First touch  






“Trapping” means bringing the ball under instant control. You can trap the ball with any legal body surface. As with everything in soccer, good trapping skills take a lot of practice, by yourself and with others.

Still, there are four basic elements to making a good trap.

  1. Move into the line of flight of the ball. Often, players make a poor trap because they are not positioned so they can see the ball well.
  2. Decide well before the ball arrives which body surface to use for the trap.
  3. Get your body into position so you can easily use the surface you want to make the trap. It’s very easy to lose control because you are reaching out instead of well positioned.
  4. Watch the ball all the way onto your contact surface (foot, thigh, chest etc.). Again, it’s easy to make a poor trap if you are looking out for opponents and are not watching the ball.

Beyond making the trap, a good player needs to make that trap work for him. “First touch” is the skill of trapping the ball and preparing it for immediate use – getting the ball into position for a pass, a dribble, or a shot.

First touch is partly about technique – the ability to control the ball instantly with a single touch and send it exactly where you want. All the fundamental skills exercises - and the trapping skills – will help.

But it’s equally your mental preparation – your ability to think ahead and decide where you want to play the ball before it even reaches you. You have to think it out in advance.


Key point:

Decide before the ball arrives where you plan to play it with your first touch, and which part of your body you are going to use.


YouTube Recommended:

Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United striker. Often plays alone up front. A genius at instant control of the ball, often arriving from long, hard, high balls.

In the video, watch how he knows exactly what he plans to do before making that key first touch to beat the defender.