What is Ball Mastery

Ball mastery is the demonstrated ability to manipulate the ball comfortably using the following contact surfaces of both feet:
 
·Sole of the foot
·Inside of the foot
·Outside of the foot
·Instep of the foot
·Heel of the foot
·Toe of the foot
 
Players who are comfortable, confident and creative with the ball are the players who possess a complete mastery of the ball. The Foothills Player Development Program involves teaching ball mastery as the foundation for the development of all attacking soccer skills.
 
It is never to late to teach bell mastery and players really enjoy the work. An added benefit to ball mastery is that players can practice it on their own in a very small space with a small ball. Ball mastery makes great soccer homework between training sessions.
 
Ball Mastery Movements 
 
Ensure that opportunity is provided to work with both feet for all exercises.

No.

Drill

Description

1

Walk Ball 1

Pull the ball across the body with the sole of either foot while moving forward. DO NOT allow the contact foot to come across the midline of the body.

2

Walk Ball 2

Pull the ball across the body with the sole of either foot while moving forward. Emphasis on keeping  foot contact with ball for as long as possible to ensure that ball moves all the way across body. Foot comes across midline.

3

Walk Ball 3

Pull the ball across the body from the L side of the body using the R sole of the foot, L sole of the foot from the R side.

4

Sole-Pull Touch Back

Pull with the sole and push with the laces, inside or outside of the foot. Stationary and moving forward. Keep toe of contact foot pointed downward and turned inward.

5

Inside and Outside Quick
Cuts

Cut the ball as quickly as possible across the body alternately using the inside and outside of the same foot. Tight, fast cuts without losing control.  Variation using shallow cuts.

6

Dribble Cut
(Outside-Inside Across)

Move ball from the inside of the R foot to the outside of the L foot to complete a soft L outside cuts followed then by a smooth inside cut with the L foot to return the ball to the outside of the original R foot. Repeat on other foot.

7

Four-Tap Sole-Pull-Inside Push

Being with four inside tapes followed by a sole pull and an inside push with the same foot. Next perform four inside taps followed by an inside push and sole pull with the opposite foot. Repeat. Use inside, laces and outside variations.

8

Two-Tap Sole Over

Player performs two tapes and a sole-over
(roll-over) to the opposite foot. Repeat in reverse direction.

9

Continuous Sole-Over

Player performs continuous sole-over movements moving the ball from the inside to outside of the same foot while moving forward.

10

Hot Ball

Player touches top of ball with the R sole the L sole. Move forwards, backwards and side to side.

11

Hot Ball Stutter

Same as above but using the same foot to repeatedly touch the ball, moving forward, backward and side-to-side. Use inside-outside-instep surfaces in order and then repeat.

12

Triangle

Begin with ball under right sole, pull back, inside R touch to L inside, back to R sole. Repeat. Stationary and moving forward.

13

Double Triangle Switch Behind

Complete two triangles on the right side, knock ball behind standing leg using inside of foot, repeat on left side.

14

V-Cuts

Begin with ball under R sole. Pull back, inside R push to L sole. Repeat.

15

Block C

Begin with ball under R foot. Pull back to R inside, push to L inside and then out to L sole. Repeat in opposite direction. Complete while moving forward. Lean Body slightly forward and keep ball underneath body.

16

Ball Skipping

Player skips while dribbling forward ensuring that the ball is touched after each hop. “Hop-touch, hop-touch”.

17

Front Foot Running

Quick, successive touches (about 8-10 over 20m) using the outside of the foot while running forward. Point toe down and in.

18

Juggling

Many variations. Toss-foot-catch. Toss-foot-thigh-catch.

19

Toe Tapping and Quarter Turn

Player performs four toe tapes followed by a left inside push and right sole pull with a quarter turn in the clockwise direction. Complete the drill in the counter-clockwise direction as well.

20

Sole-out-Inside-in

Begin with the R sole on the ball and move the ball to the right allowing the sole to slide off the R side of the ball. Next push the ball across the body to the L sole using the R inside. Repeat using the L foot.

