Cutting In Line - Taking the Ball Away in Soccer

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Cutting in line.  Every kid knows what that means, how that feels, and some have even done it. 

In the years I've been coaching soccer, one of the hardest things to teach a kid to do is to get inside of another player's space and take the ball.  You often see kids poking a foot in, or trying to drag the ball away from the outside but that's not near as effective as invading a player's space, moving them off the ball and taking control of it.

In my previous post about teaching aggressive soccer, I talk about using a drill that teaches the kids how to move in on the ball.  Believe me, if you do this drill on a regular basis, you will see your girls use it in games.  However, the challenge is explaining what you want to see them do and how they execute it.  Often times during this drill you will see the defender reaching out with one hand while they trail behind the player with the ball and just running alongside.  This not only could be called a foul but it's not going to move them off the ball or give the defender a chance to take it.  Most kids are taught at an early age to avoid contact in soccer and to not use their hands but nothing could be further from the truth.  If you watch professional soccer, you know this is a very physical game.

To help your kids make the connection, tell the defender to act like they are cutting in line.  Tell  them to pretend that they want to insert themselves between the ball and the player as if the ball and the player are two people in the lunch line.  I was just doing this drill last night at practice and once I put it in those terms, they got it.

Once they understand the concept, you can then start to teach them how to use their shoulder and keep their center of gravity while moving the other player off the ball.

Practice this drill every single day and your kids will become better players.

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