The ability to trap – to receive a ball in the air and bring it to the ground using the head, torso, inner thighs or feet – gives you a definitive edge in soccer. Trapping is a way of stopping and controlling the soccer ball to prevent opposing players from gaining possession. Learning to trap the ball with perfection is simply a matter of drilling with a partner or your team.
Trapping With a Partner
Trapping with a partner is a simple but effective way to begin practicing trapping. Hold a ball and stand 10 feet away from a teammate. Throw the ball into the air to her, who has to trap it with her chest and bring it down to her feet under control. She then passes it back to you, and you throw it again. After 10 times, switch roles. Practice trapping the ball with your chest, head, inner thighs and the sides and tops your feet.
To create a sense of urgency while trapping and to force players to race to a dropping ball and trap it while running, coaches can organize a trapping competition. A trapping competition involves lining up your team, with your coach in the middle holding the ball behind a starting line. Your coach drop-kicks the ball in the air as high as he can, and then calls out the names of two players. As soon as these two players hear their names, they race to the dropping ball to see who can trap it first.
Trapping and Shooting
If you're a forward, many times in a game you receive a long ball or cross in front of the net and must bring it down, under control, and then shoot. You can simulate this game situation by first, lining up your team's forwards and offensive midfielders at the top of the 18-yard box. Then, have your team's defenders and defensive midfielders on the left or right sideline, or even where a corner kick is normally placed. The first defender in line crosses the ball in the air into the box and the first forward in line rushes to the ball, traps it and shoots.
Trapping Under Pressure
In this drill, you can practice trapping a ball while defenders are pressuring you. This could involve a set play anywhere on the field, including in front of the net. One of your teammates sends a ball in the air to you and you run to trap it. At this point, another teammate rushes up and tries to put pressure on you by jostling you and attempting to take the ball. Practice turning your body away from this player and either pass the ball off or shoot immediately.
A trapping mini-game allows you to repeatedly practice trapping. In a 6-on-6 trapping game, you and your teammates use your hands to throw the ball to other teammates, who must trap the ball with their bodies and bring it down under control. Once they have, they may pick it up and throw it to another teammate. Players cannot run while holding the ball. Opposing players try to gain possession of the ball by winning it out of the air or by picking up a ball the other team failed to trap. Shooting on goal is allowed after trapping the ball.