21

Continuous Step-Over

Player performs step-over movements without foot touching the ball. Practice proper mechanics-solid foot plan, shifting weight, turning body. Move around ball for variety.

22

Continuous Shimmy

Player performs shimmy movements without foot touching the ball. Alternate feet or one foot continuous. Move around ball for variety.

23

Continuous Side-Step

Player performs continuous side-step movements without foot touching the ball. Move around for variety.

24

Continuous Scissors

Player performs continuous scissors movements without foot touching the ball. Move around the ball for variety

25

Combination Moves in Random Environment

Have player make up and contribute their own moves.

 

Footwork on Your Own

 
Assign players a set of two or three Ball Mastery exercises to practise each week. Players should be prepared to spend 10-15 minutes per day working on the exercises. All of the exercises can be completed in a 1.5m x 1.5m area with a tennis ball, small soccer ball, futsal, futbol de salao, or regular soccer ball.
 

1v1 Moves

 
There are many 1v1 moves in soccer and every player should have a “move” that they can rely in order to beat a defender. Most good players have more than one move and most good players can perform the moves at pace with either foot. There are 20 moves described here, and while some of these moves may seem unrealistic for use in games, they are worth teaching so that players learn to experiment. Through experimentation players will discover what moves best suit their styles and position. In addition players will gain confidence in having a number of options at their disposal. Some will even invent their own moves!

No.

Move

Description

Complexity
(L,M,H)

1

Step Over

Step over the ball as if kicking the ball. Plant the step over foot forcefully to “sell” the feint. Next accelerate away with the ball on the outside of the step over foot in the opposite direction of the fake kick.

L

2

Side Step

Step to one side behind the call as if to take the ball on the inside of the foot. Accelerate away with the ball on the outside of the same foot.

L

3

Scissors

Step over the ball from inside to outside as if take it on the outside of the foot. Accelerate away with the ball on the outside of the foot.” Wrap the ribbon around the ball”

L

4

Double Step Over

Single step over followed by a scissor followed by acceleration away with the ball on the outside of the foot.

H

5

Matthew’s Move
(Inside-Outside)

Drag the ball inside with the inside of the foot then push it back in the opposite direction with the outside of the same foot and accelerate away on the outside of the foot.

M

6

Reverse Matthew’s

Drag the ball inside with the inside of the R foot and fake to push the ball outside but allow the ball to continue across the body to the outside of the L foot and accelerate away.

M

7

Drag Scissors

Drag the ball inside with the inside of the foot and step around the ball with that foot allowing the ball to continue of the second foot.

M

8

Outside Hop

Hop to the side behind the ball with the L standing leg as if to take ball away with outside L. Accelerate away with the ball on the outside of the R foot.

L

9

Shimmy

Turn knee and outside of foot toward ball as if to take away with outside of that foot. Sweep ball away with inside of other foot.

L

10

Shimmy Step Over

Turn knee and outside of foot to ward ball as if to take away with outside of that foot. Sweep other foot over ball as if to take ball away with inside of other foot. Then take ball away in the original direction with the outside of the step over foot. Simply a shimmy followed by a step over.

H

 
 

12

Drag Pull

Pull back ball with the sole and then drag ball inside with the inside of the same foot. Follow this by accelerating away with the ball on the outside of that same foot. (Pull back with a Matthews)

L

13

Double Sole

Pull ball across the body with sole of one foot then pull behind with the sole of the second foot and accelerate away.

M

14

Sole Step Over

Pull ball across the body with sole of the R foot while moving forward and allow the ball to continue rolling forward. Complete a scissor movement around the ball with the L foot and accelerate away with the outside of the L foot.

H

15

Sole Over Scissor

Perform a sole over movement with the R foot while moving forward and allow the ball to continue rolling forward. Complete a scissor movement around the ball with the L foot and accelerate away with the outside of the L foot.

H

16

Step Over Tap Through

Step over with one foot and tap through with the trailing foot.

M

17

Hook Turn Step Over

Hook with sole or inside of the foot bring ball across body. Step over with the same foot and accelerate away with the outside of that step over foot.

