For soccer players, there tends to be an innate focus on shooting, defending, and passing at youth levels -- but, unfortunately, if you do not possess a sense of elite ball control, you're unlikely to connect the dots and improve. Think about it, if you can't control the ball, can you shoot? Will you be able to pass with accuracy and efficiency? The answer is, probably, a resounding no. So, yes, scoring goals or tossing assists on the pitch may certainly be the determining factor between a win and a loss, but without ball control as the glue to hold it all together, you won't be a complete player.
With that in mind? How do you get better at controlling the ball? Granted, there is no bouncing ball identical to the last, but you can certainly prepare yourself ahead of time by simply practicing as much as possible. It seems crazy simple, but it's true -- the more scenarios you run through during training, the less likely it is that those same situations will surprise you during an important game. Additionally, it's incredibly important to learn how to control the ball with parts of your body other than your feet. At full speed, you'll need to effectively use your head, knees, and chest to control the ball, so don't wait until the 85th minute of a tight game for a crash course!
Of course, that is not to say that you can't prepare with some good, old fashioned workouts! And, yeah, you guessed it -- we wrote a Training Center article on it as well!
Types of Dribbling Exercises
- Roll out, Push in -- set your foot on the ball and roll toward the outside of the foot as you quick slide the foot to the outside of the ball and push "in" towards the other foot. Repeat with other foot and repeat 100 times quickly.
- Pull + Tap -- set your foot on the ball and roll it "heel to toe" so it rolls back. Quickly drop your toe to the ground before the ball. The ball will 'bounce' back so you can repeat with the other foot. Repeat this 100 times per daily session.
- Roll in, Push out -- set your foot on soccer ball and roll it towards your other foot while quickly rolling your foot over the ball to the ground between your feet. Push back to the "outside" and quickly set your other foot on the ball and repeat 100 times.
- Across the Front -- push the ball with one foot on top "toe to heel" in front of your other foot. Then pull with your foot back. Turn to keep facing the ball as you place your other foot on the ball and repeat 100 times.
Here's a small snippet of potential foot-skill drills, but feel free to expand on it and make it your own. You can find the whole article here,
so get to it -- however, as a reminder, don't forget that the world's best dribblers have worked relentlessly at it. You, too, will become a better all-around athlete with these activities anchoring your ball control, so what are you waiting for?
Training Center -- Advanced Ball Control Drills