The term in soccer getting “touches on the ball” to improve your game is slowing growth for many. I’ll never forget when I went from college to pro soccer. My first experience was after the pro combine… I was on trial with MLS side Kansas City. It was a whole different level of play! It didn’t matter how many silly moves you can do on the ball. All that mattered was your first touch, comfort on the ball and passing. For youth soccer players that are willing to spend time alone with the ball, it’s important that they learn the right skills. Counting touches in a stationary spot trying to get touches on the ball could actually build many bad habits.
Getting 1,000+ touches on the ball is NOT what your focus should be.
Think about it like this: if you’re working on taking corner kicks or one-touch finishing drills, you’re not getting many touches AT ALL. BUT, you’re getting good at something that is important and is going to help you.
In the video below, the kid is working on first-touch, NOT getting many touches, BUT getting really good.
Why getting more touches is hurting soccer development
Knowing what to work on is vital if you really want to improve.
What you see on YouTube and social media is not the same type of training I teach.
The Marketers goal is to catch your eye on what looks cool, while my goal is for you to improve the right ways.
You could get 20 trainers and all 20 would run different sessions.
Would they all help the same?
I doubt it.
Go to YouTube or and social media platform and you will find clickbait everywhere ‘get touches on the ball’. These are usually marketing experts who never played pro or never coached/trained youth players for a living.
Even if they played pro it doesn’t mean they know what to teach each age group or level.
This take tons of time and experience to know what each age and level struggles with most. How each individual can improve fastest.
You can see ex-pro’s on YouTube channels representing their brand and usually another brand.
I’ve seen some of the best pro players give some crappy advice for youth soccer players.
Sure, pro players and most anybody knows what skills need to be addressed, but they don’t know how to teach each age group. Like they say ‘just because someone played pro, doesn’t mean they can teach it’.
Hundreds of skills drills that don’t work
I will forever say that ball control is one of the first things you need to try and master.
The thing is there are 100’s and 100’s of skills and drills. I promise you that most of them don’t make you better on the pitch.
Most of what you see on social media is stationary skill drills that might look good from the outside, but they don’t really make you better in game situations.
A soccer training methodology that works
If you’re a coach or player that doesn’t have time to spend searching on YouTube and hoping you are working on the right things GET MY ONLINE BALL CONTROL COURSES.
It’s more than just touches on the ball.
You can choose different levels to start with or get all of them. In total there are 25 lessons that you will live by. Start off doing each lesson for 30-60 seconds.
Your main focus should be to do them smooth and correct.
Don’t worry about the speed until you are smooth. You can always email me or send a video for feedback.
Watch this video below of 2 college players train with me for the first time.
It’s fun to see the quick progression and confidence boost.
Arrogance and lack of understanding from many
After you can control the ball and are super coordinated with it, you should spend most of your time working on passing the many ways with both feet and first touch.
As you know there are soccer parents and players with an arrogance to them.
Soccer is a science and there is so much that goes into it.
Players that have the understanding that you have to want to keep improving every day are the mature ones.
Knowing that there is always a next level is important, no matter who you are.
Being somewhat good is different than being great!
Think about how good the best players in the world are compared to the best college players. It doesn’t even compare, but you can’t tell unless you have played at that level or seen it up close many times and have the right attitude and knowledge to see the difference.
Unfortunately it take tons of time to get really good at soccer
Fortunately every time you practice you will improve and most others won’t practice.
I grew up playing soccer and thought I was good just because I was one of the best players on my team.
The main reason I was decent was because I was bigger and faster. I had okay skills, but compared to the best in the world I was behind.
I didn’t know first touch and passing could be SO much better.
It’s important that you continue spending time with the ball developing your craft. Work on improving your strengths and weaknesses.
Unfortunately if you want to be a pro soccer player nowadays, it takes a lot of time on your own with the ball.
In pros you will see that the players aren’t super big or fast, but they have amazing touch on the ball and passing skills under pressure. They can pass the ball many ways and they can pass it with precision.
College players who turn to coaching
Just because someone played college or pro doesn’t mean they know how to teach soccer.
In the last decade at GFT I have hired many former college players to help teach our trainees.
It’s amazing what they don’t know to teach youth players. You see coaches like this now and they are teaching the wrong skills. The reason is because they have no experience coaching or training.
So you want to make sure when you hire a trainer or coach that you are not getting sold to!
Make sure you know what skills you or your child should be working on.
Don’t worry about counting your touches
Ball control, meaning first touch and coordination with the ball is important. When training on your own, first think about how you can correct your form/mechanics.
Too many players think they have to get a lot of “touches on the ball”. You can get 1,000 touches every day and not improve on the right things.
So instead of counting touches, focus on your form.
After working on form, work on your vision and speed with the ball. I recommend you spend 10-30 mins a week on these things on your own.
If you want to know what really works, get my online homework courses to improve your ball control the right way.
This program will teach you more than the right training…
You get several bonuses, downloads and videos that teach you:
- injury prevention
- recruitment tips
- how to be a good teammate
- build your own brand
- mindset and confidence
First touch and passing drills in soccer
Opening up your body and receive the ball is vital.
I speak with college coaches and they say how Freshman come in and don’t even know how to open up their body/hips to receive.
Opening up the body doesn’t mean to get open. It means as the ball is coming to you open up and face more where you want to go with the ball once you get it.
When you trap the ball after “opening up” it’s with the inside of the back foot. This allows you to be able to turn and go the other way or be able to go back to the direction it came from.
Bottom line, it gives you more options to be successful by keeping possession of the ball.
If you play center back or center mid and the ball comes from the left side of the field, open up your body and trap the ball with the inside of your right foot.
This would be your back foot, because as the ball comes to you and you open up the right foot is the furthest from the ball.
Once you receive it you are able to already see the other side of the pitch and choose to pass it to the other side or easily pass it where it came from. It gives you more options and allows you to have more choices once you get the ball.
You decide what’s best for you
After reading this you can make the choice on what to do.
Be careful only listening to people who have never been to where you want to go direct you.
I see players ever year lose opportunity on playing time, scholarship and more because they never learned the right things.
Remember, it matters the touches on the ball that you get and the type of training you do.
Don’t waste your time doing the wrong things.
How I’m different from most soccer coaches
I won’t blog or talk about things I don’t know, but one thing for sure I know how to develop soccer players of all ages and level.
It’s what I have done for a living since 2008 and since then hundreds of players have gone to play college soccer.
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