What Does it Mean For a Player to Trap the Ball?

Table of Contents

I love playing soccer as I get to exercise and make friends. The best part is you don’t need to be an expert to play soccer.

However, you must understand the basics of soccer trapping and not let your teammates down. Soccer trapping is a skill every player must possess. So, what does it mean for a player to trap the ball? Read on to understand.

What Does it Mean For a Player to Trap the Ball?

Trapping the ball is a skill players use to gain possession and take control of the ball. Players trap the ball with their feet, chest, thighs, or head.

When the players trap the ball, they either stop it or slow it down to adjust the game’s pace and give their teammates time to reorganize.

Types of Soccer Traps

If you want your team to retain possession of the ball and score more goals, you must learn the different types of soccer traps. These include:

Step trap

Step trapping is restraining the ball’s movement by stepping on the ball. This gives you time to gain control and determine the direction to kick it. It’s the most challenging trap but also the best if you want to kick the ball to the other side of the field.

Instep trap

The instep trap uses the inside of the foot to stop the ball from moving. This trap is the easiest and most commonly observed trap in the field. This trap requires the player to rotate their foot as the ball rolls toward them, allowing them to trap it.

Once the ball hits the foot, the player moves backward slightly to cushion the ball. Using the foot furthest from the ball is always advisable, giving them time to rotate and face it.

Outstep trap

The outstep trap comes more naturally than the instep trap. it’s more beneficial for players as it helps them trick the defenders.

When you want to pass the ball in the opposite direction, the outstep trap is the perfect way to trick the defenders. You use the outstep to hold and control the ball.

Thigh trap

This trap lets you hold the ball between your thighs and slowly guide it to your feet. You must bounce it off the ground to the middle of your upper leg to make a thigh trap.

Then you need to lift one of your legs and it’s diagonal to your other leg, and once the ball hits your mid-thigh, straighten your legs. This allows the ball to roll down to your legs.

Chest trap

This trap is a favorite, allowing players to showcase their skills. The chest strap helps to stop the ball and lets it roll down the torso to the feet.

To trap the ball using your chest, you must stand on your toes, ensure that your feet are bent slightly, and lean back slightly to ensure the ball lands on your chest.

Don’t try to resist the ball as it hits the chest. Instead, you should stay still, let the ball bounce off your chest, and roll to your feet.

Laces trap

The Laces trap is primarily for experts, as using your laces to trap the ball requires great skill. You must anticipate where the ball is going in the air, lift your foot while the toe points upwards, and let the ball hit the top of your foot where the shoelaces are. The laces help lower ball speed by cushioning, allowing the player to slowly guide it to the ground.

Head trap

The head trap is similar to a chest trap, only it hits the head instead of the chest. The head trap is challenging as most people avoid it out of instinct.

If you want to perform a head trap, you must stand on your toes and move your body toward the ball, then let it bounce off your forehead and drop down to your feet.

Unless you are heading the ball, where you use your head to hit the ball to the next player, with a head trap, you should never push against the ball, let it hit and bounce off your forehead, as this helps it lose momentum.

How to Trap a Soccer Ball

Every professional soccer player must perfect their ball trapping skills. As such, they must understand the different instances where they can trap the ball.

  • Trapping a ground pass: Trapping a ground pass is easy using the step, instep, and outstep trapping methods.
  • Trapping an aerial pass: You can use the chest or head trap method to trap the ball in the air.
  • Trapping a bouncing pass: These are very tricky to trap. Most players use the instep trap to gain possession and control of the ball.
  • Trapping a ball in the open space: When trapping a ball in open space, there is no opponent nearby. This means that you have the additional time to position your body. However, you must be quick in trapping the ball, as it will only take seconds before an opponent approaches and tries to snatch it.
  • Trapping the ball under pressure: This technique is also tricky, so you must be fast and have perfect trapping skills. Once the ball lands in your possession, you must push the ball away from the defender and position your body between the ball and the defender. This lowers the chances of your opponent getting the ball and makes it easy for you to make a shot or pass the ball.

