For example, a player with mediocre passing ability only sees what’s directly in front of him. He passes the ball to a forward with a defender on his back.
A player with good vision will quickly scan the field and find a better pass. He sees the forward is marked tightly, looks right, sees the right winger can’t shake his man, then looks left. He sees a hole in the defense. He passes the ball through the hole into space and the left winger runs to the ball.
Vision is half of becoming a good passer (the other half is technique, covered in our article, How to Pass a Soccer Ball). Read this article to learn 4 tips on improving your vision.
4 Soccer Vision Tips
1. Know where teammates are located
Vision starts before you receive the ball and pick your head up.
Good players have a general understanding of where their teammates are located on the field.
Understanding where players are located partially comes from experience. Over time you learn where your teammates are located in different game situations.
Knowing where teammates are located also comes from looking around constantly when you don’t have the ball. Players constantly shift their positions, so you should scan the field as much as possible.
When you do this, you already have a good idea of where your teammates are before you get the ball. Having a general idea of where your teammates are make finding a good pass easier.
2. Pick your head up quickly
Every second counts so don’t waste time. Pick your head up immediately after you receive the ball.
Focus on picking on picking up your head quickly until it becomes a habit.
3. Scan the field
Since you know the general location of teammates and defenders (see step one) you already have an idea of who you want to pass the ball too. Look there first.
If your teammate is still open and you don’t see a great option out of the corner of your eye, pass the ball. If the teammate is marked, look elsewhere.
Most players have poor vision because they focus on what’s straight ahead. Do the opposite. Scan the field so you see every option.
As you practice, you will get faster and faster at scanning. You will learn to quickly spot a good pass.
4. Look for players making runs
Players with good vision look for teammates making runs.
A player making a run is usually a better option than a player standing still.
Players with poor vision constantly miss out on players making great runs. When you miss these runs, you reduce your team’s key opportunities.
That’s why a center midfielder with good vision is often a team’s most valuable player; he sets up players for breakaways, crosses, and other good opportunities.
Look for players making runs when you scan the field. Your passing ability will improve.