Drills For Advanced Ball Control
The most effective practice to develop ball skills is to work individually. Most of the world's best soccer players are all advanced at their ball control. Whether it's a fancy move or trapping the ball after a thirty-yard pass, having control is crucial -- that includes on the ball and of your own body, too! Several repetitive exercises with the ball can provide the athlete with a smooth, quick touch as he masters the various feints with the ball. CoachUp has put together a short list of awesome exercises that can help build on your touch!
Juggle The Ball Often
Try juggling using the laces and with an extended foot -- your foot should make contact the ball higher off the ground. This is more like striking the ball with your laces and forces you to find the "sweet-spot" every time you make contact with the ball!
If the ball makes contact closer to your toes, it'll be much easier to lose control of the ball. Also, make contact with the ball high off the ground and with as little spin as possible. Try to juggle the ball with solid touches, paying attention to which part of your foot makes contact with the ball. Juggling often allows you to develop a relationship with the ball, which means means you will be able to react naturally to the ball instead of second guessing yourself constantly.
Dribble The Ball Close To You
When doing dribbling exercises, keep the ball close to you without taking extra-long touches. Save the long touches for when you're trying to speed past a defender -- this will allow you to change directions quickly if needed. But before that, keep the ball close, with small and controlled touches, then fake one way, and go the other! The more you can control the ball like a yo-yo, the more technically advanced you'll become.
Train Your Footwork
Believe it or not, ladder and hurdle drills are great for developing good footwork. This type of training improves your hand-eye coordination, reaction speed, and overall athleticism. Even though these are not exercises using the ball, improving your speed allows you to perform moves more quickly, so don’t overlook that part of your training.
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.
- Push-Pull -- set your foot on the ball and move it "toe to heel to toe" or push-pull. Switch feet quickly and repeat 100 times.
- Outside 1/2 Turn -- using the outside part of your foot, push and turn the ball towards your back while hopping quickly on the other foot to make a 180° turn. Recover ball with outside of other foot and repeat 50 times.
- Behind the Leg -- set your foot on the ball and pull "heel to toe" so the ball passes your planted foot as you apply your instep of the set foot and push the ball behind your planted leg. Quickly set your planted foot on the ball and repeat. Do this 100 times each session.
- Shielding Turn -- set one foot on the ball with the bottom of your foot or the cleat on the ball. Move the ball towards your back while maintaining the cleat on the ball. This may be done with several small touches while you hop on the other foot to make the 180° turn. Switch to other foot. Repeat this move 50 times per session.
- Rollover Dribble -- practice dribbling in a variety of touch techniques. This soccer drill requires that you push the ball with your sole or cleat instep to outside of foot. Get at least 100 touches of this technique per day. This and the first two exercises quickly develop your ability to turn with the ball while under defensive pressure from your opponent in game situations.
- Inside-Outside Dribble -- find a small area to dribble with one foot, quickly touching ball alternately with the instep and laces. Get 100 touches on each foot with this technique.
- Quick Feet/Popcorn -- tap the top of your foot to the top of the ball, then alternate feet. Do this as long as you can to build stamina, confidence, and consistency on the ball.
(Related: Read about dribbling drills here.)
To develop power and accuracy with the ball, the simplest tool is to use a wall to bounce passes and shots off of. The English even call the one-two pass a "wall pass" due to the simplicity of this practice! Remember, the more you do it, the better you'll get! Stay determined and focused on your goals. Combining the technique that you will develop from these drills and daily practice at juggling will give each player several comfortable decisions to make with the ball in future game situations.
However, if you're still struggling with these moves, consider booking one of CoachUp's private trainers to help you out! Our team has tons and tons of experience that they'd love to give to you -- whether it's the popcorn or a pesky step-over, our coaches will have you playing at another level in no time. What are you waiting for?