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TECHNIQUE - TURNING WITH THE BALL
 
TURNING WITH THE BALL
 

To make goal scoring chances, this often requires the creation of space, whether this be individually or as a team. Spectators love to see a winger turning a defender before playing a dangerous cross. Turning with the ball allows the player in possession to:

- Create vital space for himself
- Change the direction of play
- Lose a closely marking defender

However, many players do not master the required techniques or make the wrong choice and may eventually lose possession. Furthermore, like most soccer techniques, turning relies as well on confidence and the determination to beat an opponent. A player must want to use different turns and always think that they are capable of using their technique to get the better of any defender. Indeed, strong technical ability is extremely important when turning and all players should master up to two or three different types of turns.

Before undertaking any turn, players must consider whether there is enough space to actually carry out the action if the ball is played into them. If closely marked, players can create room by moving off defenders. If space is available, receiving the ball in a sideways-on position to the direction of play will help to immediately play the ball forwards and keep up the attacking momentum. Also, the position of the player on the field where he will carry out the turn is important. For example, a risky turn in ones own defensive third may result in the ball being lost.

There are several different types of turning action. One of the most famous is the Cruyff turn, named after the great Dutch International and Barcelona player. This feint is very useful in sending a defender the wrong way and putting him off balance. The image below demonstrates this action (place mouse cursor over image to animate).

Fig 1: Cruyff Turn

- Here the player is walking through the technique.

- His non-kicking foot is next to the ball, he feints to kick the ball but hooks it with his right foot back the way he came from.

- Importantly, he must accelerate away.

Other turns often used in soccer are:

The Inside Hook - after taking a long stride, reach forward and use the inside of the foot to hook the ball back in the opposite direction.

Outside Hook - same as the inside hook but use the outside of the foot to play the ball away (see photo below - Fig 2). These two turns are useful when running at pace to lose a defender who is challenging alongside the attacker.

Drag-Back - Pretend to play the ball forward but using the sole of your foot, drag the ball back across you body and turn quickly.

Stop-Turn - Using the sole of the foot, trap the ball then use the other foot to play the ball quickly in the opposite direction. This and the drag-back technique are useful when the attacker cannot play the ball forward and is closely marked.

Whatever the turn used, players should make sure that there is an element of disguise or surprise to fool the defender. The player must also screen the ball using his body and ensure that the turn involves a change in direction and pace. The coach must also be able to demonstrate all of these individual turning techniques.

Players should master as many turns as possible and be capable of using both their feet. The coach should encourage players to approach the turn slowly, keep their knees bent, concentrate on their balance and co-ordination and accelerate out of the turn. Younger players may struggle at first and it is important that the coach can analyse break down the individual action in order to correct and improve the player.

Once the basic technique has been mastered, it is important that players learn when and where to try out their turning techniques. Small-sided games such as 2v2 where a server plays the ball into his team mate who must turn his attacker before playing it back into the server who now becomes the attacker can help before progressing onto normal sided games.

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