Why are ball control practices so important for young players? There is an old saying that "first touch is everything."
What does this mean?
When the player first receives the soccer ball their control or first touch must be very good, so they can look up without worrying about the soccer ball, allowing them to make the next decision to pass, dribble or shoot the soccer ball.
The players must be able to use different surfaces to control the soccer ball such as the sole of the foot, inside and outside of the foot, as well as controlling the soccer ball from different angles and speeds.
The soccer coach can warm up the players with juggling, 1 on 1 soccer skills and combining skill work with warm ups before going into the meat of the soccer practice.
Once the players are warmed up the coach can go into working on trapping the ball with the different surfaces.
The players start out by throwing the ball into the air and trapping the ball with sole of the foot.
I love watching players master this skill - very effective!
The players use the inside foot sweep to bring the ball down.
Play this fun game...
See how many inside foot sweeps the players can get in 1 min.
The players use the outside of the foot to get away from an opponent.
Play this game...
The players can see how many outside foot sweeps they can get in 1 minute.
Coaching point: The players will rush the soccer skills to get points, so remind them to concentrate on good technique.
The coach should not give points for bad technique.
The players now combine all the skills to see if they can use any of the three traps, sole, inside or outside in 1 minute.
Add a soccer moves...
The coach should have the players do their favorite traps like a sole, inside or outside trap, once they get the soccer ball on the ground they use a move like a step over, cut or pull back.
Once the players have done the move they accelerate away. If the kids are really good then the coach can add a second move.
Finish the soccer practice with 3v3 or 4v4 games. The soccer coach has been trapping balls out of the air - there is no way to replicate this unless the ball bounces up in the small sided games - so don't worry about this, it happens naturally.