First touch; receiving and/or trapping a ball while in play. First touch is important in controlling a ball whether a player is receiving a pass, gathering a loose ball or playing a long ball via free kick, goal kick or goalie punt. Developing a good, or great, first touch will buy time on the ball, help speed up play and allow players time to make better decisions on the ball. All this leads to better possessions for both individual and team play
A great way to develop a first touch while training individually is by juggling.
Training with a brasilian futebol will enhance touch and speed progress.
First, it is important to become a proficient juggler. Being able to juggle a ball 20 to 30 times on your laces without losing control or letting the ball touch the ground it a good start. More is better, but no need to go beyond 100 touches without the ball touching the ground. It is more about what you can do with those touches than the amount.
Once you are proficient a good drill is to knock the ball high into the air and settle it in your sweet spot with a soft touch. We call this Three touch and a knock: Juggle the ball three times and then kick it (knock it) 10 to 15 feet in the air, control the ball with the first touch, a soft touch, trying to keep the ball below your waist and within reach so the next touch sets up the next knock.
The idea is to use one to two touches after settling the high ball with the first soft touch, or trap, to adjust and compose yourself. Then knock the ball 10 to 15 feet in the air again. Repeat this process. Focus on controlling the ball with your first touch after you have “knocked” it into the air,. A good first touch is essential if you are to maintain control and set up the knock again. A good first touch leads to a chance for a second good touch etc. Without a good first touch usually there is no second touch.
To start with it is a good idea to allow for the ball to bounce. Just try to keep the ball alive and maintain some semblance of control. We even encourage using the thigh trap for the first touch just to get a feel for the drill, find a rhythm and develop confidence. We encourage success oriented drills so take as many touches as needed, use the bounce to your benefit and work on progressing. It might take 5 touches to get control and then knock the ball high. Use them and then progress to a four touch rotation, then a three touch rotation (Knock -control- touch – knock, repeat..) and then a two touch (knock-control-knock, repeat). This exercise will help to develop “first touch”.