Now chances are you’re looking to find out how to get a better touch in football.
Well, for you to be the type that in.
You probably know how important it is.
I first remember when I started playing football.
This was back in my early teens.
My dad would badger on at me about how I needed to improve my first touch.
Especially if I ever wanted to get reach that pro level.
At the time I didn’t listen.
However not only have I learnt now how to pull off that touch in the game.
In order to excel.
I thought it would be a good idea to create a guide on how to get a better touch.
So in this post, I am going to take you through not only everything you need to know about it.
But also how to perfect it.
So your no longer having a go at you, after letting the ball go astray.
Table of Contents
Why Is Having a Better Touch Important in Football?
Now what can literally make or break you in the football game?
Is your touch.
But Why Is Having a Better Touch Important in Football?
Well, the simple reason is that the game is played at such a high tempo.
Anything subpar is in most cases not good enough.
So if you for instance receive the ball in the middle of the field.
And your touch is off, well that is going to be a problem.
As it may give the opposition the opportunity to force a turnover and take the ball of you.
So having a great first touch is what is going to give you.
Better control of the ball.
Enable you to receive passes in tight environments.
Maybe even under pressure.
While also allowing you to dribble past opponents.
Because with your touch being good.
You can do this effectively.
There are also many other reasons why a better first touch is important.
For instance when setting yourself up to make a pass or a shot.
If your touch isn’t great.
Well, you are going to have a hard time to then executing the next move.
Whether that be setting yourself up for a volley shot at goal.
Or a long-distance pass across the field.
It needs to be almost perfect.
Or close to it.
In order for you to do these moves effectively.
So as you can see having a better touch is vital when it comes to just playing the game better.
However, there is another aspect too.
The mental side of it.
Now I remember many games, especially when I was young.
Where I would make a bad touch early in the game.
Maybe it was the first touch I had of that game.
Now due to how bad it was.
It would knock my confidence.
Losing that belief that I could improve it as the game goes on.
Or having teammates laying into me.
Now in-game scenarios, you will encounter the odd bad touch.
It’s hard to completely eliminate them.
Just look at the pros, they still make mistakes.
Even at their level.
But improving your touch is not just going to do your mind wonders.
As you will believe in yourself more.
But it will help you with your performance which will then lead to you having better games.
And hopefully improving even more as a footballer.
Now its all well and good for me to say why you need an important touch in football.
But it’s one thing knowing what to do.
And another trying to execute it.
So in the next section, I will take you through some of the techniques you can integrate into the game.
That I have used over my 15+ year footballing career to improve my touch.
Techniques to Improve Your Touch in Football
So many skills start with your touch.
You want to get better at shooting.
Well, improving your touch will help.
Want to juggle a ball? (unlike these 5 professional footballers can’t do!)
You will need to better your touch, so you can consecutively hit that ball in the air close to you.
So to start with you can work by doing the following things, so you can become that formidable force on the pitch you are capable of becoming.
Ball Control Exercises
For some people ball control exercises can be boring.
I found it so when I was younger.
As all I wanted to do was get a ball and whack it as hard as I could.
But when you acknowledge the importance of touch in football.
You will want to carry out ball control exercises to help it.
These will help you in making the bridge between the ball and your foot more natural.
So if a ball comes into your feet.
You won’t even need to think twice about how to react to control it well.
Here are a few steps to follow:
– Toe taps: Consisting of tapping the ball between your two feet. This is all about establishing a rhythm in order to become familiar with the ball close to you.
– Inside foot touches: Another exercise you can do is touching the ball back and forward between your feet. This gets you use to moving with the ball with speed, while still having control of the ball.
– Sole rolls: Sole Rolls is another one, in which there are many types you can do to improve your touch.
However to start with you can do the first one, as demonstrated in the video below by JayMike.
Where you are rolling the ball with the outer side of your ball to the sole.
Maintaining a fluid motion as you then bring it to the inner side of your other foot.
– Outside foot touches: Similar to inside foot touches, but employing the outer side of your foot instead.
– Laces dribble: Lightly kick the ball using the top of your foot while ensuring control as you proceed forward.
By applying these techniques and practising them with both of your feet.
Will help you become more used to having the ball at your feet.
While also improving your overall ball control.
Now unlike how I was when I first started playing football.
You will want to be consistent.
As you start getting more used to pulling off these moves.
You can ramp up the difficulty.
Either by making the move more complex as you can see in the video above.
Just by introducing quick changes in direction.
Or by putting obstacles in your way, leading you to think faster, as you move around the training field.
I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to juggling a football.
It wasn’t until I started to take football more seriously.
That I worked on juggling.
Which at the same time helped me to kick the ball in the air.
Over and over again.
But also importantly my touch too.
