Soccer Technique Explained: Improving Your First Touch and Control is a comprehensive guide designed to enhance soccer skills, particularly for younger players under the age of 17. This article delves into the intricacies of ball reception, control techniques, and tactical awareness, providing drills and insights for both individual and team improvement. Whether you’re looking to refine your passing, master dribbling, or lose your marker effectively, this guide offers valuable strategies and exercises to elevate your game.

Key Takeaways

  • Developing a soft first touch using various parts of the foot is fundamental for maintaining possession and preparing for subsequent plays.
  • Advanced ball control techniques, including close control dribbling and body movements, are essential for protecting the ball and creating space.
  • Tactical awareness and spatial understanding enable players to anticipate the flow of the game, make intelligent decisions, and position themselves advantageously.
  • Individual practice routines focused on ball mastery and weak foot development are crucial for building confidence and skill versatility.
  • Team drills, such as Rondo and small-sided games, reinforce passing and receiving skills while simulating real-world tactical scenarios.

Fundamentals of First Touch

Understanding the Basics of Ball Reception

To excel in soccer, mastering the first touch is crucial. It’s the foundation upon which all other skills are built. A good first touch sets you up for success, whether you’re passing, shooting, or dribbling. It’s about more than just stopping the ball; it’s about preparing for your next move. We must emphasize the importance of reception—how you receive the ball under various conditions and from different angles.

  • Keep your eyes on the ball and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Cushion the ball with the appropriate part of your foot to maintain control.
  • Adjust your body position to shield the ball or to orient it towards your next action.

By practicing these basics, we develop the ability to maintain possession and make decisive plays. Remember, the quality of your first touch can dictate the tempo of the game and your ability to navigate tight spaces.

Incorporating drills that simulate match conditions can significantly improve your first touch. For instance, having a partner pass the ball to you with varying degrees of force and from different directions helps you adapt quickly. We should also practice solo, using a correctly inflated ball and perhaps some cones to dribble through, enhancing our ball control even when we’re not on the pitch.

Exercises for Enhancing Passing Accuracy

To elevate our game, we must focus on the precision of our passes. Apart from team training, we can improve our passing skills individually, with drills specifically designed to enhance passing accuracy and strengthen our weak foot. Here are some drills that have proven effective:

  • Numbers Passing Drill: Assign numbers to players and direct passes based on these numbers to simulate game-like scenarios.
  • Long Pass Drill: Practice long-distance passing to master changing play direction and breaking through defensive lines.
  • Grid Passing Drill: Use a grid or cones to work on passing and receiving in tight spaces, boosting spatial awareness.
  • One-Touch Passing Drill: Develop quick decision-making with rapid, single-touch passes in a circle formation.

By integrating these drills into our routine, we not only sharpen our passing mechanics but also our tactical understanding of the game. The consistency of practice is key to mastering these techniques and translating them into match-winning performances.

In conclusion, enhancing our passing accuracy is not just about the number of passes we make, but the quality and strategic execution of each one. Whether we’re aiming for a short pass or a long ball, the decision-making process is crucial, especially under pressure. Let’s commit to these drills and watch as our control and movement on the field reach new heights.

Developing Soft Touch with Different Parts of the Foot

To excel in soccer, having a soft touch is crucial, and it’s something we can develop through dedicated practice. Happy feet are not just for dancing; they’re essential for balance, coordination, and quick, controlled movements on the pitch. By using different parts of the foot, we can enhance our ability to control the ball under various circumstances.

Here’s a simple routine to improve your soft touch:

  • Start with inside foot touches, focusing on gentle receptions that cushion the ball’s impact.
  • Progress to using the outside of your foot, which is vital for directional changes.
  • Incorporate the soles of your feet for stopping and starting movements.
  • Finally, practice with the laces for driving the ball forward with precision.

Remember, the key is to maintain close control and use body movements to your advantage. Feints, shimmies, and delays can deceive opponents and create space for progression.

As we continue to practice, we should aim to reduce the number of touches needed to control the ball, allowing for a more fluid and dynamic play. Close control and the correct body movements will help us maintain possession for longer and attack space effectively.

Advanced Ball Control Techniques

Mastering Close Control and Dribbling

In our journey to master close control and dribbling, we recognize that close control is the cornerstone of ball mastery. It’s essential to use all parts of the foot, from the sole to the leading edge, to maintain possession and maneuver through tight spaces. A key aspect of this is the ability to dribble galloping, keeping the ball tethered to our feet as we advance.

