"How to teach young players
to use the thigh trap in
youth soccer"

What is the key to getting the players to use the thigh trap in youth soccer?

Repetition is the key to getting this soccer skill down...and there are a number of ways to do it, but before we get into the specifics check out this quick video for a live look and some tips on the trap.

How do we introduce the trap to the kids?

What are the basics of learning thigh control?

How do we tell if we should use the thigh to trap the soccer ball? A lot of this is up to the player and how comfortable they are using the different surfaces.

The thigh trap is more for a ball that has popped up slightly off the ground, another player or a ball coming in about waist high.

  • When the ball is coming in the player will raise the leg slightly and cushion the soccer ball on the thigh.
  • The player should not raise the leg up to fast because the ball will bounce away - just slightly.
  • The player should not use the knee because the ball will bounce away.
  • The ball should fall nicely to the players feet so the player can make the next move.

The way that I teach players is I explain the difference between the knee and the thigh - the thigh has a big surface where the player can cushion the soccer ball.


U6 players - teaching players the trap.

  • Each player will get their own individual soccer ball.
  • The players throw the soccer ball up to themselves.
  • The player then traps the ball on their thigh and catches the soccer ball.
  • Repeat the exercise 20- 30 times so the kids get the feel for the skill.

Variation: Have the players play the ball up with the instep and trap the soccer ball on the thigh.

Game: Play a 1 min game - trap and catch - see how many traps the players can get in a min with out the soccer ball hitting the knee or bouncing away. You can mix this skill in with chest traps, and foot traps to make it more economical.

U8 - U10 players - teaching players thigh control.

  • Player "A" will serve the soccer ball to player "B" with an underhand throw.
  • Player "B" will then trap the ball with the thigh.
  • Once the ball falls to the ground player "B" can trap the soccer ball and pass the ball back.
  • Repeat the exercise

Add the thigh trap to your soccer practice plans or exercises.


Circle exercise

Equipment: cones and scrimmage vests

Game: The coach forms a circle with the cones and has half the players go into the circle and half the players on the outside with a soccer ball.

  • The Players in the middle run and find an open player on the outside of the circle.
  • Players on the outside serve the soccer ball from their hands with and underhand throw.
  • Player in the middle traps the ball using the thigh trap - brings the ball down to the ground using the sole of the foot or laces and passes the ball back to the server.
  • The player moves off to find another server.

The beauty about this game is the coach can add different skills to the game like passing, volleys, chest control or even turning and dribbling.

Practice makes perfect - no, perfect practice makes perfect...

Check out this video for a great example of the trap.


 Return to Soccer skills from the Thigh trap

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