Pro footballers make the beautiful game look easy (for the most part), but honing the plethora of skills required to play your best is hard work. Here, we give you 5 tips to improve your first touch on the ball!
Some are born with the innate ability to control a ball, others must learn it, but all must practice.
No professional baller in the Premier League (or the wide world of the sport) has ever made it to the top on sheer talent alone – take Cristiano Ronaldo’s insatiable work ethic as an example.
So, without further ado, here are 5 tips to help you improve your first touch!
Stay light on your feet…
Football is a high-intensity cardio driven sport. Therefore, players must be ready to move off on a moments’ notice.
Keeping yourself on the balls of your feet or on your toes will help with balance, as well as with changing course at the drop of a hat.
Doing so means that, even if your touch isn’t what you’d hoped, you’re in the best position to spring into action to correct it. This technique also allows you to adjust your body easily as you take the ball in.
Low centre of gravity…
Another tip that is based around preparing to receive the ball is keeping a low centre of gravity.
Keeping your knees slightly bent allows you to keep a stable base, as well as aiding your ability to move off or change position quickly.
The additional balance and agility afforded by this technique will not only help your first touch, but also put you in good stead for your plans after you’ve taken the ball in.
Relax your body…
This tip goes hand in hand with the first two.
Relaxing your body, whilst staying on the balls of your feet and keeping a low centre of gravity, helps cushion the ball as you take it in.
What this technique also does is keep your movements smooth and fluid, aiding you once you have taken the ball and look to move off.
Move your foot backwards as you take the ball…
Many of you will be familiar with the “bread bin” method of cushioning a ball into your chest to take the momentum off it as you catch.
The same principle is used with the feet also.
Pulling your controlling foot backwards ever so slightly as you absorb the impact of the ball will allow for a much closer and more controlled touch. It will also help take out any spin on the ball more easily.
Think of the way a ball hits a loose net, as opposed to a solid surface. The more you can slowly bring the momentum of the ball down, the closer your touch will be!
Make contact with the dead centre of the ball…
If you’ve ever played pool/snooker, you will be aware of how difficult it is to make a ball do anything you want to when you miss the centre mark.
The same principle applies with your first touch of a football. Make contact with the ball in its very centre, and it remains at your feet, too low, high, or either side, and you’ve more than likely lost it!
Practise absorbing the dead centre of the ball with the inside of your foot first, and then move on to other parts of the foot to increase your range of touches!
So there you have it – take to the field and see how much these 5 first touch tips help your game!