Every time they our players make a poor first touch in a game we are
likely to give the football away to the other team so it is important to
keep on improving. The key to a good first touch is being relaxed and
focused. If a young player thinks they will be told off for getting it
wrong they will probably fail.
Provide practice regularly, little and often, and include work using both
feet. Any unopposed short passing drill can be used with the emphasis on
the touch rather than the pass. An example is shown below.
Explain and demonstrate the difference between cushion and wedge control
and how to move the ball away from pressure into space on the first touch.
To coach control of long and high passes begin with easy serves and
gradually increase the level of difficulty.
Coaching Points - Observe The Following Details
Is the player alert and playing on their toes, do they look ready to react
to the movement of the ball?
Does the player move into the line of the ball early? Any delay in
reacting will make control more difficult
They should get themselves right across the line of the ball and not end
up chasing after it
Concentration is vital, do they keep their head steady and watch the
movement of the ball carefully?
If the pass is under-hit do they move quickly down the line of the ball to
To cushion the ball the foot needs to be off ground and withdrawn at the
moment of contact “soft ankle”
Check that they use the inside area, or top of outside of the foot to make
a controlling touch on ground pass
Contact should be with the horizontal mid-line of the ball or above to
prevent it skipping up on 1st touch
To wedge the ball sweep across the top of it with the inside or outside of
With a high ball the player should make an early decision on what surface
they will use to control it
Make sure they keep their eyes open and observe the flight of the ball
Chest, thigh, instep & outside of foot - “relax” and withdraw surface on
contact to cushion the ball
The ball should not be allowed to bounce, move along line of ball to meet
it as early as possible
If under pressure does the player redirect ball into space on first touch
and pass it on early?
A simple unopposed
practice to improve the push pass and first touch. It allows the coach to
work with a number of players in a fairly small area. Encourage players to
aim for a high standard. Older players should be able to recognise and
correct their own faults. It is essential all our players learn to pass
consistently and receive a ball comfortably over short distances. Use this
type of practice regularly for short periods at a time.
Place four marker discs in cross pattern
10-15yds apart as shown
One football at each of two adjacent cones
Players pass - two touch - to opposite
player and then run to disc on their right
Don’t have long queues, split larger
groups into more than one grid
Make it competitive - challenge two grids
who can play for longest without losing control?