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-- Forum: US Club Soccer
--- Topic: Player Evaluations ( Post #42465 )

mtnlady - December 21st, 2010 23:44 GMT
Edited by mtnlady on December 21st, 2010 23:49 GMT

Coachg I find myself focusing more and more on first touch. We move there right after the kids are showing pretty good dribbling/ball mastery skills. We use a variety of drills but my favorite is a very simple one. 

I call it "Box 1st Touch" and "Box 1st Touch Away from Pressure". We run these drills almost with every practice after the first month or so. Drill #1 is we run the girls through a speed ladder or just from a cone into a cone 'square'. Coach sends the ball into the square just as the player is flying in. Player has to control the ball (trap) on their first touch and pass, dribble, dribble and shoot etc. (the variations are limitless) after their first touch. First touch needs to be controlled within the cone 'box'. We let them do choose their own first touch method at first then introduce 3 ways to trap the ball: open hip, flick and 'sweep' (opposite foot 'sweeps' ball to opposite side).

As the players get better the box gets smaller and smaller, players speed into the box increases and I want to hear them call and 'show' for the ball. No one is allowed to 'jog' into the box. It's a very fast paced, high energy drill.

As the players progress balls are passed harder and harder into the 'box', then I short hop the ball in, flighted balls in etc. After the players get that down we add pressure and begin to introduce the second drill. That being that I have two older players on either side of me. As the ball is passed in hard one of the players charge hard toward one side of the box. The player must take their 'first touch' away from pressure and out the opposite side of the box. We do this drill second because the player must have mastered their first touch enough that they can now play with their head up and take their first touch away from pressure.

Other variations of the drill involve "Y" turns where the players trap the ball and then pass to a coach / older player who is behind them at an angle. We also use the same box to work on the various turns so the player receive the ball in the box, turns the ball in the box and passes to coach behind them.

Simple drill but very effective to teach a quality first touch. First touch to me is critical before you can get even half way serious into passing skills. We also play keep away and virtually every passing drill we have also emphasizes first touch but the 'box' drills really zero down on it and get fast results. We do these drills all season long as dribbling/ball mastery and first touch are critical for me to develop in the girls at the younger ages (u10-u11 and up).
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