May 19, 2022

3 Drills to Improve Your First Touch

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Mike Semenza


3 Drills to Improve Your First Touch Image

A player’s first touch is most commonly known as their ability to receive the ball with control from another player. When it comes to the basic technical components of the game, a player’s first touch is at the top of the list. If you cannot receive the ball with control, then you risk losing the offensive attack.

Improving your first touch is easy. The best way to start is to work on your own. Focus on one thing, getting comfortable controlling the ball with your feet. One of the best methods to do this is passing the ball off a wall.

Easy Start to First Touches

In these beginning phases, focus especially on the use of the inside of your foot or the instep. Using your instep requires you to lock your ankles in standing and moving positions. Work from the same close-range distances as you would with a partner. The more repetition the better! As you grow more comfortable passing off the wall, you can work on keeping your eyes up at all times.

Once you have the basics mastered, it is time to start adding various elements that challenge your first touch. Change the part of your foot you receive the ball, from the instep to laces to the outside of your foot. Work on controlling the ball with different spins or bounces off the wall using different parts of your body, like your thighs or chest. Add in some cones to receive the ball on the turn and dribble around or work on directional or explosive first touches.

Also remember that sometimes, your first touch should also be your last touch. You do not always need to receive the ball to dribble or shoot. Sometimes the best option might be to release the ball to a teammate with your first touch. It all depends on the scenario within the game.

Check out 3 of our favorites below for you to start mastering your first touch today!

3 Drills to Improve First Touch:

2 Touch Passing and Receiving off the Wall - Alternating Instep

This is a simple and effective individual training drill for players of all ages. Focus on keeping your ankle locked and keeping your feet moving between passes so that you are ready for a positive first touch for an easy instep pass. Switch feet between each pass. Add in cones or markers to pass the ball through each time.

Instep Directional Touches off the Wall - Alternating Feet

This drill helps players improve their ability to take a first touch across their body and play a pass with the opposite foot. Keep your ankle locked while dragging the ball across your body. Step into the pass with the opposite foot and repeat. Add in cones or markers to move around with your first touch.

Toss to Directional Touch - Right Foot

Toss to Directional Touch - Left Foot

Work on controlling a bouncing ball or a ball out of the air. All you need is a ball for this drill. Start with the ball in your hands and toss the ball into the air above your head. As the ball drops to the ground, try using different parts of your feet to control the ball. Add in cones or markers to take your first touch towards. Remember to not let your touch get too far away from your body!

Learn More With Blaze!

The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Are you looking to become a stronger player? Could you use direct feedback from a professional coach on how to improve your passing skills, communication, or vision on the field?

At Blayze we give you personalized video analysis coaching sessions and individual training programs, plus mentorship from professional coaches.

Our Blayze+ program breaks down the barriers to finding elite-level training by making top-tier coaches available for ALL athletes. Custom-developed coaching sessions can help you improve your on-field skills, so you are performing at your very best. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, click HERE to learn more about the Blayze+ program!

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Blayze Coach Mike Semenza

Mike Semenza

6+ years of professional coaching with LA Galaxy, EXOS and COPA STC


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