Today we are learning how to play as smart
as a D1 college soccer player. What’s going on? Little dap! It’s Emily
Grant, former pro, current college coach and coach with Online Soccer Academy. There are
many different components that make up a smart D1 college soccer player. In this video we
will talk about the speed of play component. The best players in college soccer and pro
soccer for that matter are the smartest players, not the biggest. Yes, being big, strong and
fast helps, but it’s not everything. First I’m going to show you what this speed of
play exercise looks like and then we will break down the key points.
Key Points! Key Point One. Check your shoulder. When your teammate brings their foot back
to pass, check over your shoulder and take a mental picture of the field behind you.
What are you looking for when you do this? You are looking for teammates, runs, space,
defenders, etc. If you watch closely in pro games on TV you will see top pros looking
over their shoulder prior to receiving a pass. Make sure you look. Don’t just turn your
head really fast and bring it back. That will give you a blurred image of the field and
make you a little dizzy. Key Point Two. Open your body to the field.
Prep your body prior to receiving the ball. At the next level you don’t have time to
take an extra touch and re arrange your body once you receive a pass. Instead get your
body open to the field early by standing sideways prior to the ball arriving at your feet. Now
your body is open to the field and if you have space to turn into your touch will naturally
take you forward. Versus if your body is closed off the field your touch has a better chance
of naturally going back in the direction it came from and then you have to spin your body
around to go forward. At the next level if you do that there’s a good chance that you
will get tackled. Plus, by standing sideways you are naturally going to see more of the
field. Key Point Three. Receive the ball with your forward foot.
If you have space to turn, receive the ball with your forward foot so you more easily
can take your touch up the field. This is your foot going forward up the field.
Key Point Four. Back Up if needed! What if the ball is passed to my back foot? Great
question! Yes, you could try like a fancy back heel flick type of touch around your
plant foot, but basic fundamentals are to back up and touch with your forward foot.
By backing up you keep your body open to the field instead of turning your back to it and
running the risk that someone sneaks up on you. Here is an exercise to practice with
a partner. You will need 4 cones and a ball. Have your partner pass you the ball and say
turn. The only command for this exercise is turn. Instead of passing it to your forward
foot so it’s perfect, your partner should pass the ball a little behind your back foot
you so you have to back up and get in your open body to the field position.
Once you receive the pass, take a touch with your forward foot and dribble at speed to
the top cone. Turn around, pass it back and jog back to your start cone. Repeat this exercise
for one minute. Then switch partners and after one set and switch passing sides. If you are
practicing by yourself set up a bench near where your partner would be. Pass the ball
off the bench, then receive it as if you partner played it to you and go through the exercise.
What’s Wrong! If you can’t see the ball as it’s getting close to your feet then
you are checking your shoulders too late. Even the best players in the world need to
look at the ball when they touch it. Check your shoulders right when the passer brings
their foot back and this will give you more time to check your shoulders and then focus
on the ball arriving at your feet. Bonus Tip! Look up and see the field! A lot of players
will look down towards the ground or only look partially to the side. Over exaggerate
looking up and seeing the field. Hope you enjoyed this Online Soccer Academy video!
Click here to watch our incredibly helpful 200+ free videos, go here if you want a Believe
in it® shirt and go here if you are a coach and want to host an OSA Soccer Camp. My name
is Emily Grant and remember if you Believe in it® and back that up with hard work, anything
in life is possible. Believe in it®!