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. So how do you coach controlling balls in the air? MORE
Players should be comfortable at dealing with balls at whatever height they arrive – and that means being able to control a ball that’s too high to control with feet or thighs or too low to head.
What this session is about
- Bringing the ball under control.
- Creating space.
- Good first touch.
What to think about
- Move into the ball’s line of flight
- Arch the back, turning the chest into a platform
- Bend the knees
- Take as much pace off the ball as possible by withdrawing the chest on impact and keeping the chest relaxed
- Keep the head steady
- 2 players per group
- 1 ball per group
|Warm up||Session||Developments||Game Situation||Warm Down|
|10-15 minutes||10 minutes||15 minutes||10 minutes||10-15 minutes|
What you get your players to do
- First player throws the ball underarm at chest height to second player standing opposite.
- Second player controls the ball with their chest then catches the ball.
- Second player throws the ball at chest height to the first player who chests the ball and catches it. Repeat the practice.
- Rather than catch the ball, the receiving player uses the top of their foot to bring the ball under control with one touch before it bounces.
- Receiving player passes the ball back.
- The next development involves the receiving player chesting to the left or right. To deflect the ball to one side they turn the upper body on contact.
- Before the ball bounces the receiving player uses the top of their foot (use the right if turning right) to control and guide the ball in their chosen direction, ready to dribble.
- Make sure players practice turning both left and right.
Try this 4v4 game. A target player throws the ball to one of the attackers who ideally controls it on the chest – into space and away from pressure – before passing to a team-mate. The ball has to be played to a teammate before the attacking team can pass the ball back to either target player.
Award points for every successful chest control and pass, and for every time a defender intercepts or wins the ball.
What to call out
- “Try to be relaxed”
- “Don’t bring your arms in too close or you risk the ball striking them”
- “Cushion’ the ball”