training you can also wear a pair of toe spacers. Toe spacers help correct foot issues that can happen from wearing narrow shoes too often by gradually repositioning the toes. Wearing these for even a couple of minutes at various times throughout the day can be very beneficial for overall foot health.

What are custom soccer cleats?

Custom soccer cleats are one of the best ways to get cleats that are specifically designed for your foot type and they have many benefits such as:

  • Perfect toe shape fit
  • Midfoot adaptation
  • Foot strength consideration
  • Heel width fit
  • Sole plate stiffness
  • Insole thickness

Conclusion

In conclusion, barefoot soccer training is one of the best ways for players to not only become more athletic, but also to help decrease injuries. If you can play barefoot on natural land you will get far more benefits that will help improve aspects of your performance off the field such as sleep, recovery, energy levels, and even your mood.

Playing barefoot allows us to reconnect with what made the game so special in the first place, its simplicity and endless possibilities all with a ball and your bare feet.

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