Posted by Jeff Stiffler on Dec 04 2003 at 04:00PM PST
By: Coach Jeff Stiffler “Remember that POSSESSION is Everything” in the Game of Soccer. Soccer is truly a TEAM sport. A team’s success depends on its players working together in combination. The need to develop solid passing and receiving skills are very important. The essential skills compliment one another because each passed ball should be received and then controlled by a teammate. Set your sights high, and strive towards your “GOAL” Accuracy. Pacing, and the timing of release are critical steps for passing and receiving to be successful. You must be able to receive and control a ball skillfully as it arrives from a teammate. Poor passing and receiving skills will result in loss of possession, and the lost chance for a scoring opportunity. A rolling ball on the ground is easier to pass and receive than a ball in the air. The team will benefit more when you make passes on the ground. The three most common and basic techniques for passing the ball on the ground: inside of the foot, outside of the foot, and instep. The most basic passing skill that should be mastered by any soccer player is the “Inside of the foot pass”. Pushing the ball with the inside of the foot is used when passing the ball over distances of 5 to 15 yards. This pass is very easy, and the pass has a lot more control. Keep one thing in mind: your placement foot (nonkicking foot) should be beside the ball and pointed toward your target. This will help keep your shoulders and hips squared with the ball. Practice this pass with both of your feet. There is a time for dribbling, and a time to make the pass. The longer a player retains the ball, the more time they allow the opponent to group together and shut that player down. Excessive dribbling can destroy the teamwork needed to create goal-scoring opportunities. When a ball is in your defensive third of the field, is where you want to clear the ball out and have minimal dribbling. Ideally you want to clear the ball as efficiently and effectively as you can. You want to increase the dribbling the middle third of the field, and take all the advantages you can in the opponents third of the field with dribbling. Remember that if you have too much excessive dribbling on your third (in front of your goal) of the field, the opponent has a very good chance for a goal if they steal the ball from you and shoot at your goal. Shielding is another way to maintain possession. Make sure that you keep your body positioned between the ball and the opponent trying to steal the ball from you. As you shield the ball, please keep these things in mind: A)Change directions and speed. Sudden changes will throw the defender off. B)Use body feints. Use deceptive foot movements, and body movements to fake out your opponent. C)Dribble the ball with very close control. Use your lower peripheral vision as a distance. D)Don’t get fancy, or try to do too much body movements. Use the skills that you have learned. E)Keep your head up as much as possible. Good field vision, and knowing where your teammates are at is important. F)Keep your balance. Do not over commit yourself while challenging the opponent for the ball, or you start playing “Chase the ball”. Keep your legs bent and position them at a diagonal stance. Stay on your toes. Sometimes you may want to dribble towards an opponent, so that you can make them commit to you on their end of the field. If your opponent makes a mistake, take advantage of the mistake and you could be in with in a scoring opportunity. (DO NOT do this in you third of the field, or you may end up getting scored on). As you receive the ball from a teammate, remember that in order to maintain possession, you must attack with numbers up. Attack with as much help as you can. If you loose possession, all players should close the space down against the opponents. Once you have regained possession, keep you space. Attack and Defend as a Unit, a TEAM. Remember: That in order to receive, you must see the ball. Good Luck Team! Coach Jeff Stiffler. ******************************************************************


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