My daughter could use some advice: After being told by her U15 club-team coach early this summer that she couldn't play forward because "she'll get the ball taken away from her" and moved to defense, she put in many out-of-practice hours developing footskills. She added a Mathews (right and left foot), a Rivelino, a Zidane Spin and others to her repertoire. She is adept at all of them now.
The problem she faces is incorporating any of the moves into an actual game situation. The timing or the opportunity never seems to be right. Too often, the best option seems to be one touch and a pass (she is an excellent passer).
A footnote (pun intended): Thankfully, she is playing forward during the fall school season, getting a fair amount of assists and adding an occasional goal. But she still could use some advice on how to get into position or how to create space to use some of those moves.
Thanks in advance.
I am a U-15 player myself. And I just wanted to give you a player's point of view.
The coach can do different drills like a drill that our team does where the players are only allowed to dribble forward and pass backwards. This makes it difficult for players to just pass the ball off, and it forces them to make a move and get around people and create space for themselves and other players. Making sure she is comfortable with the ball at her feet is going to be a necessity. Before every practice our coach gives us tells us to dribble in the box she provides for us. She will say left and right foot only, and cuts with both your left and right foot. It is very important to be able to use both feet when playing the sport. So they have to remember to practice them both evenly. There is a lot more I'd like to say, but I'm afraid my language class is over, so I have to go. I hope this was helpful to you.
Thanks for the reply, Unity. That's good advice -- much appreciated. I'd love to hear more, if you have the time.
It took a month of the fall season before it finally hit us, and we realized part of what's going on ... she had played all summer with a defender's mentality -- get the ball and clear it out of trouble immediately; don't do anything fancy. Now that she's playing an offensive position, she realizes she needs to attack more often, and she'll have to use her footskills to do that.
It is good for payers to develop different ball skills, which they should do without any pressure. The next step is to put those skils into pressure situations. The ball is served to the player with various approaches (ie: hard pass, air ball, bouncing service, line drive service (as from a corner kick), etc. and the defender closes down the receiver of the ball immediately. The receiver learns how to make the first touch away from pressure, and to make the decision on how to handle the ball and how to attack the defender.
With playing many years of soccer, While it is very important to feel comfortable with the ball at your feet, its not as important to learn as many moves or "skills" as you can. If you feel comforatable and confident on how to hold the ball at your feet, then the rest will come naturally. The best for that is always pressure situations. There has been some good feed backin previous comments. Most just recieving the ball under pressure and deciding what to do with it from there. The more interaction she has with pressure the better. A good team drill is a 3 second keep away drill. Where two teams are playing keep away. When a player passes the ball to another, a member of the other team has to be close enough to that player to touch with an elbow. This get pressure on the person with the ball right away, and it forces players on the other team to learn to close down gaps, and not give the opponent too much free time with the ball. Hope things workout