Posts Tagged ‘soccer ball’

Beginner Soccer Skills 4: Ball Control

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Controlling the soccer ball is a fundamental soccer skill for all players of the beautiful game. When a pass is delivered to us, we have to control the ball effectively at whatever angle, height or speed it arrives. This means that when we play soccer we must really pay attention to the path of the ball as it comes to us. Receiving the ball requires good eye-foot coordination in order to get hold of the ball and keep possession for our team.

  • It is all about our first touch. This is where we immediately soften, cushion or deaden the ball.

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What we are aiming to do is to put the ball exactly where we want it with the same touch we use to bring it under control. This gives us the time and space to consider what to do next: pass, dribble or shoot. This takes lots of practice. Over time we will know what to do with the ball before it arrives.

EXERCISE 1

Kick a ball against a wall and control the ball when it comes back at you. For now aim to ‘cushion’ it with your feet. Use the inside of your foot at first as this is the easiest way to control the ball. Later use the outside of your soccer shoes and the sole of your soccer boots.

Kick the ball at various heights and with various amounts of power. Each time control the rebound. Once you are comfortable with this drill, ask a friend to kick the ball against the wall and control the rebound.

As you do these drills, focus on the part of the ball where contact will occur.

Practice controlling a tennis ball (or mini-ball) as well as a full-sized ball. Notice how easy the bigger ball is to control after trying to control the smaller tennis ball. Remember to use both feet so that you don’t have a ‘weaker’ foot. Have a selection of soccer balls to practice with, including training balls and skill balls.

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EXERCISE 2

Now you can practice using your body – head, chest, thigh – to control the ball. Play a game of ‘head tennis’ with a friend. The aim is to keep the ball from touching the ground by using your head, chest, thigh or feet.

SKILLS HOMEWORK

Practice controlling, trapping and cushioning the ball. Do these fun soccer drills every other day for 3 weeks. As for the other skills, take the time to imagine doing these soccer skills in your mind whenever you can.

REMEMBER

  • Pay attention to the path of the soccer ball as it approaches.
  • Focus on the part of the ball where contact will occur.
  • Soften, cushion or deaden the ball as it arrives.

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Beginner Soccer Skills 2: Passing

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Soccer passing is the most important of all youth soccer skills. It is essential for any position on the pitch. All soccer passes – short, long, curved, crosses – have a common basis for achieving direction and speed.

But before we go into how to pass a soccer ball, stop for a second and think about what we are actually trying to achieve here. The key word is PASS. We are wanting to create a free-flowing pass – naturally- where we are swinging our foot effortlessly through the ball so that it goes in the direction that we intend.

If you only remember one thing about passing, remember this:

  • We aim to pass the ball to a teammate who is in a better position than we are.

This means that we know when to pass – whenever a teammate is in a better position – whenever a teammate is unmarked or has space to move.  This means also that we need to know where our nearest team mates are on the pitch at all times. We need to be able to ‘see’ the playing field and know who is free to receive the ball from us at any moment. This awareness is a fundamental skill that we will develop over time and it is something that we will work on in a later exercise. For now though, let’s do…

EXERCISE 1

Practice making short passes to a friend or against a wall with a full-sized ball. Look at the ball and stroke it with the side of your foot. Aim to make the ball roll along the ground. Watch the ball closely as it moves towards the target.

Which direction does the ball spin? Clockwise? Anti-clockwise? How fast is it moving?

With each pass you make, focus on stroking the ball in a smooth motion. With each pass, vary how hard you stroke the ball and vary the length of your follow through. Notice the difference in how the ball moves with each variation you make.

EXERCISE 2

Get a tennis ball. Yes that’s right – a small tennis ball. Find a wall. Pass and control the ball against the wall. Do five passes on each foot and then slowly do more. Try it close to the wall and then further away. Over time, you want to be doing more with your ‘weaker’ foot.

Practice this 100 times. The aim of this exercise is to develop both feet so that you don’t have a ‘weaker’ foot. Most won’t bother to do this kind of training. But those will who want to be good at soccer.

Once you know what kicking a tennis ball feels like, take the time to practice this skill in your mind in the same way as the soccer skills 1.

SKILLS HOMEWORK

Practice making short passes with the inside and outside of your foot with both balls. Do these two soccer passing drills every other day for 3 weeks. You can also imagine doing these soccer skills in your mind whenever you can – while in a class at school or in front of the tv .

REMEMBER

  • Pass the ball to a teammate who is in a better position than we are.
  • Focus on stroking the ball in a smooth motion with the inside and outside of your feet.

That’s it. Once you’ve got the hang of that, move on to the art of dribbling…

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Beginner Soccer Skills 1: Knowing the Ball

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The aim of these pages is to show you how to play soccer with as few instructions as possible.

The key to being good at soccer is to work hard on all of the fundamentals. Train your feet. Train your mind. This constant practice and improvement in your ball skills will allow you to progress faster than others. Just decide now to be SO good at the basics that no one can keep up with you.

What do I really need to know to get started?

Your body already knows how to kick a soccer ball and if it doesn’t it will learn very quickly.

Get to know the feel of the ball

What you want to do is to begin to become very familiar with the football. Notice what it feels like to move it in different ways using your bare feet as well as soccer cleats.

EXERCISE 1

Play the following video clip (from Brazilian Soccer Schools) which shows you how to move the ball side-to-side, from one foot to the other. As you watch carefully, imagine yourself doing the same. Let the image stay in your mind.

You can watch the full clip here (00:00 to 01:13).

Now go outside and let your feet contact the ball where they want to and see what happens. Just let your body imitate this soccer move. Allow your body to do what is necessary so that you move the ball from one foot to the other. Just like the soccer players do in the above soccer skills video.

Practice this 100 times. Moving forward with the ball when you feel ready. Over time, you are aiming to get to moving the ball side-to-side at full speed – with your head up looking for where your team mates are…

After completing the side-to-side exercise, you are ready for the sole-to-sole exercise.

EXERCISE 2

Now play the following video clip (from Brazilian Soccer Schools) which shows you how to move the ball side-to-side with the sole of your feet. As you watch carefully, imagine yourself doing the same. Let the image stay in your mind.

You can watch the full clip here (01:16 to 02:56).

Now go outside and let your feet contact the ball where they want to and see what happens. Just let your body imitate this skill. Allow your body to do what is necessary so that you move the ball from one sole to the other. Just like the players do in the above soccer video.

Practice this 100 times. Moving forward with the ball when you feel ready. Over time, you are aiming to get to moving the ball sole-to-sole at full speed with your head up looking for where your team mates are…

SKILLS HOMEWORK

Do these two fun soccer drills every other day (or every day if you are keen) for 3 weeks. You can also imagine doing these soccer skills in your mind whenever you can – while waiting for the bus or walking the dog .

Remember

  • Work hard on becoming so good at the basics.
  • Your body already knows how to kick a ball and if it doesn’t it will learn very quickly.
  • Imagine yourself doing the side-to-side, and sole-to-sole skills before you actually physically do them.

That’s enough to get you started on training your feet and training your mind.

If you like, write a comment below about what it feels like when doing soccer training in this way.

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