To enhance our dribbling skills, we follow a structured approach:

  1. Begin with dribbling unopposed to focus on ball control and footwork.
  2. Progress to dribbling past an opponent, incorporating body feints and shimmies.
  3. Engage in dribbling games that simulate match conditions.
  4. Conclude with small-sided games to apply these skills in a realistic context.

Maintaining a relaxed posture is crucial for fluid movement, allowing us to navigate out of pressure and into open space with ease. By keeping our heads up, we not only avoid obstacles but also anticipate the unfolding play, ensuring we’re always a step ahead.

Remember, it’s not just about keeping the ball close, but also knowing where to move it. Reading the situation helps us avoid collisions and ensures we’re moving the ball into space, preparing for the next phase of play.

Using Body Movements to Shield and Turn

In our quest to refine our soccer skills, we recognize the importance of body movements in both shielding the ball and executing sharp turns. Using our body effectively is crucial in protecting possession and creating space to make the next play. We must be mindful of our stance, keeping our body between the ball and the opponent, and use our arms and shoulders to maintain balance and fend off challenges.

  • The key to successful shielding is anticipation and strength. Here’s a simple routine we can practice:
    • Position ourselves between the ball and the opponent
    • Keep a low center of gravity
    • Use our arms to hold off the opponent
    • Stay on the balls of our feet to turn quickly

By mastering the art of turning with the ball, we not only retain possession but also open up new avenues for attack. It’s about making the right move at the right time, with the precision of a chess player.

Incorporating feints and shimmies into our turns can deceive defenders and give us that split second we need to break free. It’s essential to practice these movements with both feet, ensuring we’re unpredictable and can pivot in any direction. Remember, the goal is to create space and time for ourselves, enabling a pass, a shot, or a continued dribble.

Oriented Control: Preparing for the Next Move

In our pursuit of soccer excellence, we recognize that oriented control is not just about reacting to the ball, but also about proactively preparing for the next move. Keeping our heads up and eyes forward allows us to assess the field and make intelligent decisions. A relaxed posture is crucial; it enables us to move fluidly and respond to the dynamic nature of the game.

By mastering oriented control, we ensure that our first touch sets us up for success, whether that’s dribbling past an opponent or finding the best passing lane. It’s about reading the game and understanding the movements of both teammates and adversaries to exploit spaces effectively.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • Close control is essential for maintaining possession under pressure.
  • Anticipate open spaces by observing teammates’ and opponents’ positions.
  • Use body movements like shimmies and feints to create space and opportunities.

Incorporating these elements into our training routines will significantly enhance our ability to maintain possession and dictate the pace of the game.

Tactical Awareness and Spatial Understanding

Anticipating Space and Teammate Movements

In the dynamic environment of soccer, anticipating space and teammate movements is crucial for maintaining the flow of the game. We must constantly scan the field, assessing where our teammates are and where they will be. This foresight allows us to make intelligent plays, moving the ball into space before the opponent can react.

  • The players should attack the space as soon as it opens up.
  • Supporting players must read the movement of the ball carrier to create effective passing lanes.
  • Utilizing unmarking movements is key to finding open passing lines and avoiding interceptions.

By mastering the art of anticipation, we not only keep possession but also create opportunities for advancing towards the opponent’s goal. A well-timed run or pass can be the difference between a stagnant play and a scoring chance.

Remember, the aim is to help players understand the importance of scanning the field and making the right decisions. A relaxed posture and fluid movement are essential for executing these anticipatory actions effectively. Through practice, we can improve our ability to foresee and react to the ever-changing landscape of the pitch.

Decision Making: When to Dribble, Pass, or Shoot

In the heat of the game, we must make split-second decisions that can turn the tide of play. Knowing when to dribble, pass, or shoot is crucial and often comes down to reading the game and understanding our options. A relaxed posture and close control allow us to maintain possession and navigate tight spaces.

We must always be aware of our surroundings, keeping our heads up to assess the situation. This enables us to make informed decisions, whether it’s to take on an opponent 1v1 or to find a teammate in a better position.

Here are some steps to help us decide the best course of action:

  1. Assess the immediate pressure from opponents.
  2. Gauge the positioning and movement of teammates.
  3. Consider the space available and potential passing lanes.
  4. Decide if the situation favors a dribble, a pass, or a shot on goal.

