The first touch is arguably the most important skill in soccer. Without a good one, you won’t ever have the opportunities to use your other skills because a DEFENDER will have already closed in. Unfortunately, the first touch is also one of the most difficult skills to learn — it makes the difference between good players and great ones.
Be Aware of Your Teammates. No matter how you plan to control the ball, you need to know where you want to put it. The point of a good first touch is putting the ball in space and getting it out of your feet so you can deliver a crisp pass or take a clean shot. So in the moment before the ball comes to you, take a peek around. It’s as simple as putting the ball where a defender is not. And as your touch improves, your confidence will, too, and you will be able to look up sooner.
Get the Ball Under Control. Once the ball reaches you, you have several options. Take the ball with: The inside or outside of either foot Your thigh Your chest Your shoulders Your head Or get creative
Cushion the Ball. Track the ball in, put your entire body behind it, and don’t remain stiff. The same way your hands move back to soften a catch, cushion the ball with whichever part of your body you are using. Ideally, you should be on your toes, knees bent and arms out for balance.
Bring the Ball Down. The first thing you want to do is get the ball on the ground if it isn’t there already — that’s where it is easiest to handle. Doing that requires a soft touch and a generally downward motion of your body. With your foot, almost sweep the ball to the ground when it comes to you. With your thighs or chest, the goal is to provide a cushion for the ball to land on before letting it drop in front of you. You can control the direction of the touch by turning your hips or your shoulders.
The Chest Trap. When it comes to chest-ing a ball down, lean back and remember to take a deep breath first or you might feel suddenly winded.
Get the Ball out of Your Feet. Once you have the ball in your possession, you need to be looking around to either run with it, pass, or shoot — so keep your head up. Then, with a tap from the outside of your foot or your instep, push it a couple of feet in front of you to give your kick some room or starting your dribbling. From there, it’s up to your creativity. The quicker and more natural your first touch becomes, the more time it will give you to plan your next move. The best players always seem to have time and space on the ball because of the quality of their first touch.
Practice Makes Perfect. All you need for the easiest first-touch drill is a wall and any kind of ball (even a tennis ball works). Throw or kick the ball at the wall from a variety of angles and bring it under control as it bounces back — left foot, right foot, thighs, chest, even shoulders and head. There really is no secret to it. It may sound simple, but it’s the best way to develop those instincts alone. If you have the luxury of practicing with someone else, the drill doesn’t change much. Your teammate takes the place of the wall and feeds you the ball.
Your touch defines you, how is your first touch?
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Consciously or not, every player that is part of the team, during the game faces many opportunities that demand different decisions. The players decision that is fast and correct is extremely influential in the game.
“Everything starts from what the player sees. Not from what they looks at.”
If the player is aware, there is no place to fear and they will want the ball. They become responsible, creative and confident in the game. The basis of the decision process is information. The time, quality and frequency of gained information is a key in this process.
Constantly moving, players must be aware of which direction and part of the field they should move and why. That is perception, sense of awareness, and our field of sight. However, our field of view is limited, but our awareness can improve by understanding this:
1) Scanning the field - Player gathers information from surroundings.
2) Correcting body position
3) Correcting position on the field
Types of information on the field
– Where is the space with advantage (free space, numerical balance)
– Where are opponents
– Where are teammates
– Position in the formation
Based on the received information, a player must analyze them in relation to their position, principles and, assessment of the risk and which solution will bring the biggest advantage for the team.
All this information seems to be quite easy to remember and use during the game, however, sometimes the easiest way seems to be the most difficult to use. Cryuff once said,
“Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple.”
How much you know is the one, but how you will use it is the other thing. Cognitive Process is one of the most difficult pieces of skill a player can develop. Done correctly, their speed of play will be unstoppable. But it takes time to develop the brain to think this way because it’s happening individually inside the head of each player. The player must understand it takes time and patience to think this way. Trust the process.
All we can do as coaches is to replicate the situations that are troublesome for the players during the game. Situations where defenders are set in transitional opportunities (ex. defense to offense), where they need to control more than one aspect of the game. Where attackers must decide what to use to control the pass or what type of run to make or dribble. The direction they will choose to create an attack.
