Try this soccer coaching drill and 4v4 game to improve chest control skills on the ball.
I was refereeing an U8s game and as they struggled to cope with a very bouncy pitch I thought about this soccer (football) training session from West Ham Academy Director Tony Carr and how I should use the soccer drill to focus my team's ball control skills.
It's frustrating for young players because they are so small any bounce takes the ball up into their bodies where they just want to put a hand on top of the ball to keep it down.
Your players should be comfortable at dealing with balls at whatever height they arrive – so they must be able to control a ball that is too low to head but too high for the thighs.
Players need to be coached in moving into the line of the flight of the ball, arching the back making the chest into a platform and taking the pace off the ball by keeping relaxed.
- First player throws the ball underarm at chest height to second player standing opposite.
- Second player controls the ball with their chest then catches the ball.
- Second player throws the ball at chest height to the first player who chests the ball and catches it.
- Repeat the soccer drill.
Develop the drill
- You can develop this soccer drill so that rather than catch the ball, the receiving player uses the top of their foot to bring the ball under control with one touch before it bounces. The receiving player then passes the ball back.
- The next development involves the receiving player chesting to the left or right. To deflect the ball to one side they turn the upper body on contact.
- Before the ball bounces, the receiving player uses the top of their foot (use the right if turning right) to control and guide the ball in their chosen direction, ready to dribble. Make sure players practise turning both left and right (2).
Put the drill skills into a game situation
To incorporate these soccer skills in a game situation, you can try this 4v4 game.
A target player throws the ball to one of the attackers, who ideally controls it on the chest – into space and away from pressure – before passing to a team mate. The ball has to be played to a team mate before the attacking team can pass the ball back to either target player. Award points for every successful chest control and pass, and for every time a defender intercepts or wins the ball.