Have you ever wished you could start something over? I love my life, but if I could start over at 15 years old I would do these drills over and over. There’s a saying “If I knew then what I know now” that is so true in life. Of all the soccer skills training drills, turning while receiving is a top 5 you should do. It’s just not something you see players practicing on their own. In a soccer match, the players who can change/switch the field smoothly are unique. Coaches love this type of player because they help the team keep possession of the ball. It’s a skill that for most takes a lot of time to become smooth at.
Turning while receiving for all ages and positions
Like many skills, there are different ways to practice and control the ball. When turning while receiving, you’ll need to have a number of ways. This way you give yourself more options in different situations. Turning while receiving helps with real game situations. Some turning techniques help you to play faster (speed of play explained) by playing where you’re facing. Other ways help get your out of tight pressure situations. It’s important to practice both turning with no pressure (having time) and turning with pressure. By pressure in this case, I mean with a defender within arms reach.
Some people would say just let the kids play and give them freedom. Freedom for players is great and needed, but you also have to force certain techniques. This teaches the players muscle memory properly. I believe that you introduce many ways to set this in their brains. Some players will implement this immediately in a game situation. Others might not use it for a few years. The worst thing that can happen is if the kids never learn it. Turning while receiving is by are one of the best soccer skills to teach and learn.
How your receive depends on the situation
Below I have different ways for you to practice your passing and turning while receiving. If you practice different ways, especially clean technical ways, you’ll be able to solve many problems in your matches. You want to be good at receiving every way. Get used to trapping with the sole, outside, inside and with both feet. When under pressure, remember you can use your arms and hands to shield.
Most high school ages and under freak out under pressure. They feel this pressure in games and are used to getting rid of the ball sometimes too fast. So I recommend players watch pro soccer and notice how they receive the ball. Pro soccer looks easy because they are so good at first touch and passing. For these reasons they don’t get the constant pressure in the defensive half. So get used to trapping the ball, looking up and then passing. You can do all this in 2 seconds time. You don’t want to practice receiving the ball, never look up and passing just to pass. Calm down, become smooth and then work on speed.
Receiving with your back foot passing with opposite
I’m telling you when I or coaches see players do this smooth, we know you are trained. I’ve seen a lot of good soccer players, who had the athletic ability, desire and discipline. That’s different from knowing what to keep practicing and becoming smooth.
There are 4 main things to focus on in this drill. #1 the first touch needs to be good. Not too big and not too soft. #2 opening up the body so that the ball doesn’t go back where it came from. #3 learn to take the 3 steps between trapping and passing the ball. This will be the hardest thing to get used to. #4 is a good pass which will be easy if you can do the first three things.
Receiving with back foot and pass with the same foot
Are you a center mid or center back? If the ball comes to you from the left side, you would open up the body before you trap it. Meaning as the ball is coming to you, turn (open) your body to face where you want to go. Once the ball comes across your body, you will trap with the inside of your back foot. In this situation the back foot is your right foot, since the ball is coming from the left. If you open up enough the ball will go to your right side, ready to pass. In this case we would use the right foot. If the ball didn’t get across to the right, you could just adjust and use your left to pass.
[Center mid] training for soccer player
Center mids are usually the most creative and technical players. They need to be good with the ball and see the field. Often times you’ll hear soccer coaches tell their players to get the ball wide. Center mids are the like the quarterback or point guard in football and basketball. The play goes through them a lot or at least it should. Teams that play “kick ball” don’t use their center mids. Teams that possess the ball and play soccer like it should, do play through the center mids.
Of all the positions, the center mid position probably have the hardest job in terms of thinking. They have to be aware of what’s in front, behind and to the sides of them. If the right mid or right back plays the ball to the center mid, they have many choices. They can play back to the player which can be great. If they can also open up and switch the ball to the other side, they help their team.
Turning while receiving is what will set you apart in soccer. It helps you to see the field and have more options quickly. This means you have a higher chance to keep the ball instead of losing it.
[Center back] training for soccer player
Central defenders play a similar role to center mids. They both need to switch the ball from one side to the next. Therefore turning while receiving is a skill defenders should always work to improve in. The biggest difference is center backs usually don’t have the same pressure. In a way it’s easier, but at the same time it’s much more difficulty.
One way center backs have it easier is they usually have less physical pressure from defenders. The thing that makes it more challenging is the mental part. The feeling of the pressure, knowing that if you lose the ball the other team could score.
[Forwards] turning while receiving outside of foot
Forwards are often times outnumbered. If you’re a forward, you want to be able to change things up. This means you need to do different things as you receive the ball. When playing with your back to the goal, sometimes you need to shield and keep the ball. Other times you need to turn so you can face the goal and be a threat.
Here’s one of the best turns while playing with your back to goal, with a defender behind you. As the defender close behind you it’s hard to turn because they are there to steal the ball. One turn that works great is using the outside of your foot. You want your first touch to be already going the to goal. Remember in this situation, you’re playing with your back to goal. This turn can both confuse and shock the defender. The way your facing, as you received the ball is opposite from where the ball goes. Once you turn to retrieve the ball, the defender is already leaning the other way.
Outside midfielders and outside defenders
Players who play outside mid or back have different roles to play, compared to central players. There’s a lot of the same opportunities when it comes to turning while receiving still. There seems to be a bit more of the shorter passes, compared to long ones. There are also a lot of give and go options and running with the ball.
In terms of receiving the ball, I feel outside players need to use different touches. If playing on the left side… You can use the outside of the left foot to push down the line. This would be when you are facing the middle as the ball comes at you. Another way could be opening up your body/hips before and as you receive with your left. This allows you to already be facing and going to the line. Then there is using the inside of the right foot as your facing the middle. You would use this option if the pass came almost behind you, instead of in front of you.
Small group turning while receiving drills
One thing I love to work on with players is with groups of 3-7 players. The group is small enough where you can see and help each player and they can all stay busy without wasting any valuable time. Large groups can be great for certain elements, but the coach can’t see everyone. Also larger groups often end up causing players to stand around more than smaller groups.
Private lessons are good for high reps, but you can work on the give and goes, turning while receiving like in this video below in a group of 5.
More turning while receiving soccer drills
Use your imagination and think of different ways you can turn. Turning when defenders are behind you and in front of you. Turning when you are alone with no defensive pressure. Quick turns while receiving the ball. Turning while receiving cruyff turn. Flicks high and low. Dummy turn to fake out the defender: A dummy turn is where you let the ball go through your legs or next to you. The idea is to make the defender think you are going to trap or kick the ball. Also work on turning while receiving when you are both moving and stationary. Here’s 5 ways to turn with 1 touch.
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