Turn at training… or at home

I’m back at home… another lockdown and all forms of youth soccer have been put on hold. So what I am going to do is send out homework for my players to help them keep up their skills during the time they are away from the sport. But I know that not all of you are in lockdown at the moment and the sessions below can be used at training with your team as well.

Turning with the ball has always been a skill that draws names from the great players through the ages – think of the Cruff turn or Zidane spin turn. It used to make me wonder how players like Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Zinedine Zidane or Johan Cruyff could turn their opponents inside out, game after game – I now know it needs practice and from a young age. Cruyff made his famous turn because he had nowhere to go when boxed in on the pitch, so he turned. The great players can turn anywhere on the pitch whenever they need to but don’t think they got that skill easily.

Hard work is important when players are training and now is a good time to start.

First, take a look at Vital skills – The hook turn. Here you can get your players to watch the skill in the video and then practise it in a game.

Turning with the ball is relevant for all age groups but players must start practising it in the U7-U10 development phase. In my EasiCoach curriculum, the sessions Dribble the ball 5 yards and turn (U9 activity) and Develop a turning skill (U10 activity) are simple ways to get players turning with the ball, while Develop turning skills (U14 game) works well for slightly older players with a bit more technical ability.

You should also work on an end product that is created by turning with the ball… In Shoot on the turn the player turns and finishes by shooting. This is a great way to take a player’s mind off the turn and focus on the shot so he learns to do it without having to think about it.

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