Primary Schools

How to Improve your Turning Technique

Last week we looked out how and when to dribble, this week, we look into turning techniques and there are several similarities with how to carry out the two techniques – however it could be argued, that mastering turning techniques is more important.

Players turn more often than you would think and often in very different scenarios, so the importance on being able to turn both ways, at different angles and with both feet cannot be underestimated.

Turning is another really useful tool for any football player to possess, even goalkeepers and hopefully this short blog will help open the eyes of young players to the importance of this skill, and how to improve it.


When might I turn with the ball?

Players turn, all over the pitch, last week we discussed the flamboyance of Ronaldo and Messi when they dribble, but although turning can be graceful, skilful and brilliant to watch it is so much more and how some positions might use turning are looked at below – but there are too many to discuss – so get practicing!!!!

Goalkeepers need to be comfortable with the ball at their feet, especially when the ball is passed back from one of their own players. Being able to receive the ball and turn to switch the play is very important, they may occasionally need to use a trick or a turn to beat a pressing forward – and although this maybe risky – having the skill to do it is a real help.

Defenders spend a lot of the game running back towards their own goal, and having the confidence and the ability to turn out to be able to play forward and keep the ball for their team is really important. The more confident players are on the ball, the easier the turn becomes and the better the decisions and end product becomes as a result.

Midfielders play in the most populous area of the pitch – there are normally lots of players trying to gain possession of the ball and having the ability to turn out of trouble can be key. Players in midfield are also often responsible for providing crosses and key passes, and a sharp turn can help create a little bit of space for that pass.

This is the same for Forwards, a quick turn in and around the penalty area can create space for a shot, or even win your team a freekick or penalty.

It’s not just the position you are in that dictates the type of turn you may need, it is also about what is happening on the pitch at that particular moment. Consider the following scenarios;

  • The ball has been passed into you and you are in space – but what way are you facing?
  • You have been running with the ball, there is a defender in front of you and no space behind.
  • You need to protect the ball on your right – or your left
  • You need to turn quickly or you need to shield the ball?

There is a never ending list of possibilities of when you may need to turn and how you may do it, so to make sure you are capable of completing the turn you need when you need it, practice as many ways as you can, as often as you can.


How to turn

Although the answer to this question is never ending, there are some key factors to consider and some questions that might help you make the correct decision when turning.

  • Keep the ball close so that you can manipulate it quickly
  • Work at a quick pace that is comfortable to play at.
  • Use your whole body to turn – bend your knees, use your arms to protect the ball and disguise your movements
  • Accelerate out of your turn to create space
  • GET YOUR HEAD UP – Assess the changing spaces around you.
  • Make sure there is an end product e.g. a pass, a cross, a shot.

You may also want to consider;

  • Where is the space and how do you get there quickly?
  • What side is the defender on?
  • How can you protect the ball?



How to practice?

Turning techniques can be practiced at home with a ball – but it is important to practice with good quality. Avoiding obstacles and changing direction with a ball is a great way of improving your techniques, but it is also important to practice in a 1v1 situation, and when you have increased your skill level and your confidence, continue to practice in a game situation – mistakes are part of the game – so if they happen, learn and keep trying.

You may also want to develop your agility. Being able to change direction at speed whilst reacting to a defenders movement is vital, and developing your agility can have a massive impact on your success rate when you are turning, for information on how to develop your agility click here.


Want to become a better footballer? 

Our Sports Apps below can help

TF App

The Total Football App, is designed to support players of all ages and skill levels. It is the only Football Coaching App that integrates 5 phases of skill acquisition and long-term athletic development, meaning that all sessions and activities are designed to meet your current skill level whether you are just starting out, or are an experienced academy player. All our turning sessions are designed by UEFA Qualified Coaches and are supported by further sessions in:

Ensuring that players aren’t just practicing but are practicing with the highest quality. We also have a range of physical development practices, healthy lifestyle sessions, and psychological tips to help develop the total footballer. If your child needs help developing their turning, or any part of their game, you can try the app for free now!

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Stength and Conditioning Platform for Clubs and Academies

Our Total S&C platform helps coaches to deliver a LTAD and S&C programme efficiently to a large number of athletes across all age groups playing different sports.


Our Strength & Conditioning platform consists of a Portal for the coaching team, enabling them to modify training sessions, monitor players training history, input test results and identify players who are sports ready. The athletes are provided their own S&C Player App which allows them to take control of their own training, self-test, log exercise history and track progress.

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