Tips for Players
All Faith Soccer League

Description Of Drill

The object of juggling is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible
without having it hit the ground. You can use any part of your body (feet, thighs,
head, shoulders etc.) except for your hands. Working in pairs of two, have your
athletes control the ball in the air. The easiest way to do this is by using their
heads. You should start this drill off by allowing them to use only their heads.
Back and forth, one touch each, they should be heading the ball to each other.
After a few minutes of this, make it mandatory for them to use only their feet,
then only their thighs. Eventually you can allow them to use any body part, but
continuing to only touch the ball once before the partner touches it. To increase
the difficulty of this drill add a third person to the duo and make the athletes
direct their passes in a more triangular pattern rather than simply back and

Coaches should be making sure that the athletes only touch the ball once after
receiving the ball from their teammate. This shows that they have control over
themselves as well as the ball. If they have to hit the ball three or four times
before they get the ball back to their teammate then the drill's skill level
decreases. For younger athletes it is O.K. for this to occur. Their abilities may
not allow them to play one touch back and forth to each other, but older athletes
need to find the finesse within them to do this drill properly.


The primary job of the defender is to deny penetration. The defender will try to
keep the attacker from shooting, passing forward or dribbling forward. The way
the defender does this is to pressure. Here, positioning is everything. It is not
enough for the defender to know what to do if they are not in the position to be
able to do it. There are six priorities for the pressuring defender.

Intercept balls passed to the attacker. If the defender can intercept a pass
before the individual duel even occurs, obvious victory is obtained. The
defender must be positioned goal-side of the attacker so that they can see the
ball and their attacker, so that they can see the ball coming.

Tackle the ball as the attacker makes their turn. This still win it before the
confrontations gets started, but is second to interception.

Force the attacker to screen the ball with their first touch. Force the attacker to
not be able to turn and face the defender. Make the first touch be negative (away
from the defender).

Tackle as the attacker is half way through their turn as the attacker attempts to
face the defender. A good defender senses when the attacker has committed to
turning and will then confidently win the ball the instant it comes into view. This
is impossible to do unless the defender is within tackling range. Usually, a
great deal of work must be done on behalf of the defender to stay within this
range. As the attacker is shielding the ball, attempting to turn on the defender,
the defender, as they are to stay within tackling range, must keep in mind "two

Never lean on the attacker. Good attackers will use this over commitment to
their advantage by spinning and playing the ball into the space left by the open

Never lose sight of the ball.

Steer the attacker into the least dangerous space. Once the attacker has
turned, channel them into an area where they will do the least damage or into a
supporting defender. This may, in many cases, be the sideline. In short, the
defender now attempts to "set a trap". Here, the speed of the approach is
crucial. If the defender tries to close down an attackerís space too quickly, the
attacker will play the ball quickly behind the defender, using the defenderís
speed to their advantage. If done too slowly, the attacker is given too much time
to make a good decision.

Recovery runs. If the defender is beaten, they must now try to get goal-side of
the attacker. The recovery run should be toward the near post. The object is to
get goal side, in a good defending position, as quickly as possible.


The decisions of the individual defender have to do with two things:

-Whether or not to try and make contact with the ball.

-How and where to position oneself.

In priority order, the defender will try to do the following; based on what position
they are in relative to the attacker.


-Tackle on the first touch

-Force the attacker to screen; do not allow them to turn

-Tackle on the half turn

If the attacker is already turned, screen attacker to get:

-into position to make the tackle
-into a position where the attacker is isolated or outnumbered
-into a position where the attacker has only a few, or easily predictable option
-Destroy the attackers shot or pass by deflecting it


To gain confidence to leave the line and play more of the modern
keeper/sweeper roll the keeper will need to be confident in his/her recovery for
the chip.

1st be sure that the keeper understands that he/she should always turn the ball
over the top with the hand farthest from the goal.

Work these VERY slowly at first.

Start with the recovery footwork. Have the keeper start at about the penalty spot.
Facing the field. Place 2 balls on the ground about 1 yard inside and one yard in
front of the posts. (If he/she, as my current top keeper does, tends to go all out
set this up away from the goal so that there will be no collision with the posts.)
The keeper stands facing the field and you call either right or left. The keeper
should execute a "drop step" directly toward the called ball and with a fairly
deep knee bend move to touch the ball. The technique of the "drop step" is
VERY important. I will assume for this that you called "left." The keeper should
step a comfortable distance with the left foot directly toward the ball at the left
post. While stepping the keeper should keep the knees bent and drop his/her
left shoulder.

Every time the keeper returns to the spot call a ball. Watch the drop step and
watch for the shoulder drop. Once they are moving correctly increase the speed
and keep watching his/her footwork until he/she is working very hard after
he/she is fatigued but not exhausted slow them back down and refresh the
drop step technique.

