Materials needed- soccer ball
I’m going to walk you through a few basic warm up drills to help increase ball control. The beautiful thing about these drill is they can be used throughout a players development. Once the player masters these skills, there are challenging variations to each drill that will further develop the player.
If you’re a parent with a young child who is just discovering the sport, these drill are easy enough to do in the backyard, living room, or basement. If your child is a little older and can train on their own, these are great drills they can do whenever they’re in the mood to play soccer.
First are toe taps. They are simple enough to understand and simple enough to teach. You are just switching which foot is on top of the ball. As kids are learning, have them do 10 (5 with each foot) and count out loud. It provides a nice counting component and now you seem like a super parent by tackling numbers and playing. You can also vary the speed, have them try to go to 10 with their eyes closed, or you can be silly and tell them to do 10 while saying their ABCs or spelling their name. They cant do it and it’s hilarious. As kids begin to improve, increase the number they do.
Next are pendulums. This drill has the player pass the ball from foot to foot with the inside of their foot. Again, this drill helps develop ball control skills. At first the coordination is tricky for a new player, but once they get the concepts of balance and timing it becomes easy. Like toe taps, once the player begins to master the basic toe tap, there are variations that can help further develop the player. One example is to do pendulums while moving forward during a game of red light green light. During green light they go forward doing pendulums and during red lights they stop and do toe taps.
Finally are stationary volleys. This is to help get the player familiar with the correct parts of the foot when passing and striking the ball. Gently toss the ball to the players foot and have them use their instep to kick the ball back to you. When is a player is starting out these will look ugly and there will be lots of running around to chase balls. But as they begin to lock their ankle and follow through, they will gain better control of their kicks. After doing inside of the foot volleys, move to volleys using the laces. When striking a ball for power they have to use their laces. The habit for new players is to use to their toe and by doing this drill they will learn how it feels to use the laces and begin to develop the habit of using them. With a bent knew, you want the player to lock their ankle and have their toe flexed so it points towards you when they strike the ball. Like the inside of the foot, these will be ugly. Maybe the player doesn’t lock the ankle and the ball weakly gets back to you, or they aren’t flexing their toe so the ball hits them in the face or goes over their head. And whatever you do to the the right foot, you have to do to the left.
As the player becomes used to the drills, you can turn them into a circuit starting with toe taps, moving to pendulums, then with volleys and repeating with a creative differentiation each time through.
Practice and make it fun because after all its only a game.