How Can Learning Chess Make You a Great Footballer?

Over the years, there have been many comparisons made between Football/ Soccer and Chess. They are similar in many ways from a strategic or tactical point of view. In this article, I will outline the important analogies about mastering both games.  

The 6 Key Rules for Chess & Football/Soccer

  1. Thinking Ahead 

The goal in chess is to move up the board to dethrone the opponent’s King. In football, the aim is to move up the field and score more goals than the opposition. The most critical part of winning a chess match is to think of moves ahead of time which helps you trap your opponent. Similarly, in Football, we make specific runs off or without the ball, hoping that it reaches us in time to score a goal. 

  1. Deceiving the Opponent 

Whether the opponent is tricked by an individual performance (skills) or a team’s collective play (breakthrough runs), the notion holds in tricking or outperforming the opponent. Although it may sound comparable and straightforward, there are some significant differences. One difference is in Football; you can target and improve the individual performance to make the change. While in chess, individual pieces performances are fixed. Another difference is the execution of the move in chess is precise every single time, while in Football, it is not.    

  1. Knowing Your Resources 

I am not a chess player by any stretch of the imagination, but some things stand out that are noticeably clear. In chess, the pieces have their specific moves, and that never changes. Those moves are precise and always 100% completed without any error. We can think of plays ahead in Football, but the probability of all the moves working is lower because all the actions do not work out 100% precisely every time. The simple reason for this is a lack of skill execution. The variables in executing a skill are much higher in Football. So, sometimes we cannot see them, and for that reason, chess is slightly different. 

  1. Understanding the Tactics 

A more intelligent chess player can keep thinking ahead, knowing that his/her moves will always work from a tactical point of view because those moves are always executed accordingly. Still, in Football, we must eliminate the slightest errors to make it work. We all know the Queen is the most valuable piece because it can move the most freely, promoting more attacking scenarios. In Football, it may be the player who can use both feet fluently, making them less predictable for the defender. As the Pawn is hindered useless in specific situations, the player may also be hampered by his lack of performance development. Luckily for the players, they can improve their level of performance while chess pieces cannot.  

  1.  Mastering the Required Skills 

I have dedicated my life to acquire the ability to target player development and categorize areas of their weaknesses. Therefore, I’ve seen outstanding results in many players. While the players should execute skills flawlessly, they also need to widen his/her skill sets to allow them to adapt to any situation. The chess expert knows how easy they will win if all his/her chess pieces were Queens. Whether it is a specific type of shot, dribbling skill, or pressuring, the soccer player needs to be versatile as the Queen. Knowing how to execute a skill flawlessly while considering human biomechanics is crucial in the player’s execution. 

  1.  Selecting the Right Playing Style 

In chess, we must be careful that we do not attack all the time as we may leave our King open and susceptible to losing. Likewise, in football/Soccer, we cannot push all the players forward or get caught on the counterattack. We must increase our knowledge and ability to take the highest percentage shots when available and be extremely accurate in our execution. It gives us every chance of scoring without exposing ourselves and a greater chance of winning the match.   

I consider that learning chess can help football players assess the opponents playing style, much like Football. They will recognize whether they attack immediately or wait for the opponents to come to them to counterattack their opponent. The strategy learned in chess is therefore reflected in Football.  

BTW, after reading the article what do you think, are you the Queen or the Pawn? 


Read this one? Do you learn more from winning or losing?




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