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Receiving skills are something every player needs.   

When we talk about receiving, we're discussing the moment a player gets possession of the ball. Usually, this is a result of a deliberate pass by a teammate. But receiving happens through random events too. For example, getting a loose ball from:  

  • a tackle  

  • a rebound  

  • a misplaced pass from an opponent.  

Players who want to be good at receiving must be able to adjust the position of their bodies. They also need to be able to immediately control the ball. 

Receiving is fundamental to football – and the development of teamwork. It's an essential consideration for every coach.  


If your team want to improve their receiving, they must understand the importance of two-player connections. Simple examples include a hand signal, look or call that says, "let's work together in this situation".  

The skilful part comes from the timing of this connection. And, where possible, the use of deception to outwit an opponent. There should also be elements of preparation from both players.  

First, players must feel comfortable in possession. This allows them to look around for someone to pass to – rather than focusing on controlling the ball. Working on this individual skill is particularly important if you coach a primary-age team.  

Second, the receiving player must scan the pitch. They won't be a viable passing option if they haven't – or they're not very good at it. 

So, when working on receiving, start by highlighting the importance of looking around. Glancing at opponents, teammates, and the available space will help your players make their next decision.  

When players develop their awareness, they become more effective on the pitch. Using small-sided games, such as 2v2s or 3v3s, can help. These activities provide lots of repetition of passing, receiving and scanning. You could also ask your players about their decisions. For example, "what did you see that made you make that pass?". This provides an opportunity to praise and reinforce their understanding.