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How to make players be first to the ball?

first to the ball drills player not reacting quick enough

Hi Mike,

Being first to the ball is a vital skill for both defenders and attackers. The skill often stems from being in the mindset of wanting and preparing to get in front to receive or intercept the ball. 

Make sure you are pushing your players in training to get in front of their player so that when it comes to a game, they're in the frame of mind to do the same on the field. 

This drill is a great one to start with the basics to give a foundational understanding of what the players need to do. You can then progress it into bigger practices and ultimately match-day.

I hope this helps!

Movement before receiving the ball

Video / Animation
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Description:

The red player (1) stands between the cones closest to the blue player.

When red player 1 is ready to receive the ball they move towards their marker before checking off the player and making a run to either the left, centre or right gate.

The blue player then plays the ball towards red player 1 who receives the ball and plays a one touch pass back.

The red players change roles when the defender intercepts the ball from the attacking player.


Coaching Points:

Red players must move with power and determination.

Encourage movement towards other spots, not just back and forth, anything to shake off their defender and make themselves available for the pass.

To vary this drill the blue player can play a lofted pass that the red player has to control.

Hi Mike,

Being first to the ball is a vital skill for both defenders and attackers. The skill comes from having the right mindset to get the players constantly thinking of getting ahead of their player to receive the pass or make an intercept.

Regularly push your players at training to be first to the ball so that it becomes a habit they take into game day. This drill is perfect for developing foundational skills before progressing it into a bigger practice and ultimately match day.

I hope this helps!

Movement before receiving the ball

Video / Animation
Log in to view

Description:

The red player (1) stands between the cones closest to the blue player.

When red player 1 is ready to receive the ball they move towards their marker before checking off the player and making a run to either the left, centre or right gate.

The blue player then plays the ball towards red player 1 who receives the ball and plays a one touch pass back.

The red players change roles when the defender intercepts the ball from the attacking player.


Coaching Points:

Red players must move with power and determination.

Encourage movement towards other spots, not just back and forth, anything to shake off their defender and make themselves available for the pass.

To vary this drill the blue player can play a lofted pass that the red player has to control.

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Join now for free
  • search our library of 500+ football drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans