May 10, 2008
So play simple and smart soccer, give and get the ball and move it quickly. Try to attack the space when you have the ball. See if you can draw a defender in, and then release the ball just when they're about to close you down or win the ball. There's a certain flow to the game of soccer when things are going well. Everyone is on the same page, fighting for one another and sharing the ball.
That's the type of soccer you want to play. This often comes from sharing and moving the ball quickly with one and two touches passing. A simple and great exercise is to dribble in a small square and have an opponent try to take the ball from you. Use your body to shield the ball from the defender. Always keep your body between the ball and the defender. Tell your friend or the person who is acting as the defender to fight for the ball with a game like intensity, pushing you and playing so hard they are almost fouling you.
Add more players into the game as you get more confident holding on to the ball and holding off the defender. If the defender wins the ball you switch roles. This game can eventually build into a possession game that focuses on shielding. Call out to stop play now and again and whichever team doesn't have the ball has to do push-ups or a few sprints as punishment. When shielding the ball, and there's space, carry the ball into the open space - all the while shielding the ball from the defender.
Carry the ball with the inside of your foot, this is where you will get the most control, kind of dragging the ball along as the defender pushes against you. Make sure to bend your knees and have a strong sense about you that this person is not going to get the ball from you no matter what. Then, try to work on cutting the ball back and forth. Carry the ball with the inside of your foot for a few yards and then cut back with the outside of your foot and shield the ball with the outside of your foot.
As you get better, practice shielding the ball using all parts of both feet. Shielding the soccer ball, protecting it with your body, is one of the most underrated skills in soccer.
As you get more comfortable, try shielding the ball for a few yards with the inside of your right foot and playing it to your left and carrying it in the other direction. Next, use the sole of your foot to turn or switch directions.
Try to use all the different surfaces of your foot without letting the defender get a touch on the ball. Chop and cut the ball back with the inside and outside of both feet. Keep the defense honest by turning and taking the defender on from time to time.
This way they know you're actually trying to get past them and not just hold the ball. For a skinny and small soccer player he knows how to protect the ball. If you see a defender rushing to close you down and win the ball, throw in a fake to slow them down.
Either way, this simple move will freeze the defender who's rushing at you. This move will surprise them a bit and slow them down so you have time to control the ball. As a team keep the game flowing by ball swinging the ball from one side to the other to find the best ratio of numbers and the most space. Release pressure by switching the ball to the other side of the soccer field. If you watch the best teams in the world, like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester United, they move the ball from one side of the pitch to the other looking for space and a numerical advantage.
You want to draw the other team to one side of the field and then quickly switch the ball to the other side when they start to close you down. Try playing the ball into the forwards feet, so the defense collapses into the center, and when the forward lays the ball back, you can swing the ball out wide and into the corner to get a cross off.
There are a number of different ways to switch the ball, and open up the defense, but the key is to keep the ball moving and play one and two touch soccer.
The Quick Switch - Blind Pass. Think about playing a pass or cross that will surprise the other team. Dribble to the right with your right foot and then swing a pass to the left, sending almost a blind pass to the other side of the soccer field. It's the opposite way if you use your left.
Dribble to the left side of the field and swing a ball back to the right side of the field. The defender on the other side will not expect the pass.
Hopefully you will catch the opposing team sleeping. You are selling the idea that you're going to the side you're dribbling towards when in fact you're intention is to swing the ball over to the opposite side. Teammates will adjust to the expectation that a switch is coming.
Sometimes you can dribble a few times in the opposite direction you really want to play the ball - to throw the defense off - then you swing the ball to the other side of the field. It doesn't have to be a long switch, just a quick cut back to the other direction can create a goal scoring opportunity.
Of course, this is a pass that has to be done at the right time and the right part of the field. It might a counter attack or when you have the ball in the attacking third. As a rule almost, when you have the opportunity and are open, swing the ball in for a cross. Besides finding your intended target with the cross, and them scoring, you never know what else could happen. For this, Pep Guard. Having won the last three editions of the European competition, the Merengue leave for this new season with several changes.
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