Whereas most sports it is important to keep your eye on the ball at all times, soccer is different. When you have a forward kicking the ball or a defensive player looking for someone to pass to, they need to look where they are going, not down to the ground at the ball. This tactic can be a little tricky for newcomers to the checkered ball. Basically, it entails using your peripheral vision, instinct, and familiarity with the ball. Here are three tips on how to teach soccer players how to kick the ball without looking at it.
1. Practice kicking and running with their eyes closed
No, this isn't come ancient mysterious kung-fu technique, it’s a proven-effective practice. Kicking the ball and running with eyes closed develops an incredibly intuitive relationship with the ball, and teaches the player to trust their feet, not their eyes.
2. Run and deflect
Another effective drill is to have a player run down the sideline looking straight ahead, while a coach or assistant rolls balls at their feet for them to deflect. This really enhances a player's use of their peripheral vision, but it's important for them to look straight ahead at where they are running the entire time.
3. Pass without looking
This is a great drill for all players because it involves passing more than anything else. While a player is standing still, kick a ball to him and have him pass it to another player in motion without looking at his feet. Drills like this are imperative for defensive and offense players, because it aides in getting the ball to move down the field effectively.