Develop a deft first touch

Stop the ball dead and pick out a team-mate with this drill from the Nike Academy's head coach, Jimmy Gilligan
Develop a deft first touch


Four 5 x 5-yard service areas are marked out with a control zone in the middle, 12 yards from each service area. Position four servers inside the service areas, three of them with a ball each. Place a receiver in the control zone.


On the coach’s command, one of the servers plays a sidefoot pass into the receiver, who has to control it inside the square before passing to the spare man. If they fail to keep the ball inside the zone they lose a point. Then the next delivery comes in from a different server. To progress the drill, tell the servers to play passes in with their laces, and then to chip the ball so the receiver has to control and volley it back into their hands. Change the receiver every 45 seconds.


As well as working the players’ first touch, you’re challenging them to show awareness and precision to find the spare man.

Also see:
Take control of the game
Hit the target every time
Finish at speed
Jimmy Gilligan Technique

Jimmy Gilligan

Head Coach, Nike Academy

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