M

18

Pull Spin

While running with the ball perform a sole plant with the front foot to lightly pivot on the ball. Next perform a sole pull with opposite foot and turn and go forward with the ball. Also called the “buzz” or Maradona”

M

 
Stops and Starts

19

High wave (Locomotive)

Fake a sole pull back followed by a lace push forward with the same foot.

M

20

Low Wave

Fake along side the ball instead of over it and push forward with laces.

M

21

Step Kick

Step lightly on the ball with the sole of the front foot and kick forward with the trailing foot and accelerate.

H

22

Sole Kick

Fake a kick and stop the ball with the sole of the foot and change direction. A great move and very useful as it freezes the defender.

M

 

Exercises to Teach 1v1

 
Like teaching anything else in soccer it is critical that players achieve a certain degree of early success so that they learn to trust the moves they have learned. Players need space and time initially so that they can concentrate on the mechanics involved. As they progress the coach can introduce pressure to the learning situation in a number of ways:
 
 
 
·Decrease the space
·Decrease the time
·Increase player traffic
·Add direction (force players to move in a predefined direction)
·Add passive defenders
·Add active defenders
·Add another attacker
·Keep score in game

 

No.

Pressure

Drill Description

Organization

1

None

Clock work drill

Up to four players face a cone, 2m away, at quarter hour positions.

2

Low

1v1 across an imaginary line to goals 10-14m apart.

Two small goals on a line 10-14m apart with a player in either side of the line.

3

Low

Players perform 3-4 moves in a grid or circle and then pass to perimeter player and trade roles. Have 3-5 players in the grid.

20x20m grid

4

Med

Players on opposite corners of grid attack coach who is acting as passive defender in the centre of the grid. Players continue to opposite line after beating coach.

20x20 grid with players at corners and coach in middle. Players may also dribble towards each other and perform move to avoid approaching player.

5

High

Defender plays ball to attacker on opposite side of grid and defends. Attacker can score on either goal located to his L or R

Two small goals one on each side of a 15-20x15-20 grid. Two lines of players facing each other on sidelines adjacent to goals.

6

High

Same as 5 except that player tries to get to the opposite end line with ball. Encourage quick attack.

20x45m grid with target at each end- a ball on cone works well or a 1m goal.

7

High

1v1 on two small goals located on one end line. Player on line between goals passes ball to player on other line opposite him to initiate 1v1 drill.

12x12m grid with two small goals on one end line near corners.

8

High

1v1 on two small goals locates on one end line with receiving ball on the flank after a wall pass with a coach. Coach changes positions to receive and make pass to vary the demands on the players. Change starting position of players as well. Add body fake before receiving pass.

 

9

High

2v2 in grid with a goal scored by dribbling through cones at either end.

20x20-30m grid with goals at opposite ends.

10

High

1v2 in grid with a goal scored by dribbling through cones at either end.

20x20-30m grid with goals at opposite ends.

 
  

Changes of Direction

 
The following changes of direction may involve direction change from 45°to 180°. It is important that players develop an arsenal of cuts and turns so that they are capable of shielding the ball, eluding defenders and creating space. Ball mastery provides the groundwork for changes of direction.

No.

Move/Drill

Description

1

Outside Cut

Cut the ball back using the outside of the dribbling foot. Change of direction is 180 degrees. After the cut the dribble is on the opposite foot (away from the defender). Don’t let ball get caught up in feet.

2

Inside Cut

Cut the ball using the inside of the non-dribbling foot to change the direction 180 degrees. Slight un-weighting as player turns and to change direction 180 degrees. After the cut the dribble is on the opposite foot (away from defender).

3

Hook Turn (Inside-in)

Twisting (turning) away from an opponent using an inside cut to change direction 90 degrees. OR an inside cut using the dribbling foot to cut the ball across the defenders body 9 turning into the defender). This is a higher risk cut, but there are times where it is useful.

4

Sole Pivot or Pull Back

Change direction by stopping ball with the sole and pulling the ball back while pivoting (turning) away from defender. Next touch is with the opposite foot. Some coaches Advocate turning (pivoting) towards the defender, turning your back to the ball.

