Soccer Skills

Basic Skills

Parts of the Foot

  • Inside Edge  – This is the meat of the inside of your foot from the back part of your arch to the base of your big toe. 
  • Instep – This is inside top part of your foot or the “laces”. 
  • Outside Edge – This is the ouside of your foot from just below the base of your pinkie toe on up.
  • Lower Instep – This is the top outside center of your foot.

Juggling
Players all ages, all the time should juggle. It’s something the player can do by himself and over time dramatically increases ball handling skills.  Juggle the ball by keeping it up in the air using your feet, thighs and head. Players can challenge themselves by seeing how many touches they can get on the ball without the ball touching the ground.  As a player begins juggling, over a period of time, he can play with the ball a bit more and learn how the ball reacts when he does differnt thing with it.

Dribbling
Dribbling by moving the ball along the ground with your feet is a critical skill to posses.  Practice dribbling with both sides of your feet, keeping the ball close and look up at the field.  As you get better try to gain speed and looking up more to see the field around you.

If a player is sprinting and moving the ball up the field quickly with little pressure, players will push the ball farther out. This type of dribbling will resemble short kicks and will look like the player has less control because the ball with be farther out of reach. However, if the player is truly sprinting, this should be ok. 

If a player has a  lot of pressure, she will want to keep the ball closer and possibly pull some trick moves to ward off a defender.  To keep the ball close, a player will have to “push” or gently tap the ball with his feet.  She will use the inside, outside and tops of the foot to control the ball. 

Basic Inside Edge Pass
Face in the direction of the pass, plant the non-kicking foot next to the ball and turn out the ankle of your kicking foot so you strike the ball squarely with the inside edge, keeping the ankle locked. This pass is best for short to medium passes and offers a lot of control.   The kicking leg is similar to a hockey stick. However, be careful not to plant your non-kicking foot too close and cause your hip to pop outward and rotate your leg too much.

Outisde Foot Pass
To make a pass to your right, sweep your right foot in an arc across your line of travel. Strike the ball on the outside edge of your foot, with your heel up, toes down and ankle locked.  This pass can be useful for distributing the ball on the move.

Move to the Ball
As an offensive or defensive player you should always be ready to move toward a ball that is played to you. You don’t want to wait for the ball to come to you. If you wait for the ball to come to you, a defender will position himself closer to you for better positioning or he could out hussle and steal the ball from you.

Trapping the Ball
Stopping or slowing the ball effectively and directing it to a postion where you are in control, and ready to make a play.  You want to do this without having it “bounce” back to the player who passed it to your or into a defensive players posession.  Trapping the ball properly means that you have absorbed the balls energy  by withdrawing your foot, or other body part, or by wedging your foot against the ground to stop the ball entirely. 

Cushion Control / Killing the Ball
To control with the ball with your foot, thigh, chest or head by droping the ball to the ground and in one fluid movement sweeping it away in a new direction.  If you’re using your foot to cushion the ball, keep the ankle slightly loose and pull your foot away just as the ball hits.

Chest Trap
This is a trap of the ball, however you use your chest to cushion and control the ball after it has been lofted in the air. Position yourself so the ball will strike your upper body and leaning back. As the ball strikes your chest, pull your chest back away, almost like caving into the ball, to try and catch the ball with your chest. From your chest try to direct the ball to your feet. Depending on how much or how little you ‘cave’ when the ball meets your chest depends on how far the ball bounces off your chest.  

Wedge Trap
This trap is typically used to control the ball when it comes from the air.  As the ball falls from the air, lean forward so that your body is passed the point where it will hit the ground. Angle your leg so that your knee is over the ball and the inside of your foot will wedge the ball against the ground as it hits. To start, you will probably trap the ball completely dead. As you gain confidence in this skill try to control it as it comes out of the wedge.

Sheilding or Protecting the Ball
This skill is similar to what basketball players do when they are protecting the basketball. It is quite simply, putting yourself between the ball and the defender, to control the ball so that you can buy time to pass to an open teammate or beat out the defender. This skill is executed more effectively with upper body strength because you want to keep your shoulder towards the defender with your arms and chest spread. This will maximize your space and keep you well balanced.

A myth about soccer players is that all of their strength is in their legs. While this is ture, a soccer player must also have upper body strength.  In order for a player to accomplish positioning on the field, battling for a loose ball, or protecting & challenging the ball, he must have a strong chest and arms. 

Two Touches
This term is often used when it takes a player two or more touches to control the ball from a pass on the ground or in the air. Young players that can control the ball in two touches are doing quite well.

One Touch
This term is used when a player can control the ball from a pass on the ground or in the air in one touch and a fluid next movement. Controlling the ball in one touch and puttng it in a comfortable spot that helps the next move.

Offensive Skills

Throw – In
When a player makes the ball go one revolution over the sideline, the result is a throw in for the other team. The thower faces the field with both feet behind the sideline.  The ball has to start behind the player’s head and when being thrown it must go over the players head (not over the shoulder) with the players hands on each side of the ball.  Both feet must remain behind the sideline and both feet need to remain in contact with the ground, no jumping!  The thrower should try to move the ball down to the offensive side of the field by throwing to a teammate or to space that a teammate will move into.

Corner Kick
When the defense makes the ball go out of bounds over its own goal line, the offense (attacking) team is awarded a corner kick.  To kick a corner kick, you will approach the ball from a slight angle and plant your non kicking foot slightly behind and on the the side of the ball. As you bring your kicking foot forward, lean back a bit (so that the ball goes in the air), lock your ankle and hit the ball with the inside of your instep – go all the way through the ball. A corner kick, will more often than not, try to be kicked toward the goal area and by having it airborne it helps to get over the defense so that a teammate can meet it.