Ball Control - The Magic Circle

Exercise description: Large circle with a smaller circle in the center. Have two equal groups. The players on the outside have a soccer ball. Once they perform the exercise, they MUST go back into the center circle, and then come out again and receive a pass from a different player. The coach explains the control and pass required:

1. Players control the ball with the inside of the foot and pass it back to the server.
2. Control the ball with one foot, play across the body, and pass with the opposite foot.
3. Player receives, controls with inside and moves the ball with the outside of the same foot, then pass back.
4. One touch pass back.

Coaching points: Quality pass, accuracy, weight, and timing. First touch, heel down toe-up, and take your first touch to your target. Scan the field for options. Checking to the ball.

Intended outcome:

  • To make the ball control more realistic to the player's movement on a field.

  • To get the players to control the ball while they are moving.

  • To improve first touch and passing.

  • To improve their field awareness when moving to a different server.

  • To improve communication

  • Improve checking to the ball.


You can remove the middle circle and then have 3 players in the circle. Have 5 balls on the outside with seven players. Players now receive a ball, take the first touch, dribble, and pass to an open player.

Technical / Tactical:

  • Passing - Focus on accuracy, weight, and timing

  • Make eye contact when passing.

  • Ball control - Try to do it while still moving

  • Scan the playing area.

  • Communicate


  • Be ready to interact with teammates.

  • Communicate.

  • Applaud good play and work ethic from teammates.

  • Offer help if you understand the exercise

  • Have fun!


  • Be willing to run at different speeds

  • Explode out of the center circle and call for the ball.

  • Strong locked ankle when receiving and passing the ball.


  • Be ready to focus

  • Embrace failure.

  • Remember the instructions of the exercise.

  • Decision-making can only happen if we are open to finding answers.

  • Visualize playing in a game.

Possible Performance Problems: Players will forget to run into the middle circle after the pass. Once they move out of the middle circle, they will stand still and call for the ball. Try to get them to keep moving towards the ball. They may also stand and wait for a player to finish. Keep them moving.