How to coach turning in football
Ever wondered what makes a player good at turning? This article explores how The FA’s core capabilities can help your team master this skill.
Scanning unlocks effective turning. It’s so important. Think about it. How can players know where and when to turn if they don’t look at their surroundings first? We don’t want players turning unnecessarily into trouble. To avoid that, they need to understand what’s around them.
Scanning can help players:
- see the path and speed of the ball
- spot where their teammates and opponents are
- notice where the space is
- adjust their positioning
- choose how and when to turn.
One way to introduce scanning is through this simple unopposed and interference practice idea. Players are in three teams of three and play on a small pitch split into thirds. Teams have one player in each third. Each team has a ball. The idea is to pass to the teammate in the middle, who then turns and passes to their other teammate. Then repeat. They get a point each time they work the ball from one side to the other without losing it. There's a lot of interference in a small space here. So, the player in the middle needs to scan before receiving and turning to avoid traffic and find their teammates.
Timing is crucial. This affects the success of all the other capabilities. For instance, if players don’t time their scan before receiving the ball, they won’t know what to do with it. If they roll a defender and run into space at the wrong time, they might not be a viable passing option. And if they time their turning technique incorrectly, they could be in danger of losing the ball.
But your players can keep possession, create and exploit space by getting the timing of all these actions right.
To develop timing skills, try this idea. Use the centre circle of a pitch as an area. Fill it with three teams of three and give each side a ball. One player in each group acts as a defender, while the other two work together to keep possession. Players face pressure from a defender in a crowded area. So, they must twist and turn at the right time to stay on the ball and create space to pass to their teammate. If the defender wins the ball, they swap roles with the player that lost possession. To increase the challenge, add more teams to reduce space.