What is turning in football?
We explore turning, why it matters and how it can help you develop skilful players.
Turning is all about changing direction. It helps players keep possession and allows them to create, exploit and even deny space.
There are so many different turns in football, and teams use this skill all over the pitch. Examples of techniques include a drag back, stepover or Cruyff turn. These movements help change the direction of travel.
But turning also happens when players roll their opponent and dart into space to make a run. And it can be as simple as changing body positioning to receive a pass or face an opponent.
To be able to turn effectively, players need to:
- know what’s around them (position of the ball, opponents, teammates, space)
- judge the flight and speed of the ball to inform how and when to turn
- be able to use different types of turns and know which one to use
- get in the best position to turn
- have good physical literacy skills to make the right movements
- take the right number of touches (if turning while on the ball)
- follow it up with another well-executed action (e.g. a pass, a shot, a tackle).
If players get turning right, they can exploit space and catch the opposition out. Or, from a defensive viewpoint, limit their opponents’ options. But mastering this skill is tricky, so teams need lots of realistic practice.