In soccer, controlling the ball in the air or at your feet is the first skill you have to learn. This skill sounds simple, but even the most experienced soccer players from around the world struggle with their ball control from time to time. Ball control is all about the first touch you have on the ball. You want to be able to receive the ball and make it go where you want it to. This is one of the basic skills in soccer and will help your team possess the ball and distribute it effectively. Effective soccer players have to be able to control the ball coming to them in the air and on the ground.
Trapping the ball is one of the first things you have to learn to be a good soccer player. Trapping is controlling the ball in the air. Soccer players have to bring the ball into their control with their feet, head, or chest when it comes to them in the air. When receiving the ball with your chest, the key is to pop the ball into the air with your chest. By popping the ball up, you are meeting the ball with counterforce instead of letting it hit you and bouncing off in an unpredictable way. Whether receiving the ball in the air or on the ground with your feet, the key is a soft touch. Hitting the ball just right when trapping takes practice to get the precise feel of the ball touching your feet. Generally, you want to receive the ball softly in order to place it directly in front of you but not tripping you under your feet.
Eric Gilbert is a collegiate soccer player from Deerfield, IL. Gilbert plays for Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Gilbert has been playing soccer since age five and is always looking for ways to improve his game.