Grassroots Coaching

Football coaching made easy – 5 simple coaching tips to improve your players vital ball control skills

One of the fundamental skills of football is the ability to control the ball. Yet how many times do players fail to control even the simplest pass? So frustrating for the coach isn’t it?

To help the players improve and develop, the coach has to help the players understand and practice the 5 simple steps of ball control.

We have put together this coaching session which will help players with their own skill development. The challenging practice focuses on the players having to work hard on developing and improving their ball control techniques. To help the coaches also understand how these techniques relate to game skills, we have also included a number of game related examples of ball control in the video.

The 5 simple coaching tips to better ball control.

  1. Players to be alert, on their toes and move and adjust their feet to get in the line of the ball – move to make a bad pass a good one!
  2. Assess the pace and flight of the ball early and adjust position accordingly – go backwards, forwards, sideways or stand still!
  3. Depending on the pace, flight, height or the bounce of the ball – select the appropriate control surface – foot, thigh, chest etc
  4. Upon contact with the selected control surface, relax and cushion the ball slightly away from the body, out of the feet, away from defenders and into a safe space
  5. With the ball controlled out of the feet, player should get their head up assess what is around them and decide on their next action, pass, dribble shoot etc

Session organisation

  • Two players, one ball.
  • The square yellow coned central grid is 5 x 5 yards.
  • Place eight Blue cones 5 – 10 yards outside of the yellow grid in a circle.
  • The receiving player (Yellow) who starts inside the yellow grid, must always check off a yellow cone to meet the ball, control the ball inside of the yellow grid area and pass accurately back to the server.
  • After serving the ball, the server (Blue) must move clockwise to the next area between the blue cones.
  • The server must be accurate with their serve or pass.
  • To improve the quality of the ball control, when the ball needs to be served in the air, for feet control, thigh control and chest control, the server can throw the ball for greater accuracy.


  • The rules for the competition are that the player inside the yellow grid, must always check off a diagonal yellow cone to the server
  • Control the ball twice with their feet, from a serve along the ground, twice with their feet from a serve that is off the ground, twice with their thigh from a serve that is off the ground and twice with their chest.
  • Ideally, they cannot use more than two touches, 1 to control and 1 to pass
  • They must control the ball inside the yellow grid area and they must pass the ball accurately back to the server.
  • After serving, the server must move clockwise to the next spare area to receive a return pass. The objective is to complete a full circuit, without making a mistake and in the quickest time.


  • Can the players complete the ball control circuit without making a mistake?
  • How quickly can each player successfully complete one, then two circuits?
  • Introduce a passive defender who pressures behind the receiver to test their ball control
  • Use four players and two balls: Use six players and three balls in the practice
  • Vary the service, height and pace, so the player has to adjust to the service and select the correct control surface
  • Make the area bigger for longer passes – this will encourage the receiving player to have to make greater adjustments to the pace, height, accuracy and bounce of the ball
  • Make the area smaller – this will encourage more tight foot control and get players to think about using one touch, first time ball control, rather than have to control the ball and then pass
  • Server to go anti clockwise


Posted in
Become Better Players Coaching Sessions Coaching Tips