Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Ball Mastery: Elevating Your Game on the Field

Video ball control drills

As a footballer, your ability to progress and excel on the field is determined by a combination of natural talent and learned skills. Whether you possess natural ability or not, proper soccer training is essential for improvement. This article will highlight some key soccer drills and skills that can help you enhance your game, focusing on ball mastery and ball control.

Ball Control Drills in Soccer

Using Cones for Dribbling

One of the best ways to improve and master your ball control skills is by using cones during training. Setting up cones in a straight line allows you to weave and dodge your way through them. Start with a basic drill where you dribble the ball through the cones using one foot, caressing the ball with the inside of your foot as you pass through each cone. Then, use the outside of your foot to move the ball through the next gap. Repeat this process with varying speeds to enhance your touch and prepare for game-like situations.

Dribbling with Cones

How to Run More Effectively with the Ball

To improve your speed and agility while keeping the ball under control, it is important to implement speed training in your regular soccer practice. Focus on pushing forward and exploding into acceleration, using all the energy from your standing leg. Avoid braking on the outside foot when dodging and weaving, as this slows you down. Keep the ball close to your foot and utilize the inside or outside of your foot when moving between posts or cones. This will enhance your speed with the ball and make your dribbling more efficient.

Speed and Agility Training

Trapping and Ball Control

Practicing trapping and ball control skills with a partner can greatly improve your ability to control the ball during a game. Start by having your partner roll the ball into your feet, allowing you to cushion it with the inside of your foot and stop it dead before returning it with a pass. Once you have mastered this skill, progress to having your partner throw the ball at different heights, challenging you to control it with different parts of your body. Work your way up from controlling the ball at knee height to chest height and even with your head. These drills will enhance your overall ball control skills.

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Trapping and Ball Control

Wall Passing

Wall passing is a perfect way to practice your first touch and ball mastery without the need for additional equipment. Start by passing the ball against the wall with the inside of your foot and cushioning it when it comes back to you. Focus on the direction and control of your first touch when cushioning the ball. As you progress, add movement to the drill by setting up cones to create a triangle shape. Pass the ball with one foot, open up your body for the return, and push the ball just in front of you in the desired direction. Alternate between feet and increase the pace to improve control in different game scenarios.

Wall Passing

Ball Mastery

Toe Touches

Toe touches are a great way to focus on manipulating the ball and getting comfortable with it. Place the ball in front of you and touch it with one foot at a time using your toes. This exercise helps you control the ball with the tip of your toes, making full skills in a game situation easier to execute.

Rocking Sole

Mastering the rocking sole skill allows you to deceive defenders and create opportunities on the field. To perform this skill, roll the ball from the inside of your foot onto the outside of your foot, using the studs for the movement. Simultaneously, hop from side to side with your other leg to facilitate the movement.

Sole Rolls

Similar to the rocking sole, sole rolls involve moving the ball from one foot to the other. Roll your foot over the top of the ball, using the sole (the studs), and move the ball into the direction of the other foot. Repeat this action, focusing on repetition and control to improve your ball control skills.

Inside Push and Pull

With the ball in front of you, drag it back and control it with the same foot using the sole near the toe area. Cushion the ball with the inside of your foot and prepare for the next touch by dragging the ball back with the opposite foot. The inside push and pull technique is effective for taking defenders out of the game and creating more space on the field.

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Laces Push and Pull

Similar to the inside push and pull, this technique emphasizes using the laces or the toe area for quicker ball movement. Drag the ball back with the sole of your foot and control it with your laces, nudging it forward. Repeat this technique to develop control and agility while dribbling.

Ball Mastery Skills

Ball Control Skills to Use During a Game

The Drag Back

The drag back is an often overlooked skill that can create space and give you an advantage over opponents. To perform this skill while running, approach a cone or marker while dribbling the ball, then quickly stop the ball with the sole of your foot. Immediately drag the ball back in the opposite direction and use dribbling skills to move away from the defender. Shift your body weight to sell the skill and confuse the defender, creating additional space on the field.

Step Over

The step over is a skill that can effectively deceive defenders and change direction quickly. Dribble using one foot, predominantly using the outside of the foot. As you approach a defender, perform a loop with the foot you have been dribbling with, moving it over the ball. Shift your body weight to the opposite side and use the opposite foot to change direction. Selling the step over requires shifting your body weight convincingly and bending your knee to enhance the deception.


The elastico, also known as the flip flop, is a skill made famous by Ronaldinho. Start by shifting the ball from the outside of your foot to the inside in front of you. With your standing leg, add a hop and incorporate movement by shifting your body forward and backward. Once comfortable, attempt a full elastico by touching the ball with the outside of your foot in one direction before quickly touching it back in the opposite direction with the inside of your foot. Repeated practice will enhance your ball mastery.

Fake Shot Sole Roll

This skill is particularly effective for disorienting defenders, especially when in a wide position or attempting a shot at goal. Roll the ball out of your feet in front of you, open up your body as if you are about to shoot or cross the ball, then roll the ball back across your body onto your other foot. This creates more space to make your next move. Practice continuously rolling the ball between your feet after each fake shot or cross to improve agility and dynamic footwork.

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The Cruyff Turn

The Cruyff turn is a skill that enhances ball control and creates space by deceiving defenders. To perform the Cruyff turn, approach a defender while dribbling with the ball on the edge of your foot. Quickly drag the ball back in the opposite direction using the inside of your foot and explode away from the defender. This skill requires timing and the ability to sell the deception to create space on the field.

The Stanley Matthews Skill

Named after legendary English winger Stanley Matthews, this skill is highly effective when used in match situations. While running at a defender, dribble the ball on the edge of your foot. Take a big step with your non-ball carrying foot to convince the defender you are going in that direction. Shift your body weight convincingly and explode with the other foot, taking the ball with you into space and past the defender. This simple yet effective skill can significantly enhance your game.

The Chop

Popularized by Cristiano Ronaldo, the chop is a skill that allows you to change direction while maintaining your momentum. Before running with the ball, ensure you have mastered overall ball control. To chop the ball to the left, hop in the air and use your right foot to slice off the end of the ball. Use your thighs if you want more power, and aim for the inside of your foot when striking the ball. This skill is useful when you need to quickly change direction while maintaining control.

Ball Control Skills in a Game


In the world of football, everyone aspires to play to the best of their abilities. Whether you aim to shine on the biggest stage or simply enjoy the game at the grassroots level, repetitive training is the key to success. Ball control drills and ball mastery are critical aspects of your performance on the field. With practice, dedication, and a commitment to continuous improvement, you can elevate your game and make a lasting impact. So, get out there, train hard, and showcase your ball control skills on the pitch.


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Ball Mastery: Elevating Your Game on the Field