There are many soccer skills and attributes that define how good a soccer player is. One of these skills is the player’s agility.
In other words, how well can the player change direction without losing control over the ball and their body is a major contributor to how good a soccer player is.
But, why does soccer require agility and why is it so important?
Agility is usually a required skill for every soccer player since it gives a great advantage during one on one encounters. Agility is also required for many soccer tricks and moves that involve instant change in a player’s direction.
In other words, offensive players with better agility tend to surpass defensive players with lower agility much easier.
The reason behind that is pretty simple, if you are a forward soccer player, and you’re attempting to surpass one of your opponent team’s defense, one thing you can do is immediately change the direction you’re running towards when your opponent becomes closer.
If your agility is better than your opponent’s agility, then your opponent won’t have a lot of time to react to your sudden move which means that you’ll most probably surpass them.
The following are some examples of when agility becomes extremely important in soccer.
1- Agility is required for becoming better at dribbling.
If you don’t know what dribbling is, then you can check our own article that explains it here.
In short, dribbling is when a soccer player attempts to surpass a number of the opponent’s players on their own.
Dribbling is a very good soccer skill to have, and it usually requires agility. In order to be able to surpass multiple multiple defenders one after another, you’ll have to be able to keep changing your direction instantly, and you’ll have to keep full control over your body and over the ball while you’re doing so, else, you’re going to lose the ball in a matter of seconds.
If you watch the top soccer dribbles closely, you’ll notice that they keep making instant changes to their running direction while they dribble. They do that to trick their opponents and to give them much less time to react.
For this reason, being agile is required if a soccer player wants to be good at dribbling.
2- Goalkeepers need to be agile
Agility is one of the most important skills for goalkeepers. Goalkeepers are supposed to react in a fraction of second whenever their opponent attempts to score a goal.
Sometimes, a goalkeeper is supposed to change their position in no time and jump towards where the ball is heading in order to block it from entering the net.
This kind of sudden movement requires the goalkeeper to have high agility.
During a soccer match, a goalkeeper will sometimes be running towards one side of the net, and their opponent kicks the ball towards the complete opposite side.
Under these scenarios, the goalkeeper’s agility will determine whether or not they’ll be able to save their team. The goalkeeper will have to completely move their body in the totally opposite direction before the ball reaches the net.
So in other words, a goalkeeper with high agility is usually a much better goalkeeper than a one with lower agility.
3- Many soccer moves require agility to be performed correctly
If you watch soccer regularly, then you already know that soccer players attempt all kinds of tricks to be able to surpass their opponents and score goals.
Many of these soccer moves and tricks require agility to work properly. Take the ‘Fake kick’ trick as an example.
Sometimes, soccer offensive players attempt to trick their opponents by pretending that they are going to kick the ball towards the goal, but then they don’t kick the ball and they immediately move in another direction to gain more space around them.
This kind of trick wouldn’t be effective at all if the player performing it doesn’t have good agility. For the player to do the trick correctly, they’ll have to change their body movement and surpass the defender before the defender gets the chance to react properly.
There are many other soccer tricks that require agility to be performed well too. The list is endless.
4- Agility is important during corner kicks and indirect free kicks
During a corner kick or an indirect free kick, most of the players on the field gather inside or close to the penalty area of the defending team.
The offensive team players will attempt to score a goal usually through a header while the defensive team will attempt to send the ball away from their net.
Since many players gather in a small area during these kicks, the players must be intelligent and must trick their opponents by changing their direction of movement instantly in order to gain more space to receive the ball from the corner kick taker / indirect free kick taker.
If the offensive player instantly changes their direction, then the defensive players won’t get much time to adjust their position and block the offensive player, then the offensive player will have enough space around them to score if they get the ball. For this reason, having agility is very beneficial during a corner kick.
5- Agility is important when players don’t have the ball
Believe it or not, agility is of an extreme importance for a player even if they don’t have the ball themselves. But how?
A good soccer player isn’t just one who knows what to do when they have the ball, but also one who knows what to do when they don’t have it.
As a soccer forward player, knowing where to stand and how to move when you don’t have the ball makes it much easier for your other team players to pass the ball to you and put you in a great position to score.
For example, let’s say that a forward player is being followed by a defender from the opponent’s team while they don’t have the ball. This forward player can pretend that they’re moving normally, and then suddenly make a quick move when they feel that their team member can pass them the ball.
This sudden movement of the forward player will put them in a great position to receive the ball from their teammates because the opponent player that is following them will be surprised by the sudden movement and might not be able to react fast.
Escaping from the offside trap also requires agility in the same way mentioned above.
6- Agility is important for defenders
As you may have concluded already, if a forward player has high agility, then for a defender to even get a chance to stop them, the defender is required to have to have high agility too.
In other words, agility is needed by defenders in order to counter the agility of the opponent’s team players.
Top soccer defenders are ones that are capable of instantly adapting to the opponent’s direction change and reacting as fast as possible to prevent the opponent from advancing.
With that said, I’ll end this article with a summary.
Agility is a requirement for any professional soccer player because it gives the player an advantage against their opponent and it helps them react better to any sudden opportunity that arises on the soccer field.