How to Get More Touches in Youth Soccer
It’s no surprise that ball control is the most important skill that any youngster can master in the sport of soccer. Taking a look at some of the best players in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi also reveals the guys best equipped with the ball at their feet to dribble past people and control the ball. For youngsters, accumulating as many touches of the ball at your feet as possible can help you realize your potential and become the best player possible. This is because with each touch comes improved muscle memory as your legs learn to become one with the ball and harbor close control of it. Here are some tips on how to get as many touches on the ball as possible:
Practice soccer every day! While most youth teams only meet a couple times a week to train, that doesn’t mean that you can’t play the sport every day. Get together with other soccer-playing friends and play recreationally. Play on a shrunken field size in small-sided games (like 3 vs. 3 or 5 vs. 5) in order to force more touches on the ball. This will actually get you more practice than playing 11 vs. 11 on a full-sized field. With less players comes more time on the ball, which will lead to you becoming a better player. There are even youth soccer leagues around that only focus on small-sided games, completely ignoring the larger sport, instead waiting for the older years before such specs are introduced.
If you can’t find others to play soccer with you each day, simply head outside by your self. You can practice juggling or simply dribbling up and down the field with the ball at your feet. Such drills will help improve your ball control and inevitably help you become a top player.
Another thing you can do is try to play the central midfield position with your team. While such positional decisions are up to the coach, it never hurt anyone to try out a specific area on the field, and you can try out this position in recreational scrimmages whenever you want. The reason the heart of the field can be such a strong area to develop in is the amount of touches that this player has throughout a game. Midfielders are always near the action, no matter where on the field the ball may be. Therefore, they will see the most touches each and every game and will usually develop the best ball skills. Also, they can learn about every situation in the game due to their wide range on the field.
But when it comes to simply gaining touches, the responsibility falls on you. While games will take on a shape of their own, you can head outside with a soccer ball as often as you want to, and that will likely make the difference in your soccer career. Simply stated, the more you play and the more time you spend with your foot at the ball, the better soccer player you will eventually become!