When developing your abilities in Football, you don’t have to be with your team in order to perfect your skills. A lot of football development starts from within and perfecting the skills by yourself. This will help enhance your own abilities before taking it on to working with your team and connecting it as a team sport. We have several football drills set out here for young, budding footballers who are just starting their journey into football. These football exercises can be used for PE at home or individual football play at school or clubs.
Football For Beginners Drill 1 – Ball Control
Equipment – A size 5 football and cones
As players progress in Football, ball control is more and more important for ball retention and game development. Moving on from our other sessions with younger players, we have some drills for taking ball skills on to the next level. These can be for secondary school aged players in classes or at home on their own. All will help with developing the ball control, ball skills and game attributes that will assist players when moving into dribbling, passing and shooting.
Set Up – If working with several players then provide each player with a grid made of 4 cones at 3m apart. If individual then find some space
Activity One – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
A step up from keeping up is moving the ball around the body. Once a player feels comfortable keeping the ball up with their feet, they can move up the body to other areas for control. First moving the knees, moving the ball from knee to knee to keep it off the ground. Then players can move it to incorporate the shoulders as they go up the body. Finally, players can try to keep the ball in the air as much as they can using just their head. Having the segregated areas for each player will help them with spacing and bumping into any other players. The aim is to get the ball going straight up in the air.
Once the player feels comfortable controlling the ball with their feet, knees, shoulders and head then the challenge is to go up one side of the body and down the other. This means, start with one foot, say the right and control the ball with a keep up, then use the right knee, right shoulder, then head, left shoulder, left knee and finish with the left foot.
Activity Two – Overhead Flick and Turn
The next stage for ball control is trying to do this from a stationary to a moving position. This helps move the play forward in a game, and can help players get out of a trapped position. To do this, players need to use start with the ball until the foot they will use to flick. They roll the ball back and get the ball trapped between their toe and shin (as practiced in our 7-12 year old blog). They then brings their knee up and flick the ball up and towards them. Whilst the ball is in the air, the player then turns 180° and control the ball as it comes back over their head.
As players become comfortable with this, they can practice controlling the ball on the move and so once they have flicked it over the head they move straight into a dribble.
Activity Three – Balance The Ball
We have done balance in ball control in our previous blogs, so to help improve players balance as they get older and more proficient at the skill, we need to find new challenges. The first one for this is to balance the ball on the back of the neck. To do this, players need to bend over forward, and have their arms stretched out. Players can start with having the ball placed there and then trying to stop the ball from rolling off their neck. Once a player feel they are good at this they can try getting down into a press up position and then back up again without the ball dropping.
To make the activity harder, players can try getting the ball from the ground to their neck. They do this by flicking the ball up, bending over and trying the catch the ball on their neck, between the shoulder blades. The player can then let the ball roll over the back of their head, flicking the head back up so the ball loops in the air, and then control it with their feet.
Activity Four – Head Tennis
To help improve the ball control with the head, players can start by interacting with another player, or use a wall. If a player is on their own and using a wall, the player will start by throwing the ball against the wall so it hits the wall above the head. Then the player can head the ball back at the wall and then get in position ready to head it again to keep the rally going. The best way to head the ball is to use the temple and face the way that you want to head the ball.
If a player has another person to play with then they can practice with a game of head tennis. To do this, players can face each other over 1m apart and control the ball to cushion it to the other player. If the ball drops then the player picks it up and starts again. How many can the players do together?
Activity Five – Wall to Control
To help improve ball control with parts of the body with it coming at pace the best way to practice on your own is to use a wall. Players can start with the ball in the hands and then kick this against a wall. When the ball returns players can control with several parts of their body. If the players start with their chest, players can kick the ball high against the wall and then position their body to be ready to control this. To do this, players have their legs at shoulder width apart, lean back slightly so when the ball hits the chest the ball does not bounce forward. The aim is to take the power out of the ball, so it drops down directly from the chest to the feet.
If a player does have someone else, the can practice by kicking the ball at the other player gently to their chest and the other player controls it and then passes back. In either method, players can improve their form by increasing the speed of the ball, but keeping it an adequate level.
These are five impactful individual football activities that can be used at home, Clubs or school to help maintain good ball control whilst keeping players social distanced. This can be repeated to help encourage better control, whilst also moving on to other session.
Keep checking out our blogs for more individual football drills to do skills classes or PE at home. Coming soon are:
Football For Beginners Drill 2 – Dribbling
Football For Beginners Drill 3 – Passing
Football For Beginners Drill 4 – Shooting