How to be More Aggressive in Soccer: Why Some Players Excel More?

Do you ever question yourself why you’re not as aggressive as you should be on the pitch? Or wonder how to stop your child from being too shy?

This is an overlooked (yet important) skill in soccer in 2024.

The reality is that spending your time and money on training equipment and practice sessions is not going to manifest itself if you shy away from performing…

Allow me to show you how to be more aggressive in soccer, and what can you do to unleash the beast that’s within you.

Key Takeaways

  • Aggressive is not angry, it’s rather being dangerous.
  • You become aggressive by pressing, tackling, using your body, and annoying the opponent.
  • It’s a skill that requires patience and timing…not emotions.
  • Young players should understand that being aggressive is a good thing.
  • Never play soccer passively.

What Is An Aggressive Soccer Player? (No, It’s Not Being Angry)

While it’s normal to assume that being aggressive is being angry and wanting to destroy everything in sight, you will learn the hard way that it’s not a healthy way of playing soccer.

You will run out of conditioning way sooner than expected…

Funny story…I got nutmegged once while I was putting ”aggressive” pressure on a player during a soccer training session…let’s ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else who is trying to become a more aggressive soccer player.

Being aggressive in soccer means being a dangerous player to be around, no matter your position.

Whether it’s with your tackles, how you press the ball, how you use your body when you play, and of course, your mindset, your opponent starts worrying about coming your way.

It’s the uncertain feeling the opposing team gets from your presence.

Protect yourself while being intense with proper shin guards!

How to be more aggressive in soccer

Aggressiveness must be appropriately managed—it’s not about recklessly causing harm. There are times to be aggressive, and times to be passive.

Think of a tiger: Does he do everything aggressively? Of course not…He stalks his prey and waits around. When the time is right, only then he becomes the mighty predator.

You simply have to pick and choose your moments…here’s how.

How To Be More Aggressive In Soccer?

Being aggressive in soccer is manifested in 4 ways:

  1. By Pressing Relentlessly 
  2. By Tackling And Annoying The Opponent
  3. By Using Your Body Effectively
  4. By Overwhelming The Opposing Player

Whether it is to win the ball, to force a mistake, or to protect your ball while you dribble, these methods can make you a better soccer player.

While being an aggressive player is a state, it’s also, most importantly, a style of play.

1. By Pressing Relentlessly 

Pressing relentlessly is a great way to be aggressive because you are putting pressure on the opponent and forcing him to make a mistake.

Pressing relentlessly, however, doesn’t mean running at whoever has the ball.

Instead, picking the best time to press, that is when your opponent is the most vulnerable, is how you successfully play aggressively and become successful.

The best times to press aggressively:

When to Press aggressively?
  • When a defender is cornered and has no options
  • When a player has his back against the goal…he’s unaware of what’s behind him.
  • When an opposing player takes a bad touch or is losing control of the ball.

Whenever you see these triggers, this is where you go all out and try to win the ball either by a tackle or an interception. 

Remember, if you come at him fast, you are most likely to succeed.

2. By Tackling And Annoying The Opponent

Tackling is a wonderful skill in soccer when executed perfectly.

And here’s the awesome part…you need to be aggressive to tackle. If you do it nonchalantly, you will either hurt or humiliate yourself.

Learn how to tackle here: How do you tackle in football?

The key is to be very simple about it. If you see the chance, tackle him. Every time. This will annoy the player and make him second-guess himself.

So how does tackling make you more aggressive? It displays you as a danger to be around.

Tackle effectively, and even go for slide tackles when you have the chance. Show the opposing player that you aren’t in the mood today.

It’s important to not get a foul since it will portray you as a clumsy player, and the other player will gain confidence.

3. By Using Your Body Effectively

When I was in Germany, I played against great players from all over the world. One that stuck with me was a player from Ghana. 

I remember once during soccer training, he had the ball and I pressed him. I used my arm to push him off balance, and he…slapped it away. I looked at the coach, and he said he didn’t see it (he wasn’t lying).

Now I’m not telling you to slap people on the soccer field. I’m simply telling you to use your full body to protect yourself and the ball from opponents…at all times.

If you are dribbling, keep that opposing player away from you.

how to use your body in soccer

Use your butt, your arms to push people away, your shoulders to bump players, and even your hands to annoy people…Believe it or not, the slaps actually worked..people stopped pressing the player as much.

Do you work out? Good, then use your muscles to protect yourself.

This is what it means to be aggressive. You are willing to fight for the ball, even by bending the rules sometimes.

4. By Overwhelming The Opposing Player

Being aggressive is not always something you do. Sometimes, it’s your presence that displays you as a threat and an aggressive player.

Imagine you’re a striker, and you always cut in front of the center-back all game, run offside and come back, drop behind his back, move around him.

It will take extreme focus for him to keep up with your shenanigans…and perfect focus for 90 minutes is impossible.

Always try to annoy with your presence the nearest opponent. This will show him that you’re a threat at any moment, thus making you aggressive.

