You Do!

Skill moves.  Everybody tries them, not a lot of people master them.  How often do you see people online going round in circles doing tricks but not actually getting anywhere (you know who you are!).  Just frantically waggling the right analogue stick when someone comes near you might beat a man occasionally but with a little bit of practice you can turn that “lucky” occasionally into a “calculated” most of the time!

Skills Moves. Who needs 'em? fifa11 skill

Learning the skill moves is easy.  There are plenty of tutorial videos out there that will show how to do them.  The trick is picking which ones are effective and which ones are mainly for show.  In my experience the most effective ones are usually the simplest.  (There are a couple of exceptions but that’s a whole other post…)

First off, pick a couple of skill moves you fancy and get out on the training ground and practice them until they become second nature.  Remember to practice them using the camera view that you’ll be using in a match.  (Sounds stupid I know but you’ll be surprised at how many people are great at skill moves in the arena but then get lost when it comes to doing it in a game).  Practice them with no defenders at first and once you’ve mastered them bring a couple in and take them on.

The Exit Move

When it comes to taking on defenders the exit move is probably the most important part of the skill move and isn’t usually shown in any of the tutorials.  This is the change of direction and pace at the end of your skill move.  Every situation is different and you’ll have to judge the speed of your exit yourself but it is done by releasing the left trigger and jogging/sprinting/flicking the right thumbstick in the direction you want to exit depending on the speed needed.  It’s usually this that determines whether you’ve left the defender for dead or given him a second chance to get back at you.  The timing and direction of this is crucial.  Get the timing wrong and it just won’t happen, get the direction wrong and you’ll end up turning back into trouble.  Once again there’s no substitute for practice.

When you’ve added a few skill moves to your game it’s time to try them out in matches.  Offline, try them all over the pitch, you’ll find out which areas they’re effective in an which they not.  Obvoiusly when you take the game online there’s a time and a place for skills, you don’t want to lose the ball with too many of your team-mates ahead of play.

Learn from the AI

Another way to add to your game is to learn from the AI.  If you hadn’t already noticed in FIFA11 AI players will now try to take you on using some of the skills moves available and some of them are pretty good at it too.  The game developers obviously know what’s effective and when so crank the difficulty up to legendary, set off on that career mode and make like a sponge!  You’ll see AI players put together some good combos and you’ll see which areas they’re effective.  If you see something you like go and learn how to do it.  After all, if it’s worked against you, the chances are it’ll work against people online.

Finally though, there really is no substitute for playing online against real people.  It’s a completely different kettle of fish.  Only then can you tell whether the moves you’ve learned are truly effective.  Personally I think it’s easier than taking on an AI opponent on a high difficulty setting.  Skill moves are particularly effective online when your opponent is pressing with a second defender by holding down the B button (the defenders will jump in).  Again, there will be certain areas of the pitch when they will be more effective (even good players are likely to press if under pressure in the final third).  Any organised opposition will always be difficult to break down by just passing alone.  Throw in a player that can beat a man and covering defenders start getting drawn out of position and teams lose their shape.

In summary, you really do need to have a few reliable and effective skill moves in your arsenal.  You need to know how and when to use them.  Knowing as little as 2 or 3 skill moves really can make the difference from you being a good player to being a great player!

What skill moves do you use?  Which are the most effective and which are useless?