By practicing these steps, we develop an instinctual understanding of the game, which helps us to make the right choice under pressure.

Improving Off-the-Ball Movement to Lose Markers

We understand that the art of losing markers is not just about the ball at your feet, but also about the intelligence of your movement off the ball. Effective off-the-ball movement is crucial in creating space and opportunities to receive the ball in advantageous positions. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Anticipation is vital. Predicting where space will open up allows you to move into it before your marker.
  • Movement should be deliberate and purposeful, with a focus on creating the most advantageous angle for receiving the ball.
  • Communication with teammates is essential to coordinate movements and ensure you’re not moving into occupied space.

By mastering off-the-ball movement, we not only make ourselves available for passes but also draw defenders away, creating space for teammates.

Incorporating these principles into our training routines can lead to significant improvements in our gameplay. It’s about being one step ahead of the opposition, both mentally and physically. Let’s practice with intent and bring these concepts to life on the pitch.

Individual Practice Routines

Solo Drills for Ball Mastery

To truly excel in soccer, we must dedicate time to perfecting our ball mastery through solo drills. Consistent practice is key to developing a touch that feels natural and controlled. We can start with simple exercises such as juggling the ball to improve our coordination and touch. As we progress, incorporating dynamic movements with the ball becomes essential, such as dribbling through cones or performing cuts and turns.

  • Juggle the ball to develop touch and coordination
  • Dribble through cones to enhance close control
  • Practice cuts and turns to simulate game situations

Mastery of the ball is not just about the number of touches, but the quality of each touch. Focusing on the precision and softness of our control will pay dividends on the pitch.

Additionally, we should not neglect the importance of using both feet. This not only makes us more unpredictable to opponents but also ensures we are comfortable receiving and playing the ball in any situation. By setting aside time each day for these drills, we build the foundation for superior technique and confidence in our abilities.

Strengthening Weak Foot Capabilities

We often overlook the importance of our weak foot in soccer, but it’s crucial for becoming a well-rounded player. Developing both feet ensures that we’re unpredictable and versatile on the pitch. To start, simple exercises like juggling can significantly improve your weak foot’s coordination and touch. Begin by using your weak foot to kick the ball up into your hands, aiming for consistency and control.

Incorporating weak foot training into your routine is essential. Here’s a basic drill sequence to enhance your weak foot skills:

  1. Perform stationary ball taps, alternating between your strong and weak foot.
  2. Progress to dribbling in a straight line, focusing on using only your weak foot.
  3. Execute passing drills against a wall, ensuring equal practice time for both feet.
  4. Challenge yourself with shooting exercises, aiming to match the power and accuracy of your strong foot.

Remember, patience and persistence are key. Your weak foot won’t become as proficient as your dominant foot overnight, but with dedicated practice, you’ll see significant improvements.

By dedicating time to these drills and maintaining a consistent practice schedule, we can enhance our weak foot’s explosive strength and mobility, ultimately increasing our scoring chances and control on the field.

Incorporating Feints and Delays into Solo Training

In our journey to soccer mastery, we recognize the importance of unpredictability. Feints and delays are crucial in outsmarting opponents, and incorporating them into solo training can significantly enhance our game intelligence. To begin, we should focus on the mechanics of feinting movements and the timing of delays.

  • Start with basic feinting drills, such as step-overs or body swerves, without the ball.
  • Progress to executing these feints with the ball at your feet, adding directional changes.
  • Introduce delays by varying the rhythm of your dribbling, pausing briefly before accelerating.

By consistently practicing these techniques, we develop the ability to deceive defenders and create space for ourselves on the pitch. It’s not just about the physical execution but also the mental sharpness to know when to employ these tactics.

Remember to vary your training to challenge both feet equally. Here’s a simple progression to follow:

  1. Perform two sequences with the right foot and two with the left foot.
  2. Use the outside of the foot for dribbling in the next set.
  3. Feint to go one direction but dribble in the opposite direction instead.

This progression ensures that we’re not only improving our technical skills but also our adaptability and decision-making under pressure.

Team Drills for Cohesive Play

Rondo: Enhancing Passing and Receiving in Tight Spaces

The Rondo drill is a cornerstone of soccer training, designed to improve passing and receiving skills in tight spaces. We focus on quick ball movement and sharp communication to maintain possession under pressure. This exercise not only hones technical abilities but also enhances players’ spatial awareness and decision-making.

