Please let me start this article with a word of advisement: Chesting the ball is very important to teach at a young age. Youth soccer players need to be introduced to these skills young. They don’t have to be great right away, but let them at least know. I think using the chest is an excellent alternative to heading for possession reasons alone (which I will explore further in the article below & in this article, head vs chest). Players and parents to learn these 20 tips on how to head the ball because there are times you can’t chest it.
Chest trap is a big part of the soccer game
Youth and adult players can do this to keep possession of the ball number one. Some athletes will head the ball away, instead of keeping it. Using the chest is the best way to trap the ball when it’s that high in the air.
However, many players don’t know how to chest the ball properly. It’s important to find a good trainer/coach who will teach proper placement for chesting the ball. Below are 3 additional trap styles every player ages 10+ should know.
Chesting the ball: 3 styles you should know
- Chest the ball up high so that you can have that extra time to regain your balance, look up & decide where to go with the ball next.
- Chest the ball back down to the ground if there is defender coming to put pressure on you. Also, if you need to get the ball back down to your feet to get a shot or pass it off right away, chesting the ball downward will make this happen quickly and you’ll have total control and vision on the ball.
- Redirect the ball by turning your body so that you can go a different direction from where you first were facing.
You may have seen players who try to trap the ball from mid-air and play with their arms at their sides. This is not only poor form and control but the chances of a hand ball are higher from the likelihood the ball will hit your arm.
Chesting the ball is good for all positions, even goalies. People don’t think about the many ways that the chest is used in a game. If teammates pass the ball you can’t catch from your own team, so sometimes keepers [goalies] have to chest trap as well.
Here are 5 advanced players drills for trapping that often get overlooked. These moves gets bypassed when it is more appropriate for young players who take unnecessary headers when they could chest the ball instead.
Obviously these techniques would be more appropriate as you can have better control using these 5 turns.
Training tip for chesting the ball
Jumping and chesting the ball is more of a challenge to master as a skill. For example, what if the ball is coming at your face? You have to jump! However, young players are often not taught the proper way to jump, head or return to the ground.
Something that doesn’t get discussed often, due to its sensitive nature but is important, is the use of chesting the ball by young girls. Especially as they go through physical development stages. Ages 11-17 will be hesitant. This is one reason why kids ages 9-10 need to be introduced to it.
One of the best ways is by teaching them to run through the ball. One drill I do is have the player next to me. I will throw the ball straight up and let it bounce. Once it bounces and goes back up the player will then “run through the ball using their chest. This doesn’t hurt them or intimidate them like a ball that’s tossed to them from a different angle. Learn 3 tips for using the chest trap.
Different parts of the chest to use
What most trainers don’t know or teach is the different and specific parts to the chest that change the direction of the game. This is dependent on mechanics, NOT physical development. I will go into these different methods in my next blog post. Remember you can always find the search bar below and find what you specifically need.
We see this example in professional level play quite often. The best goal in a recent World Cup was by James Rodriguez of Columbia. After chesting the ball up and turning he hit a full volley that went upper 90. The goal was behind him; James did a 180-degree turn all in one smooth motion and volleyed the ball into the goal. WOW!
Get proper knowledge about the proper way to head and how to use the chest as an alternative. I’ll be doing a mini-series on this over the coming weeks on the blog & you can also see practical training and examples in my video course as well.