1st Touch


There are three qualities to a good 1st touch:

  1. Direction – the ball should be rolling (moving) in the direction you want to play
  2. Pace – how much strength you want behind your 1st touch, according to space available 
  3. Playable – your 1st touch must be positive and on the ground, avoid bouncing the ball

We have seen many players with the right technique but the wrong understanding or recognition of a Positive 1st touch. We believe that if players understand the 3 qualities of a good 1st touch, it can help them improve their game and make better decision on the pitch.

Below is a game designed to improve the technique and the cognitive understanding/recognition of space, time and opponent. This game is called “three gates” and is usually played with two players but it can be turned into a competition with 3 players and be played by sets. 


  • Three Gates: 1st Touch
  • Area 10x12 yards
  • 6 cones: 2 red, 2 blue & 2 green
  • Set up as shown


  1. Ball starts with one player (blue) who makes a pass and has to call a color gate (green), which is where the opponent (orange) has to take his 1st touch and try to make a successful pass back on his 2nd touch.
  2. Players only have 2 touches; if a 3rd touch is taken the point goes to the opponent
  3. The same color gate can be called, and the player receiving must play it back in one touch
  4. When a player forgets to call a color gate, the point goes to the opponent
  5. Players can challenge themselves with strong passes, they must be playable on the ground, if a pass is in the air or bouncing point goes for the opponent

 Coaching Points:

  1. Three qualities of a 1st touch
  2. Body shape & Angle to receive
  3. Awareness of space
  4. Quick decision making - call a color quickly