How to ensure you leave your mark on the pitch

Training with NIKE Football

Words by Jacob Arnott | Images by Aleks Jason


When evaluating a player’s talent, the first thing that any coach or scout will do is consider a player’s technical abilities. In any training or match situation, a player’s skills are what make them stand out from the pack. A brilliant display of technique makes the crowd ooze with excitement and leaves your opponent red-faced.

It’s not difficult to see why stars like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Leo Messi dominate the headlines. Their technical flare and skill always produce the outrageous, the impossible, setting the football world abuzz in pure awe.

“Great players with exceptional technique can create something out of nothing,” Nike Academy Most Wanted Australia coach, Jas Virdee shared with THE TURF.

“They can win a match single-handedly in a single moment. Whether it be a first-time pass to create an assist, or a 25-yard volley screaming into the top right corner; technique creates those magical moments.”

Mastering technique not only provides a player with a threatening skill-set, but also gives a player with the confidence to act swiftly in high-intensity situations. This past month, Virdee along with the Nike Academy have traveled Australia and New Zealand in search for players ready to take their game to the next level.

Upon his observations from these trials, Virdee stressed to THE TURF the importance of a good first touch, especially when linking up offensive movements.

“Having a good first touch is vital to keep control of the ball moving forward. A good first touch will allow your team to continue in the best circumstances whilst in possession to create goal-scoring opportunities,” Virdee said.

“We’re looking for players who have the ability to keep control of the ball at pace, a clean striking of the ball and a first touch allowing the player to face forward and to create opportunities.”

Evidently, a consistent emphasis on further developing your ball control can significantly improve your game. Specifically focusing on training your touch for 10-15 minutes per week, through drills such as the ‘Touch Control’ drill on the Nike Football App, can rapidly enhance a player’s ball skill.

“This drill will improve the player by forcing them to react to different situations with the ball using different techniques to control.”

“The Touch Control drill has 2 players in an end zone each facing each other. Players score points by distributing the ball to each other and successfully controlling with their first touch. Variations in distribution and control such as aerial balls and not allowing the ball to stop can be implemented.”

Alongside the world’s best, you too can now improve your game through a range of drills used by elite clubs and the Nike Academy. The updated NIKE Football App features a range of training tutorials to help you take your game to the next level.

Download the NIKE Football App on iPhone and Android.

This post is sponsored by Nike.