Watching football is a great way to learn more about the game. Ask your coaches questions!
The biggest difference between the good and the best players is, decision making and first touch. So get your head up and gather the infomation to execute.
Dear Parents, if your elite soccer player has a dream of playing in a high level, you can help the most by fostering these mental qualities in your children and reinforcing them every day. The greatest gift parents can give their children in sports is the gift of a growth mentality.
Lesson #1: Be Coachable
First and foremost, teach your child to be coachable. Being coachable means that your child has respect for his or her coach and listens to what is being taught. Being coachable means that your child trusts the process, listens to what he or she is told and executes it without complaint. It's not a technical skill or an inherent ability. It is a mental attitude. It is defined by your ability to be coached. As amazing as your coach may be, their efforts are meaningless without another crucial part of this success equation: your own coachability. Even with the best coaches at your disposal, it is your coachability in conjunction with great training that will ultimately determine your progress.
Lesson #2: Be comfortable with being uncomfortable
Teach your child to reach out of his or her comfort zone by trying harder than they have ever tried or having difficult conversations. Players should be the ones to have conversations with their coaches about playing time or skill progression. When your elite soccer player reaches higher levels, coaches expect players to try their best and will not (nor should they) have a conversation with parents about playing time. Your children need preparation and practice in how to push it to their limit and advocate for themselves in their professional careers.
Lesson #3: Be an excellent teammate and leader
Teach your child the characteristics of how to be an excellent teammate and leader. These go hand in hand. Teach your child SELFLESSNESS by emphasizing good body language if a teammate makes a mistake or if your coach ask you to run. Teach your child ACCOUNTABILITY by not placing blame toward others, there is no “I” in team!
Lesson #4: Be mentally tough
Teach your children mental toughness and resilience. One day in their lives they may not start, or maybe they don’t even play at all. Elite athletes survive disappointments because they are mentally prepared for whatever happens to them. They have dealt with adversity, disappointment, and failure and learned how to grow from those experiences.
Lesson #5: Postive Attitude
Last but not least, remind your children they can achieve anything IF they put in the work CONSISTENTLY! When the going gets tough, the tough keep going, there is no gain without pain ;)
Elite soccer provides you the opportunity as a parent and coach to teach children life lessons.
Join Cristiano Ronaldo with Sam Kerr and Bruno Fernandes along with Nike Master Trainer Jamie Reynolds as they share the tips, drills and training secrets that have powered their rise to the top.
• Speed with Cristiano Ronaldo
• Movement & Finishing with Sam Kerr
• Heading with Cristiano Ronaldo
• Playing Between the Lines with Bruno Fernandes
• Free Kicks with Cristiano Ronaldo
Equipment needed: 7 markers (e.g. cones) 3 football/soccer balls 1 tennis ball 1 goal
BROUGHT TO YOU BY NIKE FOOTBALL
Home or on the road? Perfect time to learn more on why football is the world's most beautful game. Here are some of the best football movies to watch online:
Take the ball, Pass the ball
First Team: Juventus.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die
All Or Nothing
This Is Football
Go to Youtube and search for "soccer documentary"
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When the assist is more beautiful than the goal. When the players play for each other, the game is more beautiful..
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Effort wins games. Watch the dark teams effort to get back on defense. Eight players sprinting to help defend!
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Check out his top 10 goals & skills.
Diego Maradona loved the game and you can see it in this classic warmup. Enjoy.
Amazon Prime Video has some amazing football documentaries.
Here are some of the best and most inspiring team talks by Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, from the Amazon Original documentary: Manchester City All or Nothing Man City: All or Nothing is available to watch now exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Marcelo Bielsa is a man of few words but luckily lots of other people are happy to talk about what makes him such a special manager. Watch Take Us Home: Leeds United exclusively on Prime Video.
This is the unmissable inside story of an unprecedented campaign at @SpursOfficial. Watch the full discussion in the latest episodes of All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur on Prime Video