One of the key elements of playing a passing game is that your players are comfortable receiving the ball. Never mind instant control or ball position, coaching basic receiving skills is essential.
Soccer coaching for basic receiving skills
Coach soccer drills to teach basic receiving skills as early as possible; it is important for our younger age groups to learn how to receive the ball and use that as a foundation to build on. The art of receiving transforms into the first touch, and ultimately the ability to position the ball for the next move.
Key soccer coaching tips
- Head up – make eye contact with the passer and “request” the ball.
- Knees flexed – be ready to move in any direction.
- Heel down – toe up.
- Soft touch – give a little as the ball hits the foot.
Receiving the ball with movement
- Set up a soccer drill using a square grid with cones and three athletes.
- Player 2 starts with the ball. He initially has support to his right and left from players 1 and 3. He now passes to player 1.
- Player 1 now only has support from player 2. Player 3 must run to the unoccupied cone and re-establish support in two directions for the ball passer.
- So the basic idea in this soccer drill is to pass and have the athlete off the ball react to the pass and provide support by running to the open space, in this case, the unoccupied cone.
- The off-the-ball player should be alert to make his run.
- The passer should make eye contact with the player to whom he is passing. That not only alerts the receiver, but it cues the off the ball player to make his supporting run.
- Passes should be received open to the field. For example, in the diagram, if player 3 received the ball from player 2 with his right foot, he would have to either play the ball across his body to player 1, or two-touch it to his left foot, or play it back to player 2. Effectively by playing the ball with the wrong foot he has limited his passing options. When there is no pressure, he will have time to adjust. Under pressure the extra second that it takes to adjust may mean the difference between a completed pass and a loss of possession.