I still remember training on my own during the off-seasons of my college and pro seasons. The fitness was the easy part in terms of what to do, but the skill work was the challenge. When it comes to fitness you mix the short sprint day with the longer distance days. When it comes to skill work, it’s hard to remember what to do once you’re out there. Unfortunately too many soccer players end up spending too much time on tricks, instead of the right training. Below I have different videos for you to practice passing and first touch wall drills. All you need is a ball and a wall. Check out the free videos below. Take the ideas and adapt how you want.
Checking to and away from the ball
In one drill you can work on both checking to and away (from). I love stationary because you can get a lot of passes, but we also have to be good at trapping the ball when we are running to. Also called (checking to) and then back peddling (checking away). In a game you will need to do everything. Stationary, moving right, left, forwards and backwards.
When working on your passing and first touch, you’ll notice that it’s easier to do stationary. I do more stationary with players than anything, because more quality reps equals faster improvement. To improve you want to work a lot on the easier drills, but for more advanced players you need to mix it up. Once players can do the stationary 90% clean, it’s time to add in the movements. This way you are prepared for every situation.
With pro players or skillful youth players, you want to make sure they can do these skills when tired. So working on the drills with lots of fast movements is beneficial. You’ll see some of the best players struggle at basic skills when they are tired. So if you’re skills are already very good, make sure you can do it when your muscles are fatigued. To do this you could work on 1 minute of sprints and then do the skill work. This helps you learn to control the ball when tired.
Using 2 walls doubles up your skills
The video below is one of my favorite ways for soccer players to improve their passing and first touch. Changing the field means receiving the ball from one side of the field and then passing it to the other side. This is called change or switch the field. Imagine you are in the game, playing center mid, center back or wing.
This 2 wall drill will help you in game situations in so many ways. You might be a midfielder receiving the ball from the defenders and playing it up to the forwards. Also for central players who receive the ball from one side of the field and pass to the other side.
This drill below below using 2 walls or rebounders is great. Players need to be good at receiving the ball from one side and then passing to the other. Passing and first touch are by far 2 of the most important skills you can have. Make sure you are working on the right training, not just any training.
Two touch passing drill using both feet
Trap with one foot, take 3 steps and then pass with opposite foot. Once players get the passing and first touch decent, the steps are usually the hardest part. The 3+ steps between touches are what nobody’s talking about, but are so IMPORTANT. Try and take 3 steps between touches, but there will be times you need to take more. Sometimes your touch will be too far away, so you can take the extra needed steps. Other times your touch will be too soft, making you take smaller more awkward steps.
During the times when your touch is not the best, you will still benefit. Here’s how: In the game, your touch will be too far away or too close. During these times, you’ll have to make it work. So in training when you take the bad touches it’s okay, you’ll be used to it on game day.
3 small space passing drills using a wall
- One touch passing from 2 yards away from a wall and work only on your strong foot., 20-30 passes. Then get your weaker foot. Notice in the video below I am taking 1 step down after each pass.
- One touch passing alternating left and right foot every pass. Get 3 yards away from the wall. Take 3 steps between each pass. Your main focus is to be smooth, not fast. Once you are smooth you can also work on going faster. But even going slow and smooth would be fast enough! This gives you time to look up and see where your teammates are, as well as the defenders.
- Two touches: 2-3 yards from the wall. Trapping and passing only using your strong foot, 20-30 passes. Then work on the weaker foot. You might want to take more time between your trap and pass. Maybe just an extra second or so. This will help you focus on getting your form clean and correct. Too many players go too fast when working on certain skills. If you watch pro players, you’ll notice they aren’t going super fast, instead are very clean technically.
5 ways to volley off the wall
1) Inside of the foot is for sure one you want to practice. When using the inside of the foot make sure your toes are up not down. Letting the ball bounce once or twice is easier, while no bounce is more challenging.
2) Laces is another one to practice. Some players will be better at one or the other. Players are usually naturally better at one, but you can become great at both.
3) Outside of the laces. It’s not easy and if you’ve never done it, you might not be able to get it right. So if you’re local book private lessons with me and we will get after it. Some players fly and drive in from other states to do 5-6 hours of training in 2 days. If this isn’t an option feel free to email me from the website and I will do my best to help you.
4) inside of the foot no bounce. The first minute or two might be difficult, so be patient and keep working on it. My trainees often struggle at the beginning and after a few minutes, they look like different players. I’d say if you can get 7 or 8 in a row off the wall it’s good. Just the other day one of my trainees couldn’t get 4 and then after a few minutes, she was getting 12.
5) Two touches minimum, any way you want. You will see the player below doing thigh to foot, but you could do foot to foot or take three or four touches. Let it just come to you, but then you can also plan certain ways. The idea as that with all these different ways, you’ll have better prepared yourself.
Different ways to work on passing and first touch
You also want to mix up your training with just using whatever comes to mind. Trapping with the inside, bottom and outside of the foot. Keeping the ball on your right or then left, as well as transferring it from one foot to the other.
Work on your passing and first touch in different distances. I like working 3 yards from the wall because it gives you lots of passes and helps your reaction/quickness. Then get 10-15 yards and 20+ yards away. We want to be good at passing different distances as well as trapping the ball.
If you dare to work on the wall at a longer distance of 20+ yards make sure you are thinking positive. If you don’t start off doing good, don’t give up. Keep going and you will improve. A lot of the time it is like riding a bike. At first it’s difficult, but once it clicks you’re good to go.
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