In Soccer, to be in control of the ball is of great importance to every level of player. The ability to control an awkward bouncing ball quickly and effectively gives the player with the ball the immediate advantage. First touch is often the difference between success and failure in most situations during the match.
As players get older, the game gets faster, and demands more speed. At this level, there is a greater need for first-time passes and a precise first touch on the ball. Often, players cannot always play a first-time ball; therefore, they must trap the ball, or may have to dribble if no teammates are in position to receive a first-time pass. Time and space go hand-in-hand in soccer. The less time a player takes to do something, the more time they will have to take advantage of it. Typically when controlling a ball, a player will do one of three things after controlling the ball: shield the ball by putting their body between the ball and the opponent, pass (or shoot) the ball; or they will dribble the ball. The space and time they have to do these things will depend on how good the player’s first touch is when receiving the ball.
Players MUST develop a feel for the ball. Feel means touch, and a fine touch requires a player to be comfortable touching the ball with all parts of the foot. Players must practice controlling balls on the ground as well as balls out of the air. Remember, that good control is the ability to take the ball with one touch in such a way that you can play the ball with your next movement without having to chase or reach for it. The ability to control the ball with the feet is a basic element of soccer. A good touch is very instinctive to some players, but harder for others. Whatever the level of your players, practice will always help improve their first touch on the ball.