Anyone who plays soccer would love to be able to juggle like street pros, dribble like Messi, and – as the old saying goes – bend it like Beckham. It takes a precise level of ball control anyone would kill to have in their game or just when kicking the ball around with their friends. It’s not exactly easy to do this, but you can build your skills through practicing and playing every day. The good news is that Coachable.com.au has put together some great tips for improving ball control you can implement right now.
Juggling will no doubt improve your ability to play ball. It gives you a great relationship with the football, allowing you to react to it naturally and easily. Try juggling the ball using solid touches. You need to pay attention to where your foot connects with the ball. Extend your foot and keep it pointed, and aim to hit the ball as close to your ankle or laces as possible. The ball is more likely to go awry if it hits closer to your toes. It’s also good to connect with the ball when it’s off the ground, so that the ball has as little spin as possible.
Some players aim to juggle the ball closer to the ground by bending their knee and flexing their foot; connecting with the ball closer to the tips of their toes. What matters is finding the technique that works best for you. Start out by juggling the ball with your foot extended, connecting to the ball with your laces high off the ground. This makes you hit that “sweet-spot” on the foot every time you connect with the ball.
Hitting the sweet spot should make the strike feel effortless. You won’t even need to swing the leg much. All you have to do is slowly place your foot under the ball and aim for the sweet-spot. With the proper technique, the ball should “pop” off your foot effortlessly with a thumping sound.
Quickness and Agility Drills
Other great ways to improve footwork are ladder drills and hurdles. Remember that the modern soccer player needs to be a prime athlete. This improving can improve hand-eye coordination, your reaction speed, and boost your overall athleticism. While you won’t actually use the ball with these exercises, you’ll improve your speed allowing you to work faster. Don’t neglect this aspect of the training process. If you want to be a magician on the pitch, then you have to have feet that can pull off magic!
Keep the Ball Close as You Dribble
As you perform dribbling exercises, you must keep the ball close without touching it for too long. That way you’re in a better position to quickly change your direction if you have to. Use the long-touches to quickly move past defenders. Before pushing forward like this, you should use small and controlled touches to keep the ball close to you, letting you fake one way before pushing to the other. This is when the longer touches come in and allow you to speed towards the net.
Measure the Steps You Take
Practice really does make perfect. When moving to take a penalty kick, stand level with the ball, take seven steps backwards, then take four steps left or right. You should keep your steps natural and measured to give yourself a consistent distance for your approach. Take a deep breath before walking towards the ball; stepping off on your right foot. Begin running when you reach the fourth step and hit the ball in the same way each and every time. Don’t forget to practice until you get the pattern that works best for you, then keep practicing to perfect it.
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