Ball control is one of the most underthought techniques in soccer/football. It’s one of the most, if not the most important technique to master.
But, what is ball control in soccer, really? Plus, how to improve it?
This is what you are going to find out in this article.
- What is ball control in soccer?
- Ball control mistakes players make
- How to improve your ball control?
- Final thoughts
What is ball control in soccer?
When a teammate is passing you the ball in soccer, whether on the ground or in the air, you have to cushion it with any part of your body except your arms. This is what’s called a ball control.
On the right foot, on the left foot, you have to be equally equipped.
How many services on the feet can you control the ball?
- The inside of the foot
- Outside of the foot
- The sole of the foot
What are parts of the body can we control the ball with?
- The chest
- The tighs
- The legs
- The head
- The back
We have to control the ball that is on the ground and in the air.
There are two types of ball control in the game:
First touch. This is the process of stopping the ball right next to you when you receive it.
Redirecting the ball. This is the process of redirecting the ball instead of cushioning it.
When do you choose to redirect the ball, when do you choose to use the first touch?
It all depends on the situation.
The first situation is, let’s say the defender is right on your back and you are receiving the ball, all you have to do is redirecting that ball and create some space.
The second situation would be when you have time and space, in this case, a first touch would be perfect.
Ball Control mistakes players make
Here are some of the most common mistakes players make when controlling the ball:
1. Ball control isn’t a specialized skill
It’s a fundamental skill that every single player need. It’s a skill you can still get better at and a skill you should always be practising.
2. Not getting your body behind the ball when trying to control it
It’s very crucial to look at the ball and make sure you are taking the right trajectory to control it perfectly.
3. Don’t make control harder than it needs to be
For instance, if the ball is coming towards you in the air, instead of trying to do a trick, simply use your chest to control it.
4. Not using your first touch effectively
Even if you make a great first touch, you may not be taking the right one. For instance, you might want to take the ball in a certain direction to use the space ahead of you.
It’s very important to make the right decision at this moment and avoid doing a first touch you were not supposed to.
5. Not using every part of their body
Many players don’t use every part of their body that they can use within the rules of the game. Use the body part that is going to be more effective in a specific situation.
6. Taking too many touches than necessary
If you take too much time to get the ball under control, you may lose it.
For example, if the ball is switched to you in the air, and you bring it down to your chest and then right to your feet right away, you have more option than if you take too many touches. Remember, every second count in soccer/football.
So, you have to control the ball as fast as possible.
Players like Toni Kroos and Modric already know what they are going to do even before touching the ball.
How to improve your ball control?
Here are a few tips to help you improve your ball control in soccer.
One Minute of Juggling
Juggle for one minute on both feet in order to warm up.
You don’t need a lot of space for this, but you are going to need a wall.
Top Foot control
This consist of hitting the ball against the wall and then control it with the top of your foot, down to your feet, flip it back up against the wall.
You have to do this 10 times each foot.
Take as few touches as possible. The most important thing about this is to only count reps that are well executed.
If you take a bad touch or a touch you are not happy with, don’t count it towards your 10 reps. This is the way you are going to improve.
Kicking a ball against the wall is such an incredible way to improve your control.
Don’t worry if you mess up from time to time, don’t get too frustrated. Keep going and you’ll get better
Inside Foot touches
This one consist of using the inside of your feet.
This is supposed to be the easiest one. It’s very important to learn and practice the inside of your foot to bring the ball down because you will definitely find yourself in situations in matches when you are going to need to do this.
So, like the previous drill, we are going to do 10 reps with the inside of our right foot and 10 reps with the inside of our left foot.
Remember to only count the good ones if you take a bad touch.
Outside Foot touches
This is probably going to be the most difficult one but there’s no reason to worry, practice makes perfect. You’ll get better at this as you practice.
It’s very important to use both feet once again. Do not skip that part.
You need to get better at both feet if you are not already.
As the previous one, hit it against the wall, then control it but using the outside of your foot this time.
Do 10 reps for each foot.
Keep the ball in the air against the wall
This exercise consists of keeping the ball in the air while juggling and hitting it against the wall.
Do not let the ball touch the ground. Of course, do not worry if it happens.
You can take as many touches as you want and use all the techniques that we have gone over so far. This is inside, outside, top of the foot.
So, you are bringing everything together. Do it for 5 minutes.
You want to do this consistently if you want to see improvements. Take at least 20 minutes every single day and practice.
It’s going to work on every single part of your foot.
As you saw from this article, ball control is one of the most critical elements in soccer.
Now you have a better idea of what it is and how you can improve your control. It’s all about practising.
Do you have any question regarding the topic? How do you like to control the ball? Which mistakes do you usually make when controlling a ball?
Let us know in the comment section below.