Changing Pace And Beating Players

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Learning to change speed and beat a defending player with the ball at the feet is one of the most important soccer skills, but it can also be one of the hardest to master. Kick up your skill level with this touch and control drill.

We’ve all seen those players who just seem to have A knack for kicking it into another gear while maintaining tight control of the ball in the process. Fortunately, players can develop these skills with hard work and dedication. This drill I’ve created will help any player improve touch and control while on the ball, and build confidence as they learn change of direction when beating a player, the actual skill move to beat a player, and change of speed once the player is beaten. It’s also easy to set up and doesn’t require a ton of space. Here’s what you need to know:

INSTRUCTIONS
  • Start on the bottom cone facing the middle cone. Dribble the ball toward the middle cone.
  • Approximately one yard from the middle cone, drop your left shoulder and push the ball to the right going past the center cone.
  • Once past the center, cut back to the middle and accelerate way to the cone on the far end.
  • Turn and repeat the sequence going back to the start.
VARIATIONS
  1. Add in additional moves to beat the middle cone. Think step over, scissors, etc.
  2. To make it more challenging, complete with a partner coming the other way. Make sure you go different directions around the center cone.
Tips For Improvement
  • Speed of play — make it as realistic as possible.
  • Imagine the center cone is a defender. Once you beat them, cut back in so they can’t get back to tackle the ball or so they commit a foul. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; try out different moves.

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About Author

Chris Walker

Chris Walker is the head coach of the University of North Alabama women’s soccer team. He is a graduate of Lee University and a former assistant coach with the Lee women’s team, helping them win two NAIA National Championships.

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