For the next part you will need to work in the goal area. Have 10-15 balls around
the spot and the keeper on the line in the center of the goal. The place you
stand with the balls should be adjusted for size and confidence of the keeper.
For my U17G keeper I am now standing 1/2 way between the spot and the edge
of the 18, but I started with her half way between the 6 and the spot. Hold a ball
in you hands about waist high. Keeper moves out and touches the ball with
either hand and begins to back pedal. As soon as the keeper begins to back up
serve the ball toward one or the other upper corner. At first let the keeper know
where the serve will be but as they progress use surprise with the drill. (Again
adjust the serve for ability, but be sure that he/she must drop step jump and
turn the ball for the save.) He/she should make the same drop step as before
and as the ball is entering her "hitting zone" jump and PUSH the BOTTOM of the
ball straight up. The ball will go over the top because it already has enough
forward momentum. Continue to watch the drop step and shoulder drop and
assure that he/she is remaining low until he/she jumps. As he/she progresses
increase the speed and reps. The idea is too use this as both training and

At high speeds this "dive" or jump is the one that has keepers appear to spin in
the air after a save. It can be a bit of a trauma and sometimes dangerous. Start
slow and don't progress until the keeper is confident at each level.

WARNING: As with most keeper work this can be dangerous. Be sure to
progress slowly for technique. Do NOT progress too fast. Each step builds on
the last and 80-90% of goalkeeping is technique.


Taking shots on goal is something that every youngster loves to do. If thereís a
ball and a soccer goal nearby a childís first instinct is to shoot. They donít want
to work on passing or trapping or, heaven forbid, conditioning. Everybody loves
to shoot and everyone loves to score. There are four key concepts and skills
that should be mastered in order to have a successful and powerful shot. Keep
your toes curled, your knee over the ball, your head down and follow through. If
you can do those four things every time you shoot, you will strike the ball low,
hard and effectively.

Curling Your Toes

It is very important when you shoot that you donít use your toes. If you do use
your toes, not only will they hurt after awhile, but also your shots will never go
the same place twice. When shooting the ball you want to use the top part of
your foot, where the laces of your shoe are. This is a much wider surface than
your toe so it will be more accurate and it doesnít hurt at all. In order to hit the
ball properly off the laces of your foot you must curl your toe.

Getting Your Knee Over the Ball

A huge problem that people have when shooting is that they kick the ball over
the goal. This is such a horrific problem because it can mean the difference
between winning or losing a game. If you kick the ball over the goal you have no
chance of making it. If you put the ball on frame though, you not only have a
chance to score yourself but the possibility of a rebound may occur. Anything is
possible when you get your shots on frame. To correct this problem simply
concentrate on getting your knee over the ball. What does that mean you ask?
To practice this and get the idea, stand on your left leg and point your right toe
towards the ground next the front of your planted left foot. Look down and notice
the position of your knee in regard to the position of where the ball would be in
a shooting position. That is what NOT to do. Now slide your right foot, which is
still pointed toward the ground, back towards the heel of your planted left foot.
Look down! Notice how your right knee is now over the area in which a ball
would normally reside when shooting. That is getting your knee over the ball.
When you shoot you want to make sure that your knee is directly over the ball,
keeping your shot low and also increasing the power and velocity of the shot.

Keeping Your Head Down

It is very common to want to look at where you are shooting. You want to make
sure that you donít miss the goal to the right or left or shoot right at the goalie.
Unfortunately, by looking up when shooting you actually reduce your chance of
hitting the target. You definitely want to look up and know your target before
shooting, but during the actual act you want to have your head down. If your
head is down it will help you focus on getting your knee over the ball. If your
head is looking up at the target your knee is most likely behind the ball and you
shot is going over the goal. So remember to keep that head down and watch
your foot make contact. There is plenty of time to look at the target after the ball
sails into the back of the net.

Following Through

The follow through is a very important part of the shot. It may make the
difference of 5 to 25 miles per hour on your shot. When shooting the ball with
your right foot you want to have your left foot firmly planted next to the ball. You
want your right leg to be cocked with your toes curled. As you swing through the
ball your knee should be over it at the point of impact and then your leg should
continue to follow through the swinging motion. After contact you want to land
on your right foot. Thatís right! You want the force of your motion to throw you off
of your planted left foot and onto your swinging right foot. The same thing works
when hitting shots left footed. Plant the right, cock the left, toes curled, knee over
the ball at impact, follow through and land on your left kicking leg.


Here are a few fake-out skills that every player should know, and all are
individual drills. The drills should be repeated by switching what foot does
what. I have described them using the right foot as the dominant foot.

The player stands behind the ball and pushes the ball with the laces of the right
foot to the right side. The player then stops the ball and steps beside it with the
right foot, and uses the outside of the left foot to push the ball in the other

The player stands behind the ball and passes the right foot over the ball, slicing
it in half, and steps beside the ball with the right foot. The player then uses the
outside of the left foot to push the ball in the other direction.

The player stands behind the ball and rolls the ball three times with the sole of
the foot back and forth. On the third time the player pulls the ball behind them
and turns around, keeping himself or herself facing the ball.