Just an year ago, playing football made me very stressful. I thought I was a decent player, but when I started to play in the league, I did not know when to dribble, pass, and shoot. It felt like as if I was betrayed by my best friend. My favourite sport and hobby turned out to be very stressful for me. So after a few months, I stopped playing in the league, and just played with my friends, trying to get rid of the pressure. While I was away from football, I asked for some advice from my friend, who was playing in the top league in Singapore. His advice was simple. "Control the ball and then pass it to your teammate." When I heard this advice, I was very confused. I did not know what he meant, so I tried to watch how professional footballers play. I focused especially on Andres Iniesta, because he is not the strongest or the fastest player, but he is considered as the best midfielder in the world. Watching him play was so fun and astonishing at the same time. His play was very intelligent, but also very simple. Just like the advice from my friend. From there, I started to understand how to play football 'properly', and realised that I was playing like a complete beginner who only knows how to dribble past defenders. After the enlightenment in my mind, I felt pretty confident to play football.
However, simple does not equal easy. It is never easy to control the ball and pass it at the right time. To master control, I practiced juggling everyday, which also helped me find my sweet spot to shoot the ball with power and accuracy. (read this article about juggling) After a lot of practicing, I am now able to juggle over 300 times, and I feel totally confident with the ball. Now that I almost mastered control, it makes me easier to look up and give the right pass at the right timing. Most of my friends do not know the importance of control, and never practice juggling. Therefore, they find it hard to control high balls or balls with speed. This is the reason why simple does not mean easy.
Playing simple football is important, and the first step is to master control.