Ball Manipulation Exercises from Home

Since the backyard is the new pitch, here are three ball manipulation skills for beginners, intermediate, and advanced young athletes they can do from home.

Over the past two years, home has evolved to become our school, our grocery store, even our gym. Training for our sports has changed as well. Our backyards have become our practice fields.

This is an opportunity. When life opens back up and things start to move towards normal, many of the changes we’ve adapted to can stay part of our routine.

Helping our children train for soccer is a perfect example. We used to go to the field to kick the ball around, now we’re at home. But the desk lamp and bookshelf don’t have to be at risk. Ball manipulation skills are key in developing confidence and agility with the ball in a variety of methods, speeds, and angles. The ball stays close to the feet instead of launching over the living room couch.

Here are three ball manipulation skills for beginners, intermediate, and advanced young athletes they can do from home.

Toe Taps
Beginner
With the soccer ball on the ground in front of you, start with one foot up with toes resting on top of the ball. To switch positions, step off the ball while the other foot comes up quickly to replace it, stepping on top of the ball near your toes again. Repeat while maintaining balance.
Intermediate
Start with the ball in front of you and one foot on top. To add difficultly to this ball manipulation drill, when you alternate feet, roll the ball forward with each step. Aftercovering a certain amount of distance, roll the ball back to its original position using the same footwork.
Advanced
With cones or other obstacles set up, use the toe tap skill to roll the ball forward, around, and through the course. Weave with control and increase speed and obstacles to continue to increase the difficulty.

Boxing
Beginner
With the soccer ball on the ground between your feet, start with the inside of one foot against the side of the ball. Tap it across and catch it with the inside of your other foot. Repeat with control and balance.
Intermediate
To increase difficultly to this ball manipulation drill, when you tap the ball back and forth between the insides of each foot, try moving forwards and backwards with it. Control and balance are the focus as well as increasing speed and distance covered.
Advanced
With cones or other obstacles set up, use the boxing skill to movethe ball forward, around, and through the course. To increase the difficulty further, try not looking at the ball and instead keep your eyes looking ahead. This helps train control and field awareness.

SOLE ROLLS
Beginner
This skill is similar to boxing, but instead of using the inside of your foot, you use the bottom. Start with the ball on the ground between your feet and bring one foot up and over the ball as close as you can without touching it. Repeat this motion 5x before switching feet.
Intermediate
At this level, you can make contact with the ball. Remember, it’s with the bottom of your shoe. Use your sole to roll the ball to your other foot, catching it with the bottom of your shoe there too. Roll the ball back with the same technique and repeat.
Advanced
Try combining the sole roll with boxing. Starting with box, pass the ball with the inside of your foot across and use your other foot to catch it and pass it back. Now we switch and use the sole roll skill. The pattern should look like this: left foot box, right foot box, left foot sole, right foot sole. Repeatwith control, accuracy, and speed.

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