Controlling balls in the air

I was talking to a coach this week about how to control balls in the air, especially when heading the ball in training is off the menu for most clubs. I imagine that there will be much more of a contest to win the ball with a volley once it has dropped from head height – you could chest it down but that is a different skill altogether and one that is all about time and confidence.

Balls in the air are pretty hard to control especially for young players. They can be balls dropping from a cross or from a rebound or even a pass that they can intercept. When players are under pressure or have got ahead of a defender a ball in the air is there to be hit on the volley, to clear it away from goal or to smash it into the net.

It’s a technique that needs practice – but it will be worth it if you can get your players to volley the ball properly at both ends of the pitch. It is one of those things that becomes a winning difference for your team – and who doesn’t like to see a ball hit with pace on the volley into the net?

Like I say it takes practice so here are a few ways to give your players the skills to control balls in the air.

The best way to start is to use this simple sessions to develop the technique for kicking the ball when it’s not on the ground. To start your players off the EasiCoach activity Volley (U11-U14 activity) will help teach them the basic technique.

Now you can begin to move away from just two players volleying to each other and get them in a circle using the session Volley Pass to give them the confidence to use a volley – it’s great fun and you will get lots of laughs as they try to perfect it.

Talking of fun, for the younger age groups use this fun game Buddy Hollys to get your youngsters playing a session where they can develop the use of the volley.

And for the older age groups put the technique to the test in a small sided game Volley and Catch where they will have lots of opportunities to volley unlike a normal game where they may just get one chance.

Finally give them some individual coaching where you serve the ball to them in the session Volleying from different heights so they can smash it into the net. This is your end goal to getting the most out of a volley

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