First Touch Soccer and 1v1
First Touch Soccer Drills are very helpful to improve the speed of your team. As soccer/football coaches, every time we work on 1v1 situations with our teams we focus on technique. Coaching points usually are dribble nice and close with both feet using all surfaces ( inside, outside, sole), keep heads up, switch direction or acceleration.
Every player has a ball. Every player starts dribbling with the ball under his/her feet. Then we add some pressure and after, as another progression, we introduce what we call decision-making in 2v1 or 3v2 situations. We don’t take into account that within a game there’s only one ball and the players usually don’t start dribbling straight away. They need to control the ball previously with a positive first touch soccer and its direction and power can become a dribble situation to overpass the nearest defenders, or break through the pressure line. So we are forgetting the decision-making process before receiving the ball.
First Touch Soccer = Modern football
I think we should introduce to our players in the warm up how important is the first touch in modern football/soccer: 3 players in a triangle with a ball and 3 cones, short passes and two touches
So we are working on 1v1 but we tell our players from the beginning of the session that in many situations of the game a positive first touch may be the best dribble.
Then, we can move to the pure technique part, adding a line of cones to dribble around before combining with the other two players
We could even eliminate the cones and make a pass to the player in the middle. This way we could work on turning away from pressure and body shape.
Then, the natural progression is to add pressure. We use the player in the middle as a defender. So one player dribbles around the cones or make any other skill and then he faces a 1v1 situation with a goal or an ending zone to score. If he succeeds, he goes back to the starting point. If he doesn’t, he becomes a defender.
We could add goals and goalkeepers in order to finish after receiving the pass. The receiver makes a decision before receiving and then tries to score in either goal.
At the end of the main part of the session, we could play small sided games 5v5, 6v6 encouraging the players to finish after the first touch or after a 1v1 situation.
In my opinion, every technique drill should aim to increase the speed of play, not only of every player but of the whole team. Watching football/soccer games, I observe many times skillful players using many skills ( drop shoulder, scissors, etc.) that are not effective enough. They look nice individually but actually they slow the team game down.
1V1 and First Touch Soccer drills can be designed and executed to prevent skilful players to slow the game and really help their teams.