Soccer Tips: Receiving the Ball Under Pressure

Improve your soccer skills in tight defensive situations with these tips on how to handle the first touch under pressure.

October 26, 2018

Maintaining ball possession in soccer is one of the most important skills a team can possess. Doing so helps break down defenses, creates scoring chances and leads to goals. But maintaining possession can also be difficult when you have to receive and turn the ball with a defender right in your face.


Division I Women’s Head Soccer Coach Randy Waldrum shares three tips to help you master turning and receiving the first touch under pressure.




Sometimes while receiving a ball, the defender will apply pressure on your shoulder. To counteract this, you’ll want to move the ball in front of your body. This will essentially lead to you using your body as a shield to protect the ball from the defender. Using your body as a screen can help ensure that the ball will be turned in your preferred direction, minimizing the risk of giving it away.




Another method that Waldrum suggests is to use a “self-pass.” After receiving the ball, you’ll want to play the ball back into the space from where you received it. This can help you to separate yourself from the defender. Once you recover your self-pass, turn your body and use the newly opened space to attack the defender.




The third way to receive and turn is by using the outside of your foot. According to Waldrum, this method works well because it has more deception to it.


“It is an activity that is a difficult trait to handle, but it’s one that’s very effective,” he says.


Using the outside of your foot can prove to be effective because once the pressure comes on your shoulder, you can very quickly flick the ball with the outside of your foot. This can create an easy escape opportunity.


“You can spin off or roll off your defender much like a center in basketball would roll off the player who’s covering them,” Waldrum says.


Don’t forget to always be aware of your surroundings on the field to know which type of turn will work best for you. Successfully turning and receiving can help you be at the receiving end of a win.


For more on maintaining ball possession, check out these tips on third player movements.