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Why you should coach ball skills

I cannot stress enough what a difference it makes if you get players to practice ball skills every week at training. I spend the first 10 minutes of every session letting the players have a ball each and practice ball skills like turning, step overs, feints, left and right dribbles – it is a fantastic way to start the session and encourage players to be more effective with the ball at their feet.

I have two players in my Under 9 team that also do Futsal as part of their training programme. One of the things they are really good at is using skills to master the ball – and they can use a chipped pass with devastating effect.

Having foot skills is a great attribute in matches – it allows the individual to do things that other players of the same age don’t do and it takes the opposition by surprise. And it helps with ball possession.

My players use through passes and spread the ball wide with great touch and control but the chipped pass or the chip over the goalkeeper and into the net is one of the more effective ball skills they use and it is not just the Futsal guys that do it.

It is something players can perfect on their own in the back yard once a coach has given them the technique to chip the ball. And don’t forget all the other individual skills the players can do at home especially keepy uppies. Set some targets and see if they have beaten their record each week.

Try these sessions that I use when I’m getting my players to adopt the skill of chipping the ball.

Let’s start with How to chip the ball – players need to hone their technique so they can use it in a match when they are 1v1 with the goalkeeper or chip the ball over the defence.

Now we can move on to simple chipping exercises. Flick n chips will increase players’ “feel” for the ball, making them more comfortable with passing and receiving.

For younger players you need to give them something that is fun but gets across the idea of chipping the ball. Chippy is a great session to have fun with younger players.

Finally at the end of your coaching sessions this is a great way to get players to pick up all the balls … by chipping them into the ball bag. How to teach chipping is one of my favourite sessions and one you can try yourself or get your fellow coaches to try to do!

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