Now to go about that by involving juggling techniques in your training, you can:
1. Start with basics: To make it easier for you, start with your dominant foot, kicking the ball up into the air a few times. You can either go straight into juggling if you think you can, or you can catch the ball or let it bounce to get you used to it
2. Get used to juggling: Still using your dominant foot, practice kicking the ball up a few times without the aid of anything else.
2. Alternate feet: Next step is to slowly integrate your other foot, this will improve your coordination and balance.
3. Use different foot surfaces: Get creative using different areas of your feet, by juggling with the inside, outside, and sole of the foot. This will help your overall control, as your getting used to touching the ball with every area of your foot.
4. Add challenges: You might want to lay of the challenges at first, however when you do become more confident. You can start incorporating walking and even running while doing kick-ups. You also have tricks such as ‘around the world‘ or ‘head stalls‘ which I should say are for experts of juggling, so don’t worry if it takes you a while to get to this stage.
5. Set targets: Aim to land the ball on markers or cones while juggling to improve accuracy and control.
6. Progressive juggling: Gradually increase the number of juggles without dropping the ball to improve focus and concentration.
Juggling enhances ball control, coordination, and touch in football. Practice regularly and challenge yourself to improve continuously.
Passing and Receiving Drills
If you’re not already doing passing and receiving drills.
Then you will need to start incorporating them.
If you want to see an improvement in your touch.
As after all, if you want to see yourself.
Become a more confident footballer at receiving the ball to feet.
And then getting it out of your feet.
Without the ball running away from you.
Then you will need to practice this constantly.
Here is a list of a few drills you can start doing today, to help you with this:
- Two-player passing: Stand facing a partner and pass the ball back and forth using the inside of your foot. Focus on accuracy and control.
- Wall passing: Stand a few feet away from a wall and pass the ball against it using different parts of your foot. This drill improves ball control and receiving skills.
- Triangle passing: Set up cones in a triangular shape. Work with two other players and pass the ball between each other, moving around the triangle. This drill enhances passing accuracy and timing.
- One-touch passing: Set up cones in a line and pass the ball back and forth with a partner using only one touch. This drill improves quick decision-making and accuracy.
- Small-sided games: Play small-sided games in limited space that require quick passing and receiving skills. This helps simulate game situations and improves your ability to handle the ball under pressure.
Now with this, it’s a case of the more you practice passing and receiving.
Not only will you become a better passer.
Replicating the likes of Iniesta and Messi.
But you will improve your touch of the ball too.
I was once in a position where I struggled with passing and receiving.
Simply I hadn’t put the time into working on it.
I preferred to just shoot and avoided aspects such as this.
Which by the way had a knock-on effect on the sides of the game I cared more about.
However when you work on every area.
It really does translate to better performance not just in this area.
But towards your overall game.
Dribbling and Turning Practices
Now no matter what position you play on the pitch.
You are going to need to have the touch control that allows you to carry the ball.
Without being a clumsy player, who always looks like they are a second away from doing a loose touch.
That is ultimately going to give the ball away.
So working on your dribbling and turning is fundamental.
Whether you’re a midfielder or even a no-nonsense centre-back.
Just look at Manchester City’s backline for example.
So this is why every footballer should look to master these fundamental skills.
Now here are a few steps that you can take, in order to go about this.
1. Focus on close ball control: One mistake I see players doing when dribbling is taking huge touches and running onto them. While yes this works, if you want to improve your control you want to take your time dribbling while also having the ball in close proximity to both feet. This will allow you to make more precise touches that will help in taking your first touch to the next level.
2. Master quick changes of direction: Once you have mastered carrying the ball slowly at your feet you can look into incorporating turns while dribbling. This will help you hone down on how to keep control of the ball dribbling all while twisting and turning. Just as you would do on a football pitch.
3. Enhance agility and coordination: To take your dribbling to the next level, you won’t just need to perfect that touch. But work on your agility and coordination, which is something I focused on when trying to take up that centre-attacking midfield role. Dribbling without agility is so tough as you will feel off balance when trying to move your feet where you want to. So as a result incorporating various drills. Such as ladder drills and cone exercises can have a positive impact on your dribbling
4. Simulate game-like scenarios: This can feel a bit awkward at first, especially if you are only used to playing football with your mates. But if you can get some cones and sticks out, and set up real-life situations for yourself, then you can do drills that are close to a game setting. So when you next play a game, you already have an idea of how to move your feet when the ball comes into your feet, instead of panicking.
5. Increase the level of difficulty gradually: How do you get to the level you want with your touch while dribbling? Well, that is by upping the ante. So as you get comfortable with exercises, which will happen, as you practice regularly, you want to make it more challenging. Its by doing this, that you will be pushing yourself to become the best version on the pitch.
Remember that if you want to go about improving your touch, whether that be through passing or dribbling.
