Turning or changing direction with the ball is required to beat defenders and find your way to goal. It is also required as a means to prevent the ball being taking from you, something we call shielding the ball. Shielding the ball is the process where by you place your body between the tackling defender and the ball which you have under control. Turning also allows you to see the field of play and help you make a decision as to where you should move the ball next.

Lets start with a famous turn, the first turn to be made famous by an individual player with a world wide TV audience and as a result be named after the player that made it famous.

The Cruyff turn shown below is a great example of three key points to a useful and successful turn.

1) shielding the ball. Putting your body between your opponent and the ball. It protects possession of the ball.

2) creating the deception of moving the ball one way. (Here Cruyff pretends like he will cross the ball with his right foot.)

3) moving the ball the other way into space to beat your opponent. (Cruyff drags the ball behind his standing leg, turning the other way to which he faked and accelerates away into the space which is left. The defender is well beaten.

This is quite a complex turn and something that requires the understanding of basic turns to be able to execute it successfully.

Lets take a look at a basic turn.

On the left here, you have an attacker taking on your defender.

After moving in one direction, you reach with your left foot, put the sole of your foot on the ball and drag the ball back in the direction from where you came.

The defender, now committed to moving in the first direction that you were going, is beaten on the opposite side.

Then, just like Cruyff and his Cruyff turn, once the space has been created you accelerate into it, leaving the defender behind.

This is a simple turn and like all of these turns, they are something that you can practice by yourself, with both feet, again and again. You can start by just walking through the steps, then as you become more confident, you try the move quicker.

Like dribbling, you can also turn with inside and outside of your feet, have  a look at this video

Ronaldo uses the outside of his foot to turn and shield the ball.

Henry uses the inside of his foot to turn and shield the ball

The basic turns using the inside, outside or sole of the foot are described by English FA coaching staff as one touch turns. Once you have mastered them, you can use the same technique, but taking multiple touches for a multi-touch turn.

Have a look at Zinedine Zidane in the video opposite as a perfect example of multi-touch turns. At the beginning of the video you will learn the “Zidane turn” which uses both feet and requires a full spin while shielding and keeping control of the ball. Enjoy the rest of the video to see a master at work.

Here some other turns to practice:

The step-over turn

Zidanes turn he calls the Roulette

Tricks to beat your man

Van Persie tries something different

Here is possibly the most complete collection of trick demonstrations on the net from strongsoccer.com

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