Technique is perhaps the most visibly obvious element to success in football. Even an amateur can recognize good technique. Do they have good ball control? Are they fast with the ball at their feet? Can they dribble through their opponents? Do they pass to feet?
Good technique has 4 key elements:
1. Ball control
Ball control refers to a player’s ability to collect the ball and gain control of it using all parts of the body including feet, legs, chest, and head. A player with good ball control is able to receive passes both on the ground and out of the air with clean first touches keeping the ball close to their body. Ball control also refers to a player’s ability to maintain possession of the ball, successfully protecting it from opponents. The ability to turn quickly and sharply with the ball is also of upmost important to achieving success in football and falls under the ball control element.
2. Dribbling skills
Dribbling skills refers to a player’s ability move up and down the pitch with full control of the ball. A player with good dribbling skills can move the ball in different directions at different speeds with both feet. They can successfully maneuver through opponents without losing possession of the ball. Superb drilling skills are essential to achieving success in football for players of all positions.
3. Passing accuracy
Passing accuracy refers to a player’s ability to use both feet to send the ball to the player’s desired destination. That could mean sending the ball straight to a teammate’s feet with power and precision, sending a through pass into space with proper weight, crossing the ball accurately in front of the net, or, for strikers shooting the ball accurately and powerful into the back of the net. Players cannot achieve success in football without being able to pass accurately with both feet.
4. Body control
Body control refers to a player’s ability to move their body fluidly to optimize balance and coordination. Since body control falls under the category of technique rather than physical fitness, body control refers mostly to correctness of form. Long strides, correct running form, and a low center of gravity are good indications of good body control.
Check out Messi’s incredible technique in the video below. If that doesn’t inspire you to get out to the pitch and start practicing, nothing will.
Improving technique is a question of hours of practice and specifically repetitive drills. Playing in friendly games isn’t the best way to improve any one of these essential skills. Instead, players should practice drills which target each specific skill until they perfect each skill. Then, they should take those skills to the pitch and practice them critical during match play.