Posts Tagged ‘poor ball control’

Improving Throw-ins: 180 Choices (part 2 of 4)

January 2, 2010

In the first post on improving throw-ins, I wrote about the importance of field players ‘checking-in’ to the thrower. In this post, I write about the 180 choices the thrower should consider when throwing in the ball.

Why 180? That is the number of degrees in a semi-circle and normally the number of choices available to the thrower. However, what I see a lot of teams do on throw-ins is simply throw the ball down the wings. This type of throw only represents about 30 degrees of a semi-circle (Area ‘A’ on the field below), leaving 150 choices unused (Area ‘B’).

There may be several reasons why a team chooses to simply throw it down the wing but I believe the number one reason for this is poor ball control. For example, if a ball is thrown to the center of the field or back to a defender and it is misplayed, a scoring opportunity is likely to develop for the other team. Therefore, it is much safer to throw it down the wing. If the ball is lost, it is lost in a safe part of the field.

Despite the possibility of losing the ball, I strongly believe that much more of the field should be utilized on throw-ins. However, the spot of the throw-in should always be taken into account before the throw.

  • If the throw-in is takes place anywhere between penalty boxes (Line ‘C’), a team should feel comfortable throwing in the ball anywhere on the field.
  • Inside a team’s own defensive area, the ball should be thrown down the wing as far as possible. While the ball can be thrown to the goalie, he/she is not allowed to handle the ball with his/her hands. If it is handled, such an infraction will result in an indirect free kick at the spot of the foul. And if the ball is lost in this area of the field, a team is asking for a lot of problems (Area ‘D’).
  • When a throw-in is to take place inside the opposing team’s penalty area, I’m a very strong proponent of having the best throw-in player throw the ball as far into the penalty as possible. More often than not, this will result in a very good scoring opportunity. If the best thrower is playing on the other side of the field, it is still a good strategy to have him/her take the throw-in (Area ‘E’).

As I stated in the ‘check-in’ post, the best way to teach and condition a player to see all options on a throw-in is to teach him/her with fundamental soccer drills and small sided games. The more the player plays with his/her head up, the more field he/she will see, the more aware he/she will be of teammates, and the more aware he/she will be of the available options. This visibility and awareness will then easily transfer over to the throw-in.

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Loopball™: Soccer Training Device that Works

December 26, 2009

As a youth soccer coach, my biggest surprise and a source of continuous frustration was the poor ball control (and poor first-touch) exhibited not just by my players but by nearly all players who I saw play. I remember thinking that this must just be a youth problem. As these player got older, they would certainly develop this skill, right? Much to my surprise, this was not the case. I found that a majority of high school varsity soccer players did not possess this critical and basic fundamental skill.

So I did something about it. I invented and patented a soccer training device called Loopball™. Loopball teaches and reinforces positively the art of stopping (and receiving) a soccer with the inside-of-the-foot. Most importantly,

  • Loopball works!
  • Loopball is FUN to use!

Visit the Loopball website to learn more about it.

There are many ways to improve soccer in the United States and a number of problems that need to be addressed. I am convinced that poor ball and a poor first-touch is the #1 problem in youth soccer today. What needs to happen is:

  • Players need to learn and understand the importance of ball control and the incredible power of the inside-of-the-foot.
  • Coaches and parents need to emphasize and reinforce the importance of ball control.
  • Proper form, mechanics, and technique need to be used and taught to control the ball with the inside-of-the-foot.

The Loopball training device and the companion Loopball curriculum will do this.

Stay tuned for many, many more posts on the subjects of Loopball, ball control, the first-touch, and inside-of-the-foot. Enjoy Loopball!