1st Touch Square

By Jebreel Bubtana

This exercise will work on your player’s 1st touch at different heights, progressing from being easy to control the ball at the start to being more challenging and working more on anaerobic fitness as well as 1st touch.

Set up the field as shown below in figure 1, with a 4x4 yard square and three players per group.


The player in the middle receives the ball from either of the players on the outside of the square. They receive the ball from the feeder and have 2 touches to get the ball back to the same player (figure 2).


The player in the middle now faces the other feeder, receives the ball and has 2 touches to get the ball back (figure 3).


After a feeder has received the ball back from the player in the middle, they may move to one of the free sides of the square in order to challenge the player in the middle’s awareness (figure 4).

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This continues for 45 seconds before switching the player in the middle.

You can challenge your players by having them control the ball with different part of their body:

  • Inside of the foot on the ground
  • Inside of the foot in the air
  • Laces in the air
  • Thigh
  • Chest

You can also have your player’s pass the ball back first time using:

  • Inside of the foot on the ground
  • Side foot volleys
  • Laces volleys
  • Headers

I would recommend going through a number of different heights and types of control or first time passes as they will need to be comfortable with it all during a real game.


Now that your team is comfortable with the ball at different heights, you can challenge them and work on their anaerobic fitness at the same time.

In a 4x4 yards square it is relatively comfortable to control the ball and there is not much movement by the player in the middle. To challenge you players, increase the size of the square to 6x6 yards and tell the feeders on the outside to not throw the ball directly to the player in the middle, they must challenge that player by throwing or passing the ball at different heights and away from them. The player in the middle can return the ball back to the feeder in any way possible. So now they have a decision to make as to which part of the body to control the ball with or play the ball back first time with. They also now have more ground to cover, which will work on their anaerobic fitness.

Again, work for 45 seconds before rotating your players.

The players will get to rest a little when they are the feeders, but encourage them to keep moving to different sides of the square to keep the player in the middle on their toes and challenge their awareness of what is going on around them.

With both parts of this exercise, you can develop a competition. Every time the player in the middle controls the ball (or plays first time depending on what you are working on) and gets the ball back directly to the feeder, they earn themselves a point.

Jebreel Bubtana
Director of Marketing at BRASA Brazilian Soccer Academy
NSCAA Advanced National Diploma
NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma
Follow me on Twitter @jib1989

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