Okay guys, this puts us half way through the 8 article series of best ways to work on your first touch. This topic today is about advanced soccer drills to improve your passing and first touch. These drills are great for defenders starting the attack out of the back. Midfielders for switching the field from right to left and left to right. Also for forwards who can receive with their back to goal, turn and shoot. It’s important to work on skills that you will actually do in a game. This means being clean with the ball at your feet when receiving and passing.
Most soccer players are better going one way
Most players are better at going one way on the soccer pitch, even advanced soccer players. Often times a right footed player is better at passing to his/her left. The reason is the same reason coaches often times put right footed players on the right. So that they can cross the soccer ball from the outside to the middle. This means the ball is going from right to left. This is because a player can trap the ball with the inside of the strong foot, which is going to be most comfortable for any player. A right footed player getting the ball and then passing to the right take more skill &/or time. A right footed player can more easily pass a ball and get that natural bend/curve to the left.
Advice from professional soccer/football manager
I remember getting some feedback from one of my managers while I was playing pro… I was currently on contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps but in my off-season I went to play for the Caribbean & Jamaican Champions, Portmore United. This was the CONCACAF Club Championship where there was only 1 team from the Caribbean, the 2 best MLS teams, 4 best Mexican teams & 3 best Central American teams.
My football manager in Jamaica (JFF Vice President)
My manager was Horace Reed, who was also the Vice President for the Jamaican Football Federation. Mr. Reed was the one who organized matches to play against England, Columbia, USA or whoever it would be. He was, and is to this day one, of my favorite soccer mentors because he was so disciplined and intelligent about the game.
I was with the club for 3 months during the Winter break in America. During a game out of the country in Curacao, I got turf toe & was having some pain in my knee. This was when I was playing a lot and needed to take a rest from playing. I was set to return to my other club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, to get healthy for the next season.
I asked Mr. Reed what I need to do to improve my game. He told me that I needed to improve on my attack out of the back going left to right. This was something nobody had ever told me and I was shocked to hear something so unique and well assessed. I knew I didn’t need to work on any special advanced soccer drills, but I did know I needed to work on the “simple” things. First touch and precisions passing under pressure. Being able to switch the field is what players need to be working on. Using both feet and going both ways, different ways.
Moving the ball to switch the field
Moving the ball left-to-right or right-to-left is how you switch the field. For most players, having to trap and pass or dribble is not easy to do going both sides. As a pro I needed to improve receiving from the left and then passing to the right. As a right footed center back, receiving the ball from the left side you want to trap with your right foot. Then your top 2 options are to either take 3 steps and pass with your left. Or take extra steps and time to open up and pass with your right. When the tempo needs to be high you need to release the ball within 1-2 seconds. This is why working on moving side to side, left and right is vital for soccer players. This makes you better at your all-around game.
Try to balance your strengths and weaknesses best you can
I have seen many players who struggle to receive or pass the ball moving to a certain one side and that is, of course, the weak foot side. Many players don’t like to work on what they are not good at. It’s important that they not only perform the drills, but also understand that it gets better both weak & strong foot. Some personalities have a hard time when something is difficult or challenging. Then you have some that are fueled by the more challenging drills.
5 advanced soccer drills
Let me share the advanced soccer drills I like to work on with the players who are at a higher level, which means the players who can do the stationary drills easy. In these drills, imagine we have 3 cones or training sticks where the player has to receive and pass the ball on the outside of the ‘triangle’ (cones/sticks). Sometimes advanced soccer drills mean they are for players needing to perfect a certain simple but important skill.
- 2 Touch Trap with the left and pass with the right, taking 3 steps between touches. Vice Versa. (All touches with the inside of the foot)
- 2 Touch Redirecting the ball. Trap with your back foot, take 3 steps and pass with other foot. You need 2 walls/rebounders or 2 partners.
- 2 Touch Redirecting the ball. Trap with your back foot, opening up and passing with the same foot you trapped with. You need 2 walls/rebounders or partners.
- Use 2-3 Touch Balls coming at you in the air using whatever part of the body to control the ball and then pass back to your partner.
- Controlling a long ball over your head, using the foot to settle the ball. Using the top, inside or outside of the foot. Practice with a partner 5-10 yards apart.
Establish good control with the soccer ball
In the game of soccer you have to run all around the field and you can’t control where the ball is going to come to you. We have to be good at controlling it whether we are running to the left, right, forward or backwards. Also jumping up for a ball or controlling a bouncing ball at your knees.
You see inexperienced players trap with their shins. Instead you need to lift your foot up and controlling with the inside of the foot or sometimes the top or bottom. All of this takes lots of practice and no matter how good you become you have to want to improve more! To become an advanced soccer player you have to spend hours and hours of time with the ball. You have to work on your own, don’t expect to improve like you can only going to your team practices.
Always be critical of your own soccer game
Controlling the ball with both feet, all parts of the body and able to solve tough problems on the field are always a work in progress. Even for advanced soccer players to keep improving year after year you have to be critical of yourself. Not so that you are always putting your talent down, or saying something every time you mess up. Instead just know when you are not playing great football/soccer and want to improve it. Understand that there are going to be good days and bad days. You have what it takes to get what you want, just keep learning and working hard.
The desire to improve as a footballer
You have to change your lifestyle at any age to be an advanced soccer player. Whether it’s a young kid age 7 years old or if it’s a high school, college or adult soccer player. To improve you have to work hard at every part of your game. Not just your weaknesses, but also improve on your strengths. Ask your coach, parent or friend how they think you can improve your game.