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During a match on an indoor 3G pitch, a young player puts the sole of her foot on top of the ball to control it before potentially changing direction to beat the defender.

Over the years, you might have seen the sole of the foot used more in Latin and European football than in the English game. It’s also common in the game of futsal. 

But, in matches at all levels, you'll notice that using the sole can move the ball in many situations. It can have a real benefit.  

Using the sole can help a player stay in possession, putting them in control. It allows the individual to drag, turn and roll the ball when moving or hiding it from opponents.  

It's great for stopping, starting, changing direction, and changing speed, too.  

And sometimes, using the sole can set up your next action – for instance, getting the ball out of your feet for a pass or shot.  

There are endless possibilities from using the sole of the foot. And every player will have their own capabilities and tendencies. So, it's important for young players to practice and develop these skills.

Developing skill through games

Watch the video below, where Paul McGuinness, a former FA national coach developer, introduces a rule to work on this skill. He simply encourages players to touch the ball with the sole of their foot before passing it.  

This rule reduces some realism and decision-making for the benefit of repetition.  

But, it encourages players to express themselves on the ball and explore possibilities.  

One important thing to consider is how this changes the game.  

Using the sole of the foot more may result in extended periods of possession, making the game slower-paced. But it will bring about more controlled and creative play.