Soccer: The Trapping Game—Bringing Down the Ball

Soccer: The Trapping Game—Bringing Down the Ball

Soccer: The Trapping Game—Bringing Down the Ball


Just as I have already mentioned, trapping is a tricky game. There are various ways to trap a ball—from the various parts of your body used to the various parts of your foot used. However, you can also switch up how you trap a ball from the way it’s coming at you and what you want to do with it immediately after you trap it.


A Ground Pass

If the ball is coming at you from a simple ground pass, you should use the inside trap (the inside of your foot, near the middle lengthwise) to keep it under control. That way, you can easily set yourself up for your next touch, as the ball will automatically go in front of you—ready to pass it again or dribble and take off.


A Pass in the Air

When the ball is coming at you in the air, the height it will come at you will dictate which part of your body you use to get the ball back down to your feet. You can use your head, your chest, your thigh, or your feet. The less it bounces off your body and the more you can keep it under control, the better.


A Bouncing Pass


Whether it was a pass from a teammate or your are intercepting a ricochet of a ball coming from the other team, a bouncing ball can be a difficult one to control. If it is around knee to foot height, you can use the inside trap or get the ball down by running through it, trying to lessen the impact and get it to the ground. The idea here is to keep it shielded from other opposing players around you.


No matter what type of pass or ball is heading your way, there are a few fundamental aspects to remember to be able to bring the ball down in an accountable and effective manner.


For example:


  • Keep the Ball Close to Your Body. Your second touch is when you can do something positive with the ball so your first touch has to get the ball and your body ready to be able to take that next step. If you have the ball too far away from you, you risk losing it to another player or out of bounds.
  • Take Advantage of Your First Touch. Not only is that first touch important when setting up your second, especially if you're not under immediate pressure, you should take that touch in a positive way—setting yourself up to move forward and into open space so you can get on the move quickly.
  • Direct It Away From the Defender. Especially if you have pressure coming at you or already on you, it’s important to have that first touch pushing the ball away from where the defender is and using your body to cover it. Your body should always be in between you and the defender.


Even if you have been playing for years, trapping is a skill that shouldn't be overlooked and be practiced—even on your own—as much as possible. If you don't have a good first touch, you won’t have the opportunity to display the rest of your skills.


Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.

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