In order to improve at anything, you have to be committed to putting in the necessary work. This article will help you to improve your technical abili
In order to improve at anything, you have to be committed to putting in the necessary work. This article will help you to improve your technical abilities if you’re willing to practice hard. Arguably the most important attribute of a soccer player is their ball control. Good ball control is the foundation that all other skills are built off of. Here are some simple drills you can do to improve your ball control.
You may not see the connection between juggling and soccer skills, after all, juggling is not something you can break into during a game. However, by juggling you are training your legs to react to the way the ball moves through the air. Ball control is all about developing comfort and familiarity with a ball at your feet, and juggling is one of the best ways to achieve that.
If you need some inspiration on things to practice that are fun and are sure to help you improve, check out these videos of 3 of the best ever players at ball control: Maradona, Zidane, & Ibrahimovic. Now go try to do what you see!
Dribbling means running with the ball on the ground between your feet. Many players overlook this skill, but it is absolutely essential to becoming an all around player. You must practice dribbling with all surfaces of your foot (inside, outside, bottom of foot) at your top speed. Change directions, change your pace, practice some moves. Become a master dribbler by doing the things that you find hard over and over and over again until they are not so hard any more. Our favorite dribbling drill is placing cones 30 yards apart, starting at one cone and seeing if you can sprint with the ball while taking 100 touches before you get to the other cone. It is one thing to be able to control the ball while running, and it is another to be able to control the ball at pace.
Another dribbling drill you can try is sprinting as fast as you can towards an obstacle (another person, a cone, another ball) and getting as close as possible to the obstacle before cutting/changing directions. It is absolutely essential that the change of direction is accompanied by a quick change of pace. This is what allows you get away from defenders on the field.
Imagine a ball hitting a brick wall and a ball hitting a loose blanket. When it hits the brick wall, it is going to rebound very far away, but when it hits a loose blanket, it will stop nicely. Receiving the ball is the skill of making your body like the blanket. You want the ball to stop dead on your command.
Practice kicking the ball high up in the air and controlling it down or “trapping” it out of the air with the different parts of your body (chest, thighs, inside foot, outside foot, bottom of foot). Concentrate on the contact your body is making with the ball. Don’t be rigid, allow your body to cushion the ball out of the air. Kick the ball hard and low against a wall and practice stopping it with the different parts of your foot. To stop it effectively, you want to practice chopping down on the ball at the exact right moment. Many people do this motion without even realizing it. Just by bringing a certain level of awareness to the way you receive the ball you will see that your ability to control it will change dramatically. Concentrate on your contact with the ball.
Hopefully this overview of ways you can improve your ball control is helpful. Let us know in the comments if you want to know more specific drill ideas, or if you would like to see articles like this in the future.