What Is A First Touch In Soccer? (Easily Explained)

Share it with others

Your first touch is one of the most important skills in soccer/football. So, mastering it is almost a need for any soccer player in the world.

But, what is a first touch in soccer, really? How to execute one? And how to improve your touch in soccer?

This is what you are going to find out in this article.

What is the first touch in soccer?

When receiving the ball in soccer, controlling by touching it once or giving it back to another teammate by touching it once is what we call “first touch” in soccer.

Makes sense?


Basically, a first touch is a ball control. Simple as that.

Have you ever heard someone saying “What a great first touch!”?…

Here’s an example.

Let say you are receiving the ball from a teammate during a soccer game. You have two options:

You can either control it, this can be with your chest, head, thigh, foot, etc. Basically, any part of your body except your hands. This is a first touch.

Or you can simply give it back to another teammate as soon as you receive the ball.

A perfect example here would be when you’re receiving a pass from a teammate and instead of controlling it as in the previous example, you hit it or pass it back to another teammate with just one single touch. This will also be considered as a first touch.

Now let’s see how you can improve your first touch.

Improve your touch in soccer

Here are the most important first touch techniques to know and master:

1. Inside of the foot

When controlling the ball, the simplest techniques to use is the inside of the foot. See pic below.

controlling the ball using the inside of the foot

When receiving the ball, if you want to go to your left, for instance, you need to open your foot out, turn your foot and body into the direction you want to head.

If you want to go to the other side, use exactly the same technique.

Make sure you practice it with both feet because you never know what situation you might find yourself in during a game.

What if the ball is coming to you in the air?

Well, the technique is very similar. Use the inside of your foot and as you control the ball, pull your foot a little backward. This will take a little bit of power and hopefully, stop the ball.

Image showing a soccer player controlling the ball in the air

Don’t forget to take it in the direction you want to go. And again, you need to practice this with both feet.

You are not limited to only use the inside of your foot.

There are several other elements that you can use to your advantage when controlling the ball.

2. Outside of the foot

Another element we can use is the external part of the foot.

A soccer player showing his outside part of the foot

When we use that technique, we don’t want to use the heel too much. This will give us the greatest amount of control.

Also, when we use that external part of the step, we want to angle the foot into the direction we want to take the ball.

A soccer player controlling the ball in one touch and heading to one direction

Keep in mind that it’s not always about just using your feet in a game.

The ball is going to come in different directions and different highs.

Also, there are different part of the body you can use to control the ball. But the main thing is, keep your eyes on the ball and take the ball in the direction you want to travel.

To improve any technique you have to practice.

Tips for a better first touch for beginners

Mastering first touch means possession and ultimately, control the game.

Here are some simple techniques you can use when receiving the ball from a simple pass or a cross, and get the ball ready for your next move.

  • No matter what type of ball is coming towards you, the best technique is to focus on the ball and get it in front of you as quick as possible. This will give you the best chance to make your first touch effective.
  • Don’t wait for the ball to arrive before you make that decision.
  • When the ball is coming to you, you need to set yourself quickly for your next move.
  • Whatever technique you use, stay focus on the ball and keep your eyes on it.
  • Relax with your body when receiving the ball.
  • Be on your toes. This makes you more agile and you can easily adjust when there’s a deflection.
  • Low centre of gravity. Slightly bend on your knees while being on your toes. This will make you more balanced.

How to practice your first touch?

The best way to practice your first touch is to grab a football and find a wall or any kind of surface that you can rebound the ball off.

Practice by hitting the ball at different speeds and learn how it reacts off of your feet.

Start with the inside of your foot, then go on to other areas of the foot after you gained confidence with it.

Practice both feet equally as it’s so important.

Another real good technique to improve your first touch or your ball control is Juggling.

Simple repetition using both feet is really going to help improve your overall touch.

Final Word

When you learn a new skill or technique, the key is to practice as much as you can. There’s no excuse for cutting corners, you have to put in the work to improve your game.

Did you learn something new in this article? Which first touch technique are you going to try first? Do you have a different way to control the ball?

Let us know in the comment section below.

4 thoughts on “What Is A First Touch In Soccer? (Easily Explained)”

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. It has been an interesting read and I have found it very informative even though i haven’t played soccer since I was a child. Actually, I watched my brother game yesterday and I heard people talking about the first touch. I had no idea what it was. Hence I decided to do some research.

    Over here in Scotland, we always called it Football. I loved it when I was at Primary school but as I hit my teenage years I lost interest really as I liked the music better though

    • Hi, Kwidzin. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you found the article helpful.

      By the way, you’re perfectly right. Almost everywhere in Europe or UK call it Football instead of Soccer. I know many tend to be confused. Hence I wrote an article about it that perfectly shows the difference between both.

      You can read it in my article titled “Is Soccer different from Football

  2. Repetition and constant learning is the key to success. The advantage is that we can really “stop” the ball in any way that comes to mind, except the hand of course. As someone who played football in his younger days, I think this is the first and most important lesson and that is ball control. The very fact that we can master a move in football gives us a starting advantage over the opponent. And in the end, regardless of the position in the team, that is the only thing that matters. Great article, I wish someone at the time had pointed out to me the real benefits of mastering ball control early. You sound like someone who really understands football. Do you play football professionally?

    • Hey Mike. Thanks for your comment.

      I totally agree with all that you said about ball control.

      Yeah, I used to play professional football/soccer in the second division but had to stop due to an injury. You can read more about me here.



Leave a Comment