The game is getting faster. If you want to impress you need to show that you are mentally fast - LOOK and THINK is the first thing you are taught as a youngster at Barcelona. Your ability to look up and see what is happening around you before you receive the ball, is crucial to the way most modern teams play. More about that in a future blog, for now I want to tell you that your touch will buy you time to think and make the right decisions in games. So if you want to improve your touch, you’re in the right place! (SPOILER - you will need cones)
Drill 1 - Outside Cut
Set up the cones in a zig-zag pattern just over a meter apart from each other. Dribble the ball like normal but use only the outside of your foot when going around a cone. This exercise will not only give you a good feel with the ball at your feet, but also improve your speed when turning away from an opponent. When you get good at it, try to repeat the exercise without looking down at the ball.
Drill 2 - Croqueta
Set out the cones in a straight line but relatively close together. The idea is largely the same as the Outside Cut, except you use the inside of your foot instead. Again, try doing this exercise without looking down to really improve your touch and awareness.
Drill 3 - The Chop
Shift back to the zig-zag pattern with your cones. When you reach a cone, go around it by using the chop. Begin very slowly to get used to the skill, and then build up speed over time. Pay attention to the weight you put on the ball (the distance that it goes away from you after kicking it). You need it to stay within a close distance and remain under control throughout the exercise.
Drill 4 - Sole Roll
Keeping the zig-zag pattern, this time you will use the underside of the boot to roll over the top of the ball in order to change direction. This skill really helps in a game situation when you need to move the ball quickly to one side to avoid an opposition player. Again build up speed and don’t be afraid to move the cones further apart to give yourself more room to practice with intensity.
Drill 5 - Motorway Sprint
Set up a long lane of cones around a meter and a half apart. You need to sprint as fast as you can with the ball to the end of the course, whilst keeping it under control. The trick here is to time your stride so that you can run and touch the ball at the same time. When you improve, try to repeat this drill with the cones closer together to really improve your straight line speed with the ball.
So that was 5 drills to help you improve your touch. I hope you can use some of the ideas I mentioned to help you improve your game!
Below you will see the video I mentioned with our very own JayMike about how to improve your touch. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for more ‘How-To’ blogs in the coming weeks for more awesome #Unisportlife content.