A quick release is something every player needs, as long as it’s not from panic. Some players get rid of the ball because they are not comfortable with it. On the contrary other players keep it too long either because they ball hog or they have slow speed of play. The longer a player keeps the ball, the greater chance of losing it. Of course there are times when you need to keep the ball and let the play develop. Other times dribbling is just the best option. Being unpredictable is what you want. This keeps the defender wondering what you’re going to do. Below you’ll learn how to improve in this area of releasing the ball at the right times and how to improve.
Speed of play calls for a quick release
Speed of play is not running fast, it’s moving the ball fast [releasing the ball fast]. There is a lot of confusion for the parents and players who are told that their kids need to improve speed of play. Coaches are so busy and it’s hard to communicate all this to the parents of the athletes – all of whom have their own learning styles.
One touch passes are most of the time going to be the fastest way to play. Two touch can be faster, all depending on how much weight is put on the pass, whether 1 or 2 touch.
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Improving your game with vision
There are different ways to train and learn about vision to help players release the ball faster. Some players are blessed with the natural vision or IQ to see and know what to look for but one technique players can learn and train themselves to do is keep their chin up. If players can trap & dribble with their chin up they increase their vision of the field.
Most players at all levels dribble & trap with their chin down which limits their vision. If you stand up now and look down at your feet you will notice you can’t see more than 5 yards in front of you, but if you put your chin up away from your neck than you can see your feet and what’s in front of you more than 20+ yards. This will help players know what to do with the ball and release it sooner.
Know what to do with the ball before you get it
There are several approaches that come to mind when talking about how to help players with soccer IQ. You want to know what to do with the ball before you get it. Just know it’s impossible to know every time. It’s not that you always want to have a quick release either. Like I said before, you want to mix things up.
Look all behind and to the side of you before you get the ball. You can also call this scanning. This way you know who is open and who is in a good position to make the next play. I tell my trainees that sometimes you won’t have time to scan before receiving the ball. There are times when the ball comes to you when you least expect it. Example, if a player on the other team loses the ball when they shouldn’t have and gives it up to you, then the chance that you already have looked up is low.
Know the golden spots of the field
To release the ball even if nobody is open this will help. The corners of the field are great targets for players to ‘dump’ a ball in because the goalie usually won’t go get it this far out of their box. Also, if the defender is able to get to the ball, it’s not easy to turn up field under pressure.
Most goals are scored from the other team making a mistake, not your team making 5+ passes down the field and scoring. So I don’t say this to tell players to just play long ball or ‘kick ball’ because I really am against long ball game as it is not soccer, it’s kickball. But there are times a team or player has to do it. If you’re under pressure with no one open it’s probably best to play the long ball.
Know who and what you are playing against
If you are playing a team that plays a formation of 3-4-3 (3 defenders – 4 mids – 3 forwards) then your defenders are under pressure more than if the opposing team plays a 4-4-2, which means (4 defenders – 4 mids – 2 forwards). The 3-4-3 would mean they have more forwards to put pressure on your defense but it also means they have one less defender on the other end so if you play long balls against that formation your own forwards will be happy and have more chances on goal.
One thing that is funny but true and you want to remember to tell kids is that before the game starts, the players need to know who the worst technical defender is on the other team. The reason is the times you need to play the long ball, play it to the worst technical defender’s side because they will most likely give it back to your team on their end of the field which means your team will get more chances to score. 🙂Without a positive 1st touch you can throw vision out the window. - Jeremie PietteClick To Tweet
Positive first touch
Without a 1st touch you can throw vision out the window, so this is the most important part of the article. Positive touch doesn’t just mean a good soft touch. Yes, most of the time this is most important, but there are times when the first touch needs to be big and away. Like when there is a slower defender right on you with lots of space.
A positive first touch can mean this. 1) Away from the closest defender or 2) into space. These two options will put you in a better situation and away from pressure. Players that have a good first touch will have more freedom in the game. A quick release will help break down your opponents.
Training on your own away from team practice
The best way to improve on this is practicing on your technical game. Book private or private group lessons with me. Some players drive or fly in from out of state. You can also get my online courses which players say is different from what they learn from their coach. The ball control courses are a one time buy, giving you everything you need to improve the right way.
Most players I see at local parks are really just wasting time. They are not using the time in a way that will improve their mechanics and technique. Scrimmaging and just shooting on goal is fun, but if players would just spend 10- 20 mins of that time doing quality training they would benefit more. Then they will not only have fun, but improve in that day or over time faster.
2 second rule regarding a quick release
Something I have studied to become a better skills coach is to teach players to have a ‘2 second release’. I have implemented this into my training sessions for certain players. This is something I learned years ago by wanting to improve my training knowledge to help the GFT players.
Before the 2010 World Cup I made a commitment to learn what the best players did when they received the ball. I wanted to know the how long they kept the ball on average. The ones that had a smooth and quick release were the ones who had a great first touch. It was the players who were comfortable, not having to touch the ball immediately after their first touch.
Watching the highest level World Cup & European top clubs you can learn what the best do. At this level you will notice even when there is no pressure you will see top players and teams release the ball within 2 seconds or less. If you watch pro futbol you’ll notice that some teams are able to make 10+ passes without losing the ball. If players are able to receive and quickly release the ball within 2 seconds, while in a good position to receive, they will not lose the ball. By doing this, players are able to get a good pass off to another player in good position.
Most important reasons to have a quick release
So the point of this is that in order to have a quick release, players need to know who & what they are playing against. Also what to do with the ball even before they get it. The most important thing of all is your first touch has to be good. This is not easy and most youth players NEVER get to this level of thinking unless they are taught. The desire to learn mixed with the teaching leads to a huge advantage.
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