One of the best ways to improve a player’s ability to strike the ball is to have them carry out instep juggling. The exercise provides maximum repetition since it involves one player and one ball. Be sure to ask player to use both feet!
Striking the ball with the instep requires a player to have their:
- Toe Down & Ankle Locked (this will ensure a firm contact with the ball)
- Head Steady & Eyes on the Ball
- Meet the Ball at a Consistent Height. Just under waist height (as pictured). Note: If you meet the ball too high and the ball will move toward you, too low the ball will move away.
- Ball should have no backspin (this means the toe is coming up & the ankle isn’t locked).
- Players should remain on their toes, “soft on their feet” in between juggles.
- Start with ball in hands, drop the ball, strike it with instep and catch it. Repeat with other foot.
- Right foot, bounce, left foot, bounce, continue.
- Instep Juggling with no bounces.
This is a great introduction to striking the ball for young players and a great review for older players. Instilling good habits and refining them are crucial in a player’s development.
Download this excercise [Instep Juggling – pdf]