National Assessment Topic #5: Aerial Control

The Importance of Aerial Control
Controlling crosses, goal kicks, throw-ins, flighted passes, corners – there really isn’t a part of the game where aerial control isn’t immensely important. Look no further than the World Cup Final a few months back. A misplayed trap by the Dutch leads to a bouncing ball that Iniesta calmly controls with the side of his foot perfectly 3 feet out in front of him and volleys it home… The rest is history.

Becoming Comfortable Younger
Taking the ball out of the air effectively is not as easy as the pros make it look. Years of practice have enabled the pros to place the ball precisely where they want it with practically any part of their body.

There are many young players across the country whose natural instinct is to just ‘boot it’ when faced with a tricky situation on the pitch. By making a concerted effort to practice aerial control from their youth, players will feel more confident with their control, and will learn to override their instinct to just ‘boot it’.

The Aerial Assessment
Teaching the skills needed to control the ball out of the air are critical to train over the course of many years. A player does not all of sudden learn how to take the ball with the different parts of the body – it takes time and plenty of bad touches to finally get to those good touches. The iSoccer Aerial Control assessment is a great tool to target weaknesses and monitor players’ improvement.

Two Touch Aerial Control Game
Like passing, a wall is a great training tool. So lets have some fun with it. From 1, 2.5, 5 or 10 yards away from the wall, see how many consecutive times you can control the ball and volley it into the wall. The ball is only allowed to bounce once and that is on the return from the wall. Other than that, the ball should be kept in the air. For younger players, catch the ball after every touch until you comfortable enough to try it without the catch.

Free iSoccer Videos
US Club Soccer, the Official Player Development Partner of the National Standards Project, is sponsoring all Aerial Control videos for the next week. Register or log back in to view and download all Aerial Control videos! Lets start raising the level!

2.5 meters and 5 meters from you partner, how many can get out of 16?
Watch the Aerial Control Assessment Video!