Consistency is going to be key.
This is how you will see progress, and get more used to having the ball at your feet and moving it at speed.
Developing Coordination and Balance for Better Touch
Developing coordination and balance is key to helping your touch.
Have you ever seen the way the top players move.
Not only do they take the ball well.
But they then take off at speed.
Whether that is quickly dribbling away.
Or firing a pass into a teammate’s feet.
Improving your touch when it comes to your feet is one step.
But being able to move your body, so you’re not falling over or tripping when.
Dribbing or passing.
Along with your passing, receiving and dribbling drills.
You can also add some work, in the form of balance exercises.
To compliment your other exercises, and to help you improve your stability and control.
Having joined an athletics club in my mid-teens.
I found that doing various balance exercises, which I will list below.
Helped me with my short and long-distance running.
Of which also aided me as I took football more seriously.
Now what are these balance exercises you can do, well here is five:
- Single-leg squats: These exercises help strengthen your leg muscles, which is vital for maintaining balance.
- Bosu ball lunges: Standing on a Bosu ball while performing lunges challenges your balance on an unstable surface and engages your stabilizing muscles.
- Balance board or wobble board exercises: Using a balance board or wobble board can improve your stability and coordination, mimicking the movements you would make on the field and enhancing your proprioceptive abilities.
- Plank variations: Incorporating plank variations like side planks or stability ball planks can improve your core strength and stability, which is crucial for maintaining balance during football activities.
- Balance beam exercises: If you have access to a balance beam, practising walking or performing exercises on it can help improve your balance and concentration.
By doing these you will find yourself, being able to control the ball.
But also glide around the pitch with more ease due to having better stability.
Enhancing First Touch in Different Game Situations
Kicking a ball at a local park with your friend.
Will help you in your passing.
However, it may not help you in an actual game.
That is because in the real game, it brings out different situations in which you need to react to.
So from a low-driven pass fired into a high ball, let’s have a look at game situations in which you can get ready for:
- Anticipate the ball: Firstly you want to be switched on, and be positioned ready to receive the ball. This will make the task of controlling the ball much easier.
- Focus on your technique: Take your time to focus on the part of the foot and the positioning of it, to make sure you get the best touch.
- Use your body to control the ball: Use your body has a shield, to give you the best opportunity of controlling the ball. Here you can use your chest, thighs and feet to do so.
- Control high balls: Position yourself underneath the ball and use your chest or head to pull of a first touch that remains close to your body, instead of straight into an opponent.
- Receive ground passes: Think ahead by opening your body to a position where not only you can control the ball with the inside or outside of your foot, but you can then do something with the ball. Whether that is passing or dribbling with it.
- Handle fast-paced balls: High-speed balls can be hard to control, however by using the right technique you can make this much easier. Position your feet in a way, where you can take the venom out of the ball, to keep in close contact to you. Use different parts of your foot, to also move a ball in a way that aids your next move.
- Practice different scenarios: Take the time to simulate each of these. Whether that be in training or getting your friend to fire balls into you at different heights and speeds, that replicates a game situation.
These are some of the best techniques that you can start practising in order to prepare for matches.
Remember that the better you prepare, the more comfortable you will be mentally and physically when any ball comes into your feet.
Controlling High Balls
High balls can be so awkward if you haven’t dealt with them before.
Having a ball literally coming down to you like a meteor, can cause you to panic.
And use the wrong technique.
I can recall countless times when I had a ball hit me square in the face.
Or funnily enough, the ball has just gone straight past me.
So when I say it’s important to practice these, I do mean it.
What can you do to help you with this?
You can work on these five aspects, so you aren’t reacting like I once was:
- Positioning: When you see that ball in midair, you have got to use your judgment in determining where it’s going to land. From there you can first position yourself so it’s going to hit you.
- Timing: Jump or leap to meet the ball at its highest point for better control over direction and speed.
- Use your body: Cushion the impact with your chest, shoulders, or head to redirect the ball.
- Soft touch: Apply a gentle touch to maintain possession and prevent bouncing away.
- Control with both feet: While you can potentially use your strong foot to bring the ball down. It’s important to work on both feet to control high balls. This will also make you more unpredictable for opponents.
Receiving Ground Passes
Receiving Ground Passes
To improve touch in football when receiving ground passes, follow these techniques:
1. Anticipate the pass: Position yourself effectively by reading the game and predicting where the pass will be played.
2. Get into the right body position: Make sure you’re facing the way in which the ball is coming to you. That will enable you to best deal with it and harder to defend against.
3. Use the inside of your foot: Open the inside of your foot in order to cushion the ball close to your body.
4. Soft touch: A soft touch that nicely puts the ball just in front of your feet, is what you want. This will help you execute the next move easier and quicker.
5. Stay aware of your surroundings: Look over your shoulder while calling for possession, that way you can take the ball without the fear of someone jabbing it from you. What you can also do as pointed out earlier is open your body in a way where you can shield, if receiving a ball either from a certain angle or while under pressure. For example, if you playing as a striker and have a centre half behind you, you want to put your body in a way where you can still control the ball, but stop the defender from getting to the ball.
Adding to what I have said throughout this article, you want to practice all these scenarios if possible.
That will best prepare you for each scenario, so you know exactly what to do when put in the position.
Handling Fast-Paced Balls
The game of football is played at a high intensity.
So if you are playing a match.
You will need to get up to speed and used to high-speed balls being fizzled into you.
Now just like receiving passes like the above.
You will be going through the same steps.
The only difference is that you will need to be more careful of your positioning.
This is to ensure that a ball is bouncing straight off your foot.
Or even worse rolling straight under your feet.
This is why preparation and positioning is so important.
1. Be on your toes anticipating a ball coming to you. Being stood still makes controlling a fastball much harder.
2. Look at the trajectory and speed of the ball, to work out where to place your feet
3. Position yourself appropriately, maintaining a balanced stance while facing the direction of the ball.
4. Utilize your body to shield the ball and create space for better control.
5. Pay keen attention to your first touch, using either the inside or outside of your foot to quickly and accurately control the ball.
6. Practice receiving fast-paced balls by having a teammate pass to you at increasing speeds.
7. Improve your ability to handle fast-paced balls in tight spaces by honing your ball control skills, such as dribbling and turning.
8. Make it a habit to dedicate practice sessions specifically to handling fast-paced balls.
Improving Touch Through Regular Practice and Repetition
Improving touch through regular practice and repetition is essential in football. To enhance ball control and accuracy, follow these steps:
1. Begin with fundamental ball control exercises. Practice juggling the ball using various parts of your feet to improve mid-air ball control.
2. Concentrate on dribbling drills. Utilize cones to weave in and out, using both feet to enhance close ball control.
3. Focus on improving passing accuracy. Practice short and long passes with both feet, emphasizing accuracy and control.
4. Work on receiving the ball. Master controlling the ball with your first touch, keeping it close to your feet and prepared for the next move.
5. Introduce game-like situations. Engage in small-sided games or drills that simulate real-game scenarios, where quick decision-making and ball control play a crucial role.
6. Incorporate speed and agility training. Enhance overall fitness and quickness to elevate your touch in football.
7. Maintain consistency. Regularly practice these exercises and drills to reinforce touch and develop muscle memory.
By dedicating time and effort to regular practice and repetition, you can effectively improve touch in football and elevate your overall game performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 1: How can improving my first touch in football benefit my performance on the pitch?
Improving your first touch in football can benefit your performance by allowing you to win time and space on the pitch, outwit opponents, and have more effective performances. With a great first touch, you can retain possession, make better decisions, dribble past opponents, retain possession, and take more shots at goal.
FAQ 2: What are some tips to improve my first touch in football?
To improve your first touch in football, you can follow these tips:
- Practice regularly
- Decide how and where to control the ball
- Work on both feet
- Focus on footwork and staying alert
- Understand the game
- Take advantage of open spaces
- Improve conditioning and strength
- Work on increasing mental strength
- Watch videos of professionals to learn from their techniques
FAQ 3: What are some drills that can help me improve my first touch in football?
There are several drills that can help you improve your first touch in football, including:
- Wall passes
- Pass and control with a friend
- Quick thinking passing
- First touch control on the training ground
- A 4×4 first-touch game
FAQ 4: How can I improve my running speed to enhance my first touch in football?
Improving your running speed can greatly enhance your first touch in football. You can work on your running speed through regular practice and incorporating speed training into your striker training sessions. Running with the ball at speed in a straight line and participating in speed training drills can help enhance your foot speed, allowing you to cover more ground quickly and execute your first touch effectively.
FAQ 5: How can pro players contribute to helping me improve my first touch in football?
Pro players can contribute to helping you improve your first touch in football by designing training sessions and providing guidance specifically aimed at enhancing your first touch skills. The Techne App, for example, offers weekly training sessions designed by pro players to improve and refine first-touch skills. By following their expert advice and training programs, you can work on your technique, ball control, and execute skills like a pro player.
FAQ 6: How can having a soft foot approach improve my first touch in football?
Having a soft foot touch is important for improving your first touch in football. A soft foot approach means keeping your foot relaxed and your ankle soft when receiving the ball. This allows for better control and enables you to cushion the ball effectively, reducing the chances of a weak touch or fumbling. Practising receiving the ball with a soft foot approach can greatly enhance your ability to protect the ball, play it quicker, and execute skills with precision.