Coaches should encourage players to play their first touch away their body and into a position that will give them time to weigh up the options for their next pass. These soccer coaching tips and drills are all about vision.
In general, right footed players should look to play their first touch about a metre in front and to the right side at a 45 degree angle (left footed players to the left side).
Give your players more time to think
By playing the ball out and in front of the body on their first touch, your players will improve in the following:
- Better all-round vision as eyes follow ball out and up and not focused down at the feet.
- Can immediately see and evaluate passing and shooting options.
- Can pass the ball over a long range.
- Can shoot over a long range.
- Less chance of being caught in possession of the ball.
Soccer drill to improve your players' vision
During the course of a game it is not always possible to play the ball in the perfect position. When young players control the ball, they are not immediately anticipating what to do next – pass, shoot, dribble or run with the ball. For this to happen you have to sharpen their vision.
Set up a soccer drill with an area 30m x 40m and follow the diagram below. Players move around a grid, passing the ball 2 touch. The passes must always be in the sequence of "white Player – grey Player"(white can only pass to grey and grey to white). This forces players to scan the area before receiving the pass.
Progress to 1 touch play.
Tell the player on the ball to pass over a variety of distances, not always a short pass in the drill.
Encourage players off the ball to get into a position in line of the player's vision, encourage movement and don't let anyone hide in this drill.
Key soccer coaching tip: Tell your players not to shout for the ball so they have to look for a coloured shirt with their heads up.