Once you’ve understood the various instances where you can trap the ball, you need to learn the nitty gritty of trapping it, keeping it, and then proceeding to play. Here are the tips you need to follow:

1. Know What is Going on Around You

While on the field, you could receive the ball at any moment. You must always keep your head in the game and watch the ball’s movement.

This ensures that you are always well-prepared when the ball is kicked your way and that your footwork and positioning are where they need to be. It also lets you determine whether to keep or pass the ball instantly.

2. Track the Ball and Position Yourself

Once you notice the ball is coming your way, keep your eyes on it to see the movement and watch to see if it gets snatched mid-way through. It also lets you position yourself and decide the type of soccer trap you plan to use.

The best way to ensure the ball does not bounce away is by cushioning it. The easiest method is to use the inside of your feet or the laces trapping method.

To securely cushion the ball, you must practice your timing-trapping techniques. If you miscalculate, the ball will bounce off and be sent back towards your opponent.

3. Absorb the Impact of the Ball

The secret to cushioning the ball is by absorbing the impact of the speed with which you receive. Therefore, instead of kicking the ball back or holding your leg rigid, draw it backward as it falls on your feet.

4. Hold the Ball, Then Continue Playing

Once you’ve trapped the ball, the next step depends on what is happening around you. If you are under too much pressure, you can pass it on or dribble if no opponent is around.

Common Mistakes in Soccer Trapping

Avoid these common mistakes as you learn and perfect your soccer trapping skills.

Poor Timing

Timing is crucial when trapping a ball. If you miscalculate the time, you will lose possession of the ball to your opponents, allowing them to score.

Therefore, ensure you are never too late, as the ball will bounce off your feet. If you are too early, the chances of losing control of the ball are very high. You should always focus on the ball’s direction and anticipate when it will reach you.

Incorrect Body Position

Correct body positioning will allow you to receive the ball with ease and control. For instance, if you are trapping the ball with your chest, you must stand on your toes and lean your upper body backward. don’t push back against the ball, as it will bounce back to your opponent.

Lack of Concentration

You must focus on the ball to ensure you never miss any opportunity to trap the ball. Many soccer players get excited after holding the ball and fail to concentrate, thus losing possession of the ball to the opponents.

You must always pay attention to the ball as it’s passed to you to avoid missing it or losing it to the opponent due to poor body positioning.

Training Drills for Soccer Trapping

You must consistently practice to perfect your soccer trapping like any other skill. As such, every soccer player must always perform these trapping drills to help them learn to take and control the ball quickly.

Wall Pass Drill

This is a perfect drill to include in your training regimen. You must partner with another player and a wall for this drill.

  • First, you must stand facing the wall about 5 to 10 feet away.
  • Kick the ball against the wall, and your partner traps it with their foot.
  • He will then pass the ball to you, and you must also practice trapping it before kicking it against the wall.
  • Repeat this process several times while trying out different types of soccer traps for each session.

This drill helps you improve your trapping skills, accuracy, and control when you possess the ball.

Triangle Trap Drill

This is another drill you can practice. This drill requires three players to stand in a triangle formation.

  • Two players create the base, while the third player forms the top
  • The player at the top passes the ball to one of the base players and then kicks it to the other. Then, the ball is kicked back to the top player.
  • They repeat this process for a specific time before taking a break and switching to another trapping method.

These training drills help perfect your trapping skills, communication, and passing accuracy.

Pressure Trap Drill

This training drill imitates game-like scenarios. You will need two players, a defender, cones, and other materials that mimic the playing field.

  • The players must stand within the playing area while the defender stands outside.
  • The players pass the ball between each other while the defender follows the player receiving the ball to place them under pressure.
  • The receiving player must receive the ball, trap it, and then pass it to the other player without letting the defender take possession of it.
  • You must repeat this process several rounds before taking a break.

This helps you improve your trapping skills and become a better player.

Importance of Trapping in Soccer

Trapping in soccer is a fundamental skill that every player must master. The ability to effectively trap the ball sets up players for successful passes, shots, and, ultimately, scoring goals. Here’s how trapping skills help you improve the game.

Ball Control

You gain possession and control if you’ve used your head, feet, thighs, or chest to trap the ball, thus increasing your chances of scoring. You also have an easier time passing and dribbling.

Game Tempo Control