Learn Other Soccer Skills

What It Takes To Play Soccer More Aggressively (And How To Teach It Young?)

To learn how to play aggressively, you need to be patient and focused during games. Wait for the triggers mentioned above to start your aggressive behavior.

Although identifying these moments requires experience, there are things to do on the training ground to learn how to be aggressive, whether you’re a coach trying to teach youth soccer players, or simply a player trying to improve.

What is aggressive play?

Always tell the youth that mistakes are common in soccer and that aggressive behavior doesn’t make him/her a bad person.

Make sure to encourage them when they display admirable aggressiveness.

Here are drills to improve your aggressiveness:

1. Tackling Drills

Learn how to tackle, when to tackle, when to go for the tackle, and at what angle to tackle.

The better you become at making tackles in soccer, the more aggressive you will be during the game. 

The best way to improve tackling is 1v1 in a box, where the attacker must get past the defender.

The box keeps the area small, always in reach for a tackle.

Best tackle drills visualization

2. Pressing Drills

Train your player or yourself when to go for the pressure and turn on aggressive mode. 

If you are training a team, tell your players at what point you expect them to press the ball (for example: when a centre-back passes to another centre-back, press from the passed angle). 👇

Pressing trigger
Once the center-back makes the pass, press the other one from the same angle of the pass so he cannot pass it back!

Another exercise you can do yourself is whenever you see a player slightly hesitating or making a bad touch, turn on aggressive mode fast and intensely. 

Ball Shielding Drills

The perfect soccer player uses everything he can to protect the ball (think of the Ghanaian player). Ball shielding is an important skill to have, and it’s a skill that can only be done by being naturally aggressive.

The best way to shield the ball is to put your body between the opponent and the soccer ball. Use one leg for balance, and the other to push off the adversary.

Use your shoulders, glutes, and hands to keep the player away. In other words, it requires fighting off the defender, and a fight is always aggressive. 

Why Every Soccer Player Needs To Be Aggressive?

I will go as far as saying that if you play passively, you get eaten alive on the field.

Playing soccer is an intense activity, it’s fighting for the ball for 90 minutes. If you don’t show strength, willpower, and determination (all through aggressive play), you will not succeed.

We need to eliminate the passive thinking in soccer and start thinking positively, and also realistically:

  • What if I injure myself? It’s part of the game. If your biggest concern is injuring yourself, you are in the wrong sport. (How To Wear Soccer Shin Guards)
  • I don’t have the fitness for that. As mentioned, there are moments where you turn up the intensity and moments to recollect and recover.
  • I’m not strong enough. Intense play is not about who’s the strongest. It’s about who wants it more. If not, then Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, and Bernardo Silva would all be bad players.
  • I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. If your kid tells you that, or you think that yourself, simply remember: Everything you do in soccer stays in soccer…it’s only a game at the end of the day. Most professional players are extremely nice guys in real life.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, by this point, you realized that being aggressive on the field does not mean being angry and sprinting and chasing after the ball.

Instead, it is this mode that you turn on at the perfect moment to get what you want. It’s one of many skill tools to add to your bank.

Think of it like these car video games we used to play: You charge your nitro boost slowly, and when the time is right, you boost your car and surpass everybody…this is how to play aggressive soccer.


How to become more aggressive?

Embrace a positive mindset and view aggression as a constructive force for competitive play.

How do you tackle aggressively in soccer?

Tackle aggressively by mastering the timing of challenges, maintaining a low body position to block opponents effectively, and committing fully to tackles with decisiveness.

What does it mean to be an aggressive soccer player?

Being an aggressive soccer player means being assertive, intense, and proactive in your approach to the game. It involves making strong tackles, pressing opponents, and being fearless in 50/50 challenges.

How can I play more aggressive soccer?

To play more aggressive soccer, focus on improving your physical strength, mental toughness, and tactical awareness. Additionally, prioritize winning individual duels and committing to every play with determination.

Is it important for a soccer player to become more aggressive?

While it’s not the only quality of a successful player, being aggressive is important in soccer as it can intimidate opponents, create scoring opportunities, and demonstrate a strong work ethic on the field.

What are some drills to help players become more aggressive?

One effective drill is the “1v1 aggressive challenge” where players compete in one-on-one situations to win the ball. Additionally, “tackling technique drills” can improve players’ confidence and assertiveness.

How can a soccer coach teach players to play aggressively?

Coaches can emphasize the importance of assertiveness, lead by example, and organize training sessions that specifically focus on developing players’ aggressiveness on the field.

To truly take your soccer game to the advanced level, shouldn’t a player understand the pros and cons of adopting a more aggressive playing style?

Yes, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of playing more aggressively is crucial. It helps players make informed decisions, adapt their playing style, and refine their approach to become more effective on the field.

Can a soccer training company help me become a more aggressive player?

Yes, a reputable soccer training company can provide personalized coaching, tailored drills, and expert guidance to help players develop the ability to play more aggressively and achieve soccer success today.

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