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The fundamental concept of playing 3 touches !!!!
This concept, for different reasons, could enormously improve the performances of every player, beginner or advanced and, consequently, help teams to finally play soccer/football in a more correct way.

Many times we see talented players that keep dribbling the ball over and over with the obvious and inevitable result of............ losing it !!!!

Many other times we see so-so players that, on the rare occasions in which they receive the ball, immediately kick it away, with the obvious and inevitable result............................. of giving it back to the other team !!!

These two cases, even though they are opposite situations, have a common result: ball to the other team.

Even if I try to force myself to be less ironical and sarcastic, when the above happens, I tend to say to the players who did the above: ”are you playing for us or for them ????”

O.K. I’ll try to force myself not to say that or, at least, to say that...... less !!!!

So, to correct the above, there is only one way and that way is to play 3 touches.

This means..........

-first touch, receive the ball by moving it to the side and checking around....
-second touch, keep moving the ball in the same direction or make a fake to go to the opposite side and check around again......
-the third touch is a.............................. pass, short or long possibly to................ us !!!

After that, sprint into a good position so, your teammates can do the same by passing back to you.

A little parenthesis about “sprinting“. At practice, have your players walk for 10 seconds, after jog, then run and at the end............. sprint !!! After this short and instructive experiment, explain that “sprinting” was the fourth!!!! I’m sure that they will get the irony. ( O.K. irony and sarcasm are part of my character !!! )

Coming back to the 3 touches, of course this can be learned only at practices.

So, supposing that your players are able to receive the ball properly, move it and pass it, (otherwise I strongly suggest working on these 3 things !!!) create 4 squares of 10 yards by 10 yards.

Put in each square 4 players who will play 2v2, always using the 3 touches rule that I explained above.

If you notice that they don’t do the 3 touches, please stop the exercise and re-explain. If they continue not to do the 3 touches, after a few times in which you have stopped the play and re-explained the concept, if you just continue to tell them to use the 3 touches as a rule, they will never do it !!!!

What ever you say, after a few times, your words are just noises to them !!!! Words enter in one ear and go out through the other one !!!

So, from now on, every time they do something different, 1 or 4 (or more) touches before pass, all the 4 players in that square do 10 push ups. Please, force yourself to accept the fact that you won’t be a “monster” by asking them to do 10 push ups !!!

As an example, kids are like “puppies” and if you really believe that you can teach puppies not to poo or pee in the house by just telling them not to do that, you really believe the........... impossible !!!!!

After 10 minutes, and a few push ups, when finally they respect the rule of the 3 touches, take away the cones between 2 adjacent squares to create 2 rectangles 10 by 20 yards. Now they will play 4 v 4 in that double space, respecting the rule of the 3 touches.

After 10 minutes, take away all the cones in the middle to create a square 20 by 20 and play 8 v 8. Of course, 3 touches.

If they get the concept, great, if they don’t get it ...............yet, go back to the previous 2 rectangles. If they continue not to do the 3 touches, you have 2 choices:

-go back to the 4 squares and play 2v2 or, which I strongly suggest.......
- have all of them, again, do 10 push ups every time they give away the ball with no reason or keep dribbling it also with no reason because the exercise is 3 touches and that’s it. You’re the coach who kindly explained many times what to do and why we do it, so you’re the one who says what to do and they.................. simply...........just do it !!!

This is a very simple concept: Coaches coach, players play by applying what the coaches say !!! If the players want to do what they want, of course they can do it but, they will do it at their homes or move to other teams in which it’s normal that the players keep giving the ball to the other team !!!

Coming back to the topic, it’s fundamental to have them understand the principle of making the connection between this exercise and the reality of the game !!!

This means that, when they play the game, they have to force themselves to imagine the big field divided in little squares like when they played 2v2 in that square 10 by 10 yards.

This is the secret: forget the big field and always consider every situation as 2v2 in a little square and not 11 v 11 in an immense field in which, apparently, the only thing that counts is sending the ball to the other side of the field as fast as possible, with the only result of.......................... giving the ball back to the other team !!!

I promise you that, after a few practices, they might not look like Barcelona or Arsenal, which are masters of playing 3 touches but, at least, they will finally play soccer/football and not just kick the ball, what ever, toward the other side of the field.

In conclusion, we have the ball and we’ll pass it among ourselves instead of regularly giving it to the other team, which is the ‘essence’ of playing the beautiful game.

Posted on 09 Nov 2012 by coachgianni
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