Grassroots Coaching

Football Coaching to improve players techniques

Being able to master basic football techniques is the foundation for improving players.

As a football coach, it is vitally important that you understand what a technique is and how you can coach, fun, enjoyable and progressive sessions that will help improve players techniques.

So what is a technique? Football techniques are basic building blocks for football. For players to be good at football they should be able to understand and actually be able to perform consistently the actions that they will face in every game. Actions such as receiving the ball, controlling the ball, passing the ball over different distances, with accuracy and with the correct weight and timing of pass. Understanding how and where to dribble, turn with the ball, run with the ball, shoot. Movement to find and create space, both for themselves and team mates. The different requirements of heading the ball,  be it attacking or defending heading and of course defending, in one v one situations and how to mark, cover and defend as a group.

As Gary Player once famously replied, when asked the question of the importance of being lucky when playing golf. “It’s funny, the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get”

Players will need to practice techniques to get better. But they will also need some help from the coach, to understand what, how and why they are practising. If the players understand the why and how of what they are doing, they have a greater understanding and can work at self improvement based upon knowledge. But to be able to do that, coaches also need to understand what the mechanical component of a football technique is and to be able to paint a picture for the players of that technique.

Arguably, the best technicians in receiving, passing, turning and support play in the World Cup are Spain. They can retain possession for fun. But what makes them so good and how can we learn from what they do to improve our young players?

One of the technical areas Spain are so good at is turning, both when receiving the ball and when they have the ball. From when they have been very young players, the Spanish team would have worked in unopposed football practices to develop and improve their technique of turning with the ball. Their coaches would have given them information on how to perform the mechanical action of turning with the ball. It wouldn’t have been the case of coaches saying, “Turn with the ball” The coaches would have worked with the players to help them understand the technique of turning with the ball and given them information to do this, which was based upon a logical, progressive breakdown of information. So that the players could work on each part of the technique of turning with the ball, one step at a time then bring it all together in realistic practices, which were structured to enable the players to repeatedly practice the technique of turning with the ball, in fun, realistic match like situations.

Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you information on practices that can improve players techniques. This week we will start with the Technique of turning, both when receiving the ball and when in possession of the ball.

Below is a video that demonstrates a practice you can put on with your players to improve this Turning Technique. Below is a list of the key technical factors of turning, in a logical, priority order. Try and coach your players in this logical priority order, in bite size pieces of coaching, then let them practice what they have been taught. Keep an eye on their performance and reinforce, when necessary, what of the key factors they could improve on and use good examples of players turning well, to reinforce good habits and techniques.


  1. Movement to create space to receive the ball from the passer
  2. Awareness when moving to create space to look around and see where the space is to turn
  3. Receiving player on a slight angle – not straight on – from passer
  4. Body position – shoulders open and at an angle from the passer
  5. Alert and on the toes, ready to quickly adjust and get in the line of the pass
  6. Assess the pace and flight of the ball and space available to turn
  7. Receiving the ball and the technique of the turn, based upon the pace, flight and direction of the pass and where the space is
  8. Consider – no touch turn, back foot turn, little toe, big toe turn, control back to where the ball came from and turn
  9. Turn into the space identified
  10. Head up, to assess next decision, pass, dribble shoot etc
  11. Good technique and execution of the next action


  1. Communication from the passer and other players in the session
  2. Introduce defenders. Turner has to identify where the defender is and turn away from them, using an appropriate technique


  1. Ball in front, but close and in playing distance
  2. Exaggerated action , threat to kick ball, to trick any defenders
  3. Non kicking foot slightly past the ball
  4. Turning action – foot on the ball, use the sole of the foot, big toe hook, little toe hook, cruyff hook etc
  5. Ball is pushed slightly in the opposite direction with the action of the foot with the ball
  6. Quick turn to get to the ball quickly
  7. Head up, to assess next decision, pass, dribble shoot etc
  8. Good technique and execution of the next action


  1. Double turn
  2. Practice different turning with the ball techniques
  3. Introduce a defender, player turning with the ball should always look to use a technique that allows them to turn away from the defender keeping their body between the ball and the defender


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