Locking Our Ankle

This week, I want to emphasize the importance of teaching our young players to “lock their ankle” at the moment of contact with the ball.  Whether the player is dribbling, passing, juggling or shooting, it is critical that players “lock their ankle” to have consistent, quality touches with any of these skills.   There are two key positions we teach players to lock their ankle in: 

1). Toe down – as if the player is standing on his/her tippy toes. Soccer Drill Toe DownSoccer Drill Toe Up

2). Toe up – pressing the heel into the ground and pulling the up toward the knee.  Once a player learns the sensation of locking their ankle, they will find variations (e.g. toe pointed down and tucked in to use the outside of the foot) to help manipulate the ball to get it to do what they want.  As coaches it is extremely important that we spend the necessary time to train, encourage and really teach this skill until it becomes a habit for our players.  Once they reach a natural ability to lock their ankle without having to think about it, the sky is the limit in terms of technical development. 

Below is a list of general skills and the proper position to lock the ankle:

  • Inside of the foot pass – Toe up, ankle locked
  • Speed and Attack Dribbling – Toe down, ankle locked (with variations to manipulate the ball from side to side)
  • Ball Striking – Toe down, ankle locked 
  • Shooting – Toe down, ankle locked (with variations to manipulate the ball at higher technical levels)

Posted by Greg Vanney on June 10, 2010
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