5

Chruyff Turn

Feint pass or shot follower by tapping the ball behind the plant foot to change directions. Important to turn the toe of the tapping foot inward.

6

Reverse Step Over

Perform step over move over the ball and then pivot on planted step over foot to take ball away in opposite direction. Take ball away on other foot.

7

V Cuts

Sole pull to opposite foot and take away inside or outside. Can also be done to same foot as an alternate move.

8

Beckenbauer Turn

Step over move and take ball on outside of step over foot
followed by two more outside touches to complete a turn.

9

Reverse Scissors

With the ball at midline on and in front of the body, bring R foot across the front of the ball, plant and pivot on the R foot while turning the body 180 degrees. Finish with body on exact opposite side of the ball facing the opposite direction from start.

 
Tip: Use mental imagery to have players visualizes a defender on his/her right shoulder, left shoulder, behind or in front. Then have players execute a turn to elude the defender or shield the ball.
 
 
 
Juggling
 

Beginner 1

Toss ball from hands to the R thingh and return the ball to the hands with the thigh. Next toss to the L thigh and return. Repeat. Increase to 2 or more touches with the thigh. Next alternate thighs: toss-R-L-catch.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10-15 minutes
4-5 times/week

Beginner 2

Toss ball from hands to the R instep and return the ball to the hands with the instep. Next toss to the L instep and return to hands. Repeat. Increase to 2 more touches with the same foot. Next alternate feet: toss-R-L-catch.

Beginner 3

Toss the ball from the hands and repeat the following sequence:
Right thing-right foot catch
Left thigh-left foot catch

Beginner 4

Toss>R-thigh> L-thigh>L-foot> R-foot>catch repeat.

Beginner 5

Toss>head>R-thigh> L-thigh>L-foot> R-foot>catch repeat.

Intermediate 1

Juggle the ball in the following sequence: instep>thigh>head>instep>thigh>head, make no more than two touches in a row with same body surface.

Intermediate 2

Make two touches with the same body surface and then switch to a new body surface. Ensure that both L and R body surfaces are used in equal proportion.

Intermediate 3

Head and thighs only. After every third or fourth contact on the thighs pop the ball up to the head for one or two head contacts and then return the ball to the thighs. Use the feet only to save the ball from hitting the ground. Use both thighs in equal proportion.

Intermediate 4

Thighs only in the following sequence: 3L>3R>4L>4R>3L>3R>4L>4R…

Intermediate 5

Head only juggling. Toss the ball to your head and make as many consecutive head contacts as you can. Progress to varying the height of the juggles.

Intermediate 6

Quick feet juggling. Juggle the ball with lots of quick touches (bottom of the ball should stay at or below knee height) using the instep only. Use your dominant foot to learn and add your non-dominant foot as often as you can.

 
 
 

For the following exercises, the ball must begin on the ground- no hands.

Advanced 1

Quick feet juggling while alternating feet every touch. Juggle the ball with lots of quick, low touches (bottom of ball should stay at or below knee height) using the instep only. R>L>R>L….

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10-15 minutes
4-5 times a week

Advanced 2

Quick feet juggling with the instep only while switching feet every two touches. Progress to switching every three touches, then four, then five.

Advanced 3

Quick feet juggling while alternating feet every touch and kicking the ball up to the head for every single touch with the head and then returning to quick feet juggling. Kick the ball up to your head every 10-12 touches.

Advanced 4

Instep juggling while keeping the ball as far away from the body as possible. Change feet every two or three touches.

Advance 5

Instep foot juggling while kicking the ball chest high on every contact.

Advanced 6

Alternate between quick feet juggling, thigh juggling, head juggling and chest high feet juggling.

Expert 1

Juggle the ball using various surfaces while moving in a straight line across the width of a field and back.

Expert 2

Juggle with the feet only and hold the ball on your instep for five seconds every 20 touches.

Top Dog

Juggle with every surface, balance ball on instep every few touches and kick the ball up and turn 360 degrees to resume juggling.

 
What level are you?

Beginner

1-10 touches

Intermediate

11-60 touches

Advanced

61-300 touches

Expert

301-999 touches

Top Dog

1000+ touches