Playing on Top of the Ball: Best Exercises Using the Sole

20140904_-_Christian_EriksenThe best soccer players can play on top of the ball. This means that they are using the sole of their feet to manipulate the soccer ball.

In order to play on top of the soccer ball, you must keep it under your control and within your reach. Being able to do these two things is crucial for anyone hoping to be a good dribbler and a good player in general. Playing on top of the ball allows you to manipulate the ball quickly and stop the ball on a dime.

Start simple and before long you too can be a great dribbler and play on top of the ball. The following is a series of exercises you can use to improve this aspect of your game.

Warm-Up
Pull the ball backwards with the sole of your foot alternating right and left. Next, push the ball forward with the sole of your foot alternating right and left. Finally, use the sole of your right foot to perform ten rake overs or roll overs in a row and then perform ten rake overs or roll over with your left foot.

Training
Perform each move below ten times in your backyard, on a soccer pitch, or any other grass surface you can find.

V – Use the sole of your foot to pull the ball across your body and push it out with the inside of of your same foot.

Spin Move (aka Zidane 360/Roulette) – Use the sole of one foot to stop the soccer ball, pull it back slightly, and continue straight over the ball, planting your foot almost perpendicular to your direction of moment. This foot position allows you to pivot and put your shoulder towards the defender to shield the ball. Continue your pivot by showing your back to the defender while using the sole or inside of your other foot to take the ball and complete the turn.

Pull Back and Go – Use the sole of your foot to pull the ball back towards you and slightly to the outside of your body. Then push the ball forward with the same foot that you pulled it back with and dribble.

Stop and Go – Use the sole of one foot to stop the ball and then use the inside of the other foot to take the ball in the direction as you were already dribbling. The change of pace is crucial with this move: be sure to accelerate as you “go.”

Pullback and Turn – Use the sole of your foot to pull the ball back towards the opposite direction you are going. You shoulders and hips are going to turn towards the foot you are using, so you should never lose sight of the soccer ball. As you get more comfortable, you can jump, pullback and turn and the simultaneously.

Pullback and Tap Behind – Use the sole of one foot to pull the ball back behind your plant foot. Next use your the side of you big toe to tap the ball behind your plant foot.

By working on these exercises, you can quickly improve your ability to play on top of the ball, which will lead to significant benefits for you out on the pitch. Are there any sole exercises that you would add?

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