To set up a Rondo, create a square of 5-8 x 5-8 meters using cones. We typically use six players for each square: four act as external possession players and two as internal opponents. The objective is to maintain possession with good communication and precise timing.

Here are some key points to remember during a Rondo session:

  • Maintain a relaxed posture for fluid movement
  • Anticipate the play to avoid collisions and move the ball into space
  • Utilize close control and quick decision-making

In a Rondo, it’s not just about keeping the ball, but also about understanding where and when to move it to outplay the opponents.

By integrating these drills into our training sessions, we can see significant improvements in our team’s ability to control the game in crowded areas of the pitch.

2v1 Situations: Combining Movement and Technique

In 2v1 situations, we focus on the dynamic interplay between movement and technique to gain an advantage over the defender. The key is to create numerical superiority, which allows for more options in attack. By training offensive players on unmarking for finalization, we enhance their ability to lose their marker and open up opportunities for finishing.

  • Start with the attackers positioned on either side of the defender.
  • The player with the ball must decide whether to pass or dribble based on the defender’s position.
  • The off-the-ball attacker should make runs to create space and provide passing options.

The success of a 2v1 drill hinges on the attackers’ ability to read the game and make quick decisions. It’s not just about technical skill; it’s about understanding when to exploit the space and when to engage the defender.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to simulate real-game scenarios where quick thinking and fluid movement lead to successful outcomes. Practice these drills regularly to see a marked improvement in how your team handles numerical advantages during matches.

Small-Sided Games for Real-World Application

In our training sessions, we emphasize the importance of small-sided games to simulate real match conditions. These games are crucial for developing tactical awareness and decision-making skills under pressure. Small-sided games force players to think and act quickly, enhancing their ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of a real game.

  • Support Play: By reducing the number of players, each individual is more involved in the game, which improves their support play and ball possession skills.
  • Creating Space: Players learn to create and exploit space effectively, even with limited ball touches.
  • Real Game Conditions: Incorporating specific body movements, feints, and shimmies helps players replicate and respond to the challenges they will face in competitive matches.

By consistently integrating small-sided games into our practice routines, we ensure that our players are not just technically proficient, but also tactically astute and ready for the unpredictability of match play.

Remember, it’s not just about training speed with the soccer ball. We must also focus on the cognitive aspects of the game, which are often developed through these condensed, high-intensity scenarios.


Mastering first touch and control in soccer is an essential skill set that can significantly elevate a player’s game. Throughout this article, we’ve explored various techniques and drills that can help players of all ages, particularly those under 17, to enhance their ball control, dribbling, and passing abilities. By incorporating exercises such as close control dribbling, one-touch passing, and using all parts of the foot, players can develop the agility and quick thinking needed to maintain possession and outmaneuver opponents. Remember, consistent practice, whether in team sessions or individual drills, is key to improvement. Keep your head up, anticipate the play, and attack the space with confidence. With dedication and the right guidance, any player can refine their soccer technique and contribute more effectively to their team’s success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soccer Rondo and how can it help improve my first touch?

Soccer Rondo is a practice exercise focusing on enhancing passing and receiving in tight spaces, which can significantly improve your first touch and control under pressure.

How can I work on improving my close control and dribbling skills?

You can improve your close control and dribbling by practicing with various parts of your feet, using body movements to evade opponents, and engaging in exercises that promote quick decision-making and space anticipation.

What are some effective individual drills for ball mastery?

Effective individual drills include practicing Cruyff turns, flicking the ball into the air and controlling it with different parts of the foot, and various dribbling exercises to enhance ball control and confidence.

How can I strengthen my weak foot capabilities?

To strengthen your weak foot, engage in targeted exercises such as passing drills, shooting with your weak foot, and performing turns and feints to become more comfortable using both feet.

What tactical awareness should I have to improve my first touch?

Tactical awareness involves anticipating space and teammate movements, deciding when to dribble, pass, or shoot, and improving off-the-ball movement to create opportunities and lose markers.

Can you suggest team drills that simulate real-world soccer situations?

Team drills that simulate real-world situations include Rondo exercises, 2v1 situations to combine movement and technique, and small-sided games that encourage quick thinking and application of skills in a game-like setting.

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