Though the skill might seem relatively straightforward, trapping a soccer ball is deceptively challenging. Since it helps you quickly stop the ball, gain control, and prepare yourself to take a shot or make a pass, mastery of this skill can very much come in handy.
The fundamentals of ball trapping are your touch, timing, and technique. All of these should be on point to avoid the ball bouncing off you and to your opponent. To guide you towards mastery of the move, we will look at how you should trap the ball in the article below.
Trapping a Soccer Ball: The Steps
It is not unusual for a player to receive the ball at inconvenient speeds and angles on the soccer pitch. And for this reason, players should be attuned and alert as to what is happening around them, and be set to take control of the ball at any moment.
The thing with ball trapping is that you need to cushion the ball and control it before taking a shot or squaring it to your teammate. If you work on your ball trapping in the training ground, you will sharpen your touch while also ensuring that you are ready for anything that may come your way on the pitch.
Before diving into how to trap a soccer ball with your chest, head, and thighs, let us first go through how you can do it using your feet. This is since most of your posture, positioning, and procedure is typically identical, notwithstanding the part of the body used to get control of the ball.
Be Conscious of the Happenings Around You
Since the ball can get to you at any time, either from a rebound, ricochet or pass, you must maintain your focus on the game and follow what is happening. With this, you will win crucial seconds and react much quicker if the ball comes to you.
Aside from providing you with the extra time to concentrate on positioning yourself and your footwork, awareness of your surroundings will let you know whether there is an opponent nearby. With this knowledge, you will see the amount of space and time at your disposal to trap the ball and make a shot or pass it.
Keep Track of the Ball as it Approaches You
Whether the ball is approaching you from the air or along the ground, ensure your eyes are on it to anticipate curving or interception. Keeping track of the ball lets you know exactly when, where, and how to prepare yourself.
This implies that you can move your body and feet position accordingly to handle tricky bounces, take on your marker, or react to ball spin.
After you have tracked the soccer ball, the next thing is knowing precisely where your traps should be placed. Since picking up the ball mid-air using the toes or finessing a power pass without the ball bouncing too far off can be rather complicated, the best thing is aligning your body with the path of travel of the ball.
As time progresses, you will get the ball under control in more complicated scenarios, though at the initial stages, it is ideal to position your body behind the ball and be on your toes, prepared to react.
Cushioning the Ball
Usually, the easiest means of trapping the ball is using the inside of your feet. Therefore, be positioned to receive the ball by turning your foot sideways to control and cushion it. Here, your technique and timing play a key role in your success. You will be likely to miscontrol the ball and send it bouncing off to your opponent if you do not get it right.
Be very attentive while cushioning the ball to ensure it remains close by but not awkwardly exactly under your feet. It would be best if you also tried focusing on cushioning the ball at the correct height. Placing your foot too low will make the ball bounce over, whereas setting it too high risks squirming beneath the ball.
Though it is easiest to begin trapping the ball with your instep, with practice, you will have the ability to control it with the outside of the feet, sole of your boots, and your laces.
Absorb the Pass Impact
Fundamental to ball cushioning and maintaining the ball under control is how the impact from the ricochet or pass you received is absorbed. Hold your foot and leg firm instead of moving to kick the ball, and then pull it back deftly just when the ball is about to get to your foot.
This will take the ‘sting’ from the ball, implying that if your touch was perfectly and correctly timed while executing the technique, the ball should drop right at your feet, waiting for you to make the next move. If you fail to pull back the foot and relax the body, the ball will probably bounce off you.
Kill the Ball and Continue Playing
To execute a perfect trap, place one foot on the ball and put in some amount of pressure, making it completely stop at its position. Though you are likely to be tempted into admiring the technicality of your touch and the tricky ball trap, your control will be in vain if you fail to continue playing instantly after and reap the most from the time and space you have won.
The last step is not usually mandatory according to what you wish to accomplish with the ball and the pressure you are subject to on the soccer pitch. With complete control of the ball, you will then be free to pass it, dribble, or take a shot.
Not as straightforward as you might have imagined, trapping a soccer ball requires a great degree of technicality, with your touch and timing also required to be inch-perfect. The secret behind the skill is the ability of the player to absorb the impact and cushion the ball and, while doing this, prevent it from bouncing off.
To present yourself with the most excellent chance of succeeding, you should concentrate on the position of your body and your footwork, keeping an eye on the trajectory of the ball as it approaches you. Though it might prove challenging, patience, perseverance, and practice are all it takes to make you a trapping pro. You are guaranteed to realize improvements in your general performance and play by following these steps.