Anyone can control the ball incredibly once or twice, but to do it consistently, that requires training. Training that is best done with someone else. But what if you don’t have anyone else? In this guide, we are covering how to improve ball control when training alone with simple drills because regardless of what you have or where you are, you can improve all aspects of your football with some right knowledge and commitment.
Here’s what you are going to learn as you read:
- How to improve ball control in the air.
- Positioning yourself better to be in the right sport to control the ball in the air.
- Controlling the ball when dribbling.
- The key to improving ball control overall.
Learning How to Improve Ball Control in the Air
Ideally, if you can get a friend to help you out, playing and receiving all types of high passes will help you improve ball control in the air like no other individual drill, but if you are training alone, juggling is the next best thing.
You might be thinking to yourself that you are already great at juggling a ball and that it’s a pointless drill, but with some adjustments, juggling the ball will become a very useful drill for improving ball control in the air.
Here’s what you can do so that juggling can improve ball control when training alone:
- Don’t juggle with one foot. It won’t benefit your ball control as much as constant switching between both feet. Juggling with one foot also won’t help you improve your weaker foot which is very important to do to grow as a player, and something we mentioned in our blog post about the top 5 attributes every football play should work on. (You can also read about how to improve your weak foot in 5 easy steps.)
- Don’t be random. This is a post about how to improve ball control, with “control” being the keyword. When doing juggles, work on making the ball go up at the same height, without having to move left and right, consistently. That’s what matters the most.
- Change it up. In a match, the ball can get to you in so many different ways. That’s why it’s important that you control it with different parts of your body, whether that’s your chest, knee, the front part of your foot, or the side of your foot. Switching up your juggling between different parts of your body will allow you to overtime improve ball control in the air, from every single angle.
- Have a plan. Doing random things will bring you random results. That’s why you need to have a plan in action when doing these. Depending on where you are in your ball controlling training, that plan will differ, but it should consist of changes between what part of your body you are juggling with, while at the same time not being too complicated.
Here’s a sample plan that you can apply:
- 20 juggles with any part of your body to get focused.
- 50 juggles with each foot, switching between every juggle. Keep those not going higher than your knee.
- 80 juggles, switching between your two feet under your knees, going up to juggling with both knees, followed by high juggles with your feet going over your chest, with you chesting the ball, with once again high juggles, with you heading the ball instead of chesting it. Repeat 10 times.
- 40 juggles with just your knees switching between them every juggle.
- 40 juggles switching between your foot every juggle, but also switching between juggling with front foot and side of your foot, every time you complete 2 juggles.
It’s a relatively simple plan that you can adjust in any way that you find beneficial. What’s important here is repetition. Whatever way you want to do this, do. As long as you are working all parts of your body that could be used for ball control in the air, then whatever works for you, works, and will help you improve ball control.
If this wasn’t a post about how to improve ball control when training alone, we would mention a lot more useful techniques that you can apply. But when it comes to training alone, juggling is the best practice that you can apply for air control practice. It’s also a practice that will only take around 10-15 minutes of your day but will improve your ball control tremendously if you are consistent and do these daily.
Learning How to Approach the Ball to Improve Your Air Control
Positioning is key in football, and something we discussed in our blog post about the top 5 attributes that every football player should work on.
Juggling will improve ball control a lot, but it won’t help you position yourself to control the ball successfully. And that’s where learning how to approach the ball comes in.
Unfortunately, when training alone, you are very limited on what you can do to help with positioning as you don’t have anyone to kick you the ball, but a useful tactic to implement is to analyze football matches instead.
Analyze how the best in the world at it such as Ronaldinho did it and figure out what kind of ball control in the air is the safest bet for you in a given situation, and how players react to certain types of balls. Then apply it. Football has a lot to do with knowing what to do at a given time. Some call that experience, and while you sure can learn all of that while playing, you can save a ton of time by eliminating what doesn’t work and implementing what does work, right away.
A little bonus tip? Don’t let the ball bounce. It’s going to be a lot harder to control a ball if it bounces as you won’t have enough time to react and position yourself accordingly.
How to Improve Ball Control When It Comes to Dribbling
Dribbling is one of the most exciting parts of football. It’s where you can shine going past opponents. It’s also when you can get your ankle broken for going past opponents if you play in the likes of Sunday League so be adviced to use what you learn to dribble better with caution!
Here are some incredibly simple yet effective drills to boost your dribbling skills:
- Sprint with the ball. It’s a lot harder to control to a ball at a high pace, yet it’s something that you will most likely need to do at one point of a match. Do it effectively, and you will vastly improve your team’s chances of scoring. Sprint with the ball while trying to control it as much as possible having it as near to you as possible. Of course, sprinting is tiring, but perhaps doing sprinting with the ball is a far more effective strategy to implement rather than springing without a ball?
- Work on how you move your body. Your ability to dribble has a lot to do with your body movement. You need to position your entire body towards where you want to go. Your upper body also needs to be lower. It will allow you to move faster and better while also making it much easier to protect the ball from your opponents.
- Do one of the most simple cone drills out there. 6 or 7 cones set apart from each other (change the distance every so often) in a straight line. Incredibly simple, yet one of the most effective exercises to improve ball control and dribbling overall. You most likely already do some of this with your team, but you probably need to do even more.
Most of the drills on YouTube that look super cool and fancy aren’t similar enough to a match situation. This one is. Your most likely move on a pitch to go past your opponent is to either go left or right, followed by continuing going forward. Of course, you can modify this drill in many different ways.
For instance, you could place your cones in a set of 4 or 5, followed by the next set of cones being 2 or 3 meters away from you, at a different angle. A drill that can allow you to also work on change of movement.
And remember to try to these as quickly as possible. Starting off, you can take your time to have the right accuracy, but you need to be accurate and fast in a real match situation. Otherwise, you will lose the ball when going against an opponent.
Want to take improving ball control when training alone to the next level? Then also use Xampion. Xampion insole trackers track all parts of football whether it’s your touches, shots, speeds of shots, as well as las your athletic performance during the game or practice. All the pros have data around their games that their coaches then use to help them improve. You probably won’t be given statistics on your match performance after a game, and based on that it will be hard to see where you need to focus on.
If you play a match and notice that you aren’t really touching the ball with a certain part of your foot, you can then see that data, and practice touching the ball with that part of your foot, which will then give you far more options on the pitch. With Xampion you can also see exactly when you kick the ball in contrast to your speed, as your match is going on. Based on that, you will be able to see that perhaps you aren’t touching the ball enough when sprinting, which could be caused by you kicking the ball too far from yourself.
The data Xampion offers can be used to improve all aspects of your game, to the point that we believe in our tracker so much that we offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like them send them back and we’ll give you a full refund.
If You Want to Improve Ball Control When Training Alone, the Key Is to Train Whenever You Can and with What You Can!
Instagram will make it easy to make excuses. You will want to wait until you get this special type of equipment that will help you improve, before doing anything. If you really want to improve ball control whether that’s just a better Sunday League player or to become a pro, you need to train with whatever you have.
Even if that means using bibs or shirts instead of cones.
It doesn’t matter what you train with. Get creative. If you really want to improve ball control when training alone, you’ll find a way to do it.
Did we mention everything that will improve ball control when training alone? Not even close. There are so many things that you can implement that will help you improve ball control that you can find on the likes of YouTube. We just covered some of the most essential aspects. And if you were wondering about improving first touches, that is something that will be coming to the blog in the future.
Before we let you practice or read our other blogs about improving as a football player, remember that whatever you do, whether form this guide or from YouTube, will help you, but you need to be consistent and have patience.