Poor First Touch

I might have titled this article Sequence of Touches for proper use of the sequence of touches will prevent a lot of poor first touches on the soccer ball. Everyone can identify obvious poor first touch. In watching a match today time and again players for one team had what their coach refers to as a heavy first touch. This simply means the first touch a player has on the ball is played too far away from him to control the ball.  In effect a 50/50 ball is created by the players first touch.

That's the simple description or observation.  We must once again revisit my favorite question if we are to solve this problem?  Why do the players have a heavy first touch? 

Too often the player receiving is unprepared to receive the ball and has no idea what he will do with it once he does receive it.  A common scene is a heavy touch back in the direction the ball just came from. This isn't so much a technical consideration as it is a tactical consideration.  If the player knew his next play before his first touch he could prepare for it by properly positioning himself to execute that play. Then instead of heavy first touches right back into pressure we might see the proper sequence of touches being utilized.

There is also a shared responsibility with the passer to deliver a proper pass.  The pass needs to be to the correct foot leading the receiver into his next play. The pass must have proper weight behind it - pace. And when you pass the ball you must also pass information to the intended target.

These are but a few of the technical and tactical considerations that make the difference between a successful pass and a lost possession. One of our camp themes is based on pace of play and involves playing two-touch and eventually one-touch soccer. I warn coaches this camp experience will start off U-G-L-Y but with patience by midweek we will turn the corner. The reason for this is breaking down old habits and forming new habits. We basically retrain individual players and the collective teams brain - the way they think about passing and receiving. In doing so, things like heavy first touches disappear over the course of a few short camp sessions. We then leave it up to the coaching staff to continually reinforce the basic tenets of our philosophy on passing and receiving.

And trust me, we haven't re-invented the wheel. What we do is not radical and shouldn't be considered revolutionary. We simply teach the kids the proper details in the process of passing and receiving the ball in a manner that they take to with eagerness. The vast majority of players never learn these methods coming up through the youth ranks. As a result, key components in their thought process take place out of sequence with results like poor first touch.

Interested in learning more?  Contact us and allow us to help you and your team out.


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