When we think of great player we often think of players with moves that make defenders fall over or perhaps a player who can bend a free kick into the upper ninety. Most of us don’t understand just how important ball control is. We usually learn it at a young age, and then forget about it when we learn flashy moves, and how to dribble fast.
Controlling a soccer ball is the most important skill in soccer. Without it, little could be done. No one would be able to dribble, set up a shot or pass, or beat opposing players. Ball control is the skill that you will use the most.
When people talk about Messi, ball control is brought into the conversation mainly because people are amazed. Messi doesn’t use very many fancy moves like a C. Ronaldo type player. He just cuts and accelerates and even though he often is crowded by 2,3, or even 4 or more defenders he always seems to emerge with the ball.
This is ball control at its finest, and it really shows what it can do. When you start to practice and improve ball control, you will find that you want to do moves less and less. Moves can help you get past defenders sometimes, but I and many players realize this once they start training ball control: “moves only slow you down”. I find that while I use still use moves, I don’t as much because I can use my tight ball control to easily beat defenders.
Ball control is also closely related to first touch, a very important skill that I’m sure you hear a lot about. Having ball control translates easily into having this “touch of magic” and it translates well into other skills too.
The ball control skill of great players is stunning . The only way to reach the level of greats like Messi is to practice, practice, practice. Learn the proper technique and your training will go much smoother. You will gain amazing control of the ball quicker than if you are doing the technique wrong. Learn proper technique using this guide.
Ball control is a very simple skill. The only thing to it is mastering the four types of soccer touches. You will learn them on the next page of this guide. Next, you will find ball control tips that are easy to follow, and will greatly enhance your control. Finally, I provide you with soccer ball control drills so you can put your newfound knowledge to the test.
Below are all the articles on ball control. I recommend looking at them in order, but you can also skip around to what interests you.
The 4 Types of Soccer Touches
The lace touch is the touch that you will use the most when dribbling. Using it moves the ball straight. Players should use it when there is open space, and they want to dribble with speed.
To perform a lace touch, use the area around your shoe laces to chop the ball forward. Touch the ball so that is stays close to you.
The inside of the foot is used to used to cut past players and to dribble forward while the body shields. It can be used to fake a shot.
To perform an an inside-of-the-foot cut, use the inside of your foot and touch the side of the ball. The ball should go across your body. To dribble forward using the inside of the foot, (useful because you can shield while dribbling), turn your body towards the ball. The leg farthest away from the body will dribble while the lead leg should take steps forward.
The outside touch is very quick, making it easy to quickly accelerate past a defender. You can also use this touch to dribble forward quickly if you want to dribble towards the side.
To perform an outside cut (assuming with you’re using your right foot), use the inside of your foot to touch the left side of the ball. You can touch more towards the middle if you want to move forward and to the side.
The sole can be used in many circumstances. It can be used to beat defenders, turn, fake a pass, just naming some examples. This touch is the hardest to learn for beginning players, but mastering it adds a whole new level to your control and dribbling.
To perform a sole touch, first put your foot lightly on the ball. Now roll the ball in any direction you want. Your other foot should hop slightly when you roll the ball.