File Photo Credit: Samuel Lim
By Lim Weiyang
FOOTBALL TRAINING TIPS (1): IMPROVING YOUR BALL CONTROL
As with any aspect of football or sports for that matter, perfect practice makes perfect. It is important to emphasize here that practicing the wrong technique here won’t help you perfect a skill, hence it is good to get either a coach or someone more experienced to guide you along.
In this article, we detail two soccer passing drills that will improve the way you execute and receive a pass.
1. Ball Control – Improve Your First Touch
The importance of a good first touch cannot be emphasized enough. It is one of the basic skills that need to mastered and revisited time and again before moving on to other advanced skill areas in football. A good first touch buys you extra time in a football game.
Juggling the ball, also known in some parts of the world as “keepy uppy”, may be perceived as an act that is flamboyant or showing-off to your peers. But there is actual practical benefit from being to execute this skill well, and that is to develop your ball control.
The action of juggling revolves around cushioning the landing of the ball, controlling your power to push it back into the air and cushioning it again. Emphasis here is to be able to keep your eye focused on the ball. Once you are comfortable juggling with your master foot, you should alternate this by doing so with both feet.
A simple exercise involves timing yourself and keeping count on how many times can you juggle the ball. First, try using any part of your body except for your hands - from your head, thighs or feet.
After that, try isolating your ball control to an exclusive body part for 1 minute or more. Doing so will allow you to work on your weaker areas.
2. Individual Passing drills
You may not always have a friend around to practise your passing. You will still be able to do this on your own but you require a wall or a hard flat surface. Mark (erasable) circular spots of varying heights of locations on a wall. Ensure there are some that are at ground level, some at shin height and some at chest height. The idea here is to produce a variety of different short passes around different heights.
Keep yourself moving and pass the ball at varying distances and angles from the wall. This will ensure you develop a diverse range of passing as well as accuracy.
After a series of 20 short passes (about 10 metres) and 20 long passes (>15m), record down how many actually hit the circle. If you realise that you are missing a lot of passes, correct your mindset and technique before passing again. Practice makes perfect so don't be hasty about it.
Another reason why you should use a wall or hard surface is because the ball bounces back, thus allowing you to practice your receiving as well. Practice your trapping of the ball as close to your body as possible to allow for quick and effective release of the ball. Once you feel you have mastered this drill, take it up a notch by going through the same practice but this time with one touch passing (immediate release of the ball with no trapping to bring the ball under control when receiving).
Start slow and ensure you are using the right technique. Getting passes off by recklessly dispatching the ball will not do you any good in the long run.
Focus not only on the passing but also on receiving the ball. In a real soccer game, the ball will not always be laid out nicely for you and you have to bring it under control quickly.
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