The False Allure of One Touch Soccer

For years, working with select, college and Olympic Development players, I was always amazed at the eagerness of players, and even coaches, to play the ball away on the first touch.  While we see many examples of one touch play at the professional and international levels, effective one touch soccer among youth players is a rarity.  I do not believe that is because youth players are incapable of making one touch passes. I would suggest, instead, it is because they are not trained to make good decisions about when to play with one touch and when to take two or more touches.  I would also argue that if properly trained, we would see two things happen.  First, the number of balls played first time would sharply decrease.  At the same time, the success of one touch play would sharply increase.  In support of that argument, let’s look at several one touch situations.