With no chance of playing football or training, me and my U13 little fellah have been practising in our 5×5 bit of astro three times a week.
The aim of these training sessions is to maximise touches, using lots of surfaces of the feet and covering lots of movement patterns/body shape.
Key things to remember:
- Repetition. Do a solid 2-4 mins of each routine at least
- Good, clean control and touch. Get to know how it feels when the ball hits the right part of your foot.
- Do everything with both feet.
- As it gets easier try to go more quickly and do things more cleanly. Get your head up and do it by touch alone.
It’s not fitness training. We’ve been going for a run before doing this. Usually about a mile, or a bit less if we incorporate speedier sections.
It’s also no substitute for real football and all the awareness and decision making it involves. But it is a way to maintain some basic football movement and maybe improve a few things by trying to form new habits through repetition.
1. Dribbling with cones – outside of foot
The aim here is lots of touches, using only the outside of the foot. Go for loads of little touches. It’s all about feeling the ball, being able to move it on in tiny increments, but also about making sure the foot that’s not touching the ball is getting to the right place.
2. Dribbling with cones – inside of foot
As above but with the inside of the foot: Lots of touches and keeping the feet moving to where they need to be.
As a variation we add a lateral shuffle. You can use this to progress to Iniesta’s la Croqueta move.
3. Xavi cut
This is a simple but basic escape move. Run one way then cut the ball back with the outside of your foot.
Another escape move. Cruyff’s original was done from a static position. We call this a Cruyff but it’s basically a chop inside behind the standing foot. It forms the basis of lots of other moves, like the Ronaldo chop.
The sole is a hugely useful surface of the foot to be able to use. As with a lot of these you may find one foot isn’t as good as the other. Transitioning from one foot to the other smoothly when changing direction feels like a challenge at first too.
A simple escape move. Bringing the ball back across the body
Similar to the L-cut but going behind the standing leg. Here we’re trying to do them in a ‘strict’ way, without moving around so that we can train ourselves to get the angles of the roll and touch from behind just right.
8. Receiving on the back foot
A basic football movement pattern. Give yourself a pass off the wall, open your body up and receive on the furthest away foot so you can send the ball on rapidly (or in real life touching it on for yourself). You can do this on your own with one wall. You just have to make a point of sending your first touch away (in different directions every time, preferably).
9. Passing square
Similar to the last one but passing to each other, receiving on the back foot, then passing. Getting a precise touch in a small area is a challenge.