Part of being a productive soccer player is being able to receive a pass. Soccer players receive passes out of the air, bouncing passes, or passes on the ground. These passes may be towards your head, chest, thigh, or feet. An excellent soccer player will be able to take a quality first touch that allows him or her, in most game circumstances, to progress down the field to increase your chances and your team chances of scoring.
-First, communicate where you want the pass. Point with your hands when looking to receive a pass and provide constructive feedback to your teammates in between plays on what was great and what to do next time.
-Make sure that all your teammates know that you would prefer passes on the ground in nearly all game situations, as they are much easier to control with a quality first touch. -Check to the ball, which naturally puts you on your toes, to make sure the defender does not intercept the pass.
-Don’t ask for the ball, demand it. Don’t call for the ball, yell for it. Be the verbally aggressive player on the field because it builds you up while giving you self-assurance. Furthermore, it reduces the confidence of the opposing team. Let’s be honest, it is often intimidating playing against that player that is constantly yelling for the ball when they are open and have a “certain confidence” about themselves.
-Receive with the appropriate part of your foot based on where your first touch needs to go. When using the inside of your foot, taking attacking touches in front of you is best done with the portion of your foot where your ankle meets the foot. To stop the ball, which is not recommended in nearly all game settings (because it dramatically slows down your speed of play and allows a defender to close in on you quickly), simply trap the balls towards the toes using the inside of the foot. Lastly, after having taken a scanning look behind you to realize that you have space directly behind you to attack, take your first touch with the inside of your foot towards your toes. However, you must slowly pull your foot backward as you take the touch, so that you slow the ball, but don’t completely stop the ball.
-Be willing to play “give and goes.” These are also known as a “1-2” or a “wall pass.” Soccer players like to play passes to people that will often give the ball back. Soccer players want to have the ball, so getting the good feeling of knowing you made a pass to a person coupled with the high chance you get it back is a double win for you and helps to show your teammates you are not a selfish soccer player, which is essential to receive more passes. Often, no matter how good of a dribbler or goal scorer you are, many teammates will not want to pass to you if they know that they never get the ball back.
-Adjust your body so that you put yourself in the most advantageous position to receive a pass. It is often best to receive a pass with your right foot when you are going to the right and to obtain a pass with your left foot when you are attacking to the left. Taking a first touch with the correct foot creates for an athletic first touch, which is really a first step. The first step helps you already start generating momentum and increases the likelihood of an excellent first touch. Taking a first touch with your right foot when you need to travel to the left will result in your feet crossing, which is nonathletic. See the recent post about body positioning to learn more about correct body positioning.
-Keep your first touch on the ground. A first touch by a soccer player that often bounces decreases the chance you will be successful in soccer. Push the ball, so that you can spend less mental energy on focusing on dribbling and more mental energy on finding a teammate to pass to or a way to get a shot off to score.
-In nearly all game situations, try to take your first touch with your foot, instead of your head, chest, or thigh. Taking a first touch with your foot is crucial because you need to use your feet to dribble, so start your first touch with the thing you use nearly every time you make contact with the soccer ball. Understand that there are several situations in a game where you will need to use a different part of your body to take a first touch, because if you don’t, it will give the defender enough time to steal the ball from you or to at least get a foot on the ball to kick it away. However, where possible, judge the ball so that you can receive a bouncing pass or a pass out of the air using your foot.
-Make quality and high probability runs. Making long runs where you are 40 yards away from where the ball will allow for plenty of time for the defenders to adjust and intercept a teammate’s pass. However, checking to the ball to receive 7 and 10-yard passes will increase the number of passes played to you. If you are fast, making runs can be useful for your game, but if you are still developing your explosiveness, then keep most of your runs to the ball instead of away from the ball.
All in all, being able to receive a pass properly ensures you increase your chances of being able to help your team maintain possession, score more goals, and win more games. Work on developing an “attacking” first touch for nearly every single one of your touches. Attacking first touches give you time and space to be more productive with the ball and to make better decisions on what to do next.
Check out the book Passing & Receiving: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Work with Your Teammates to read more on the ways to receive the ball in order to continue to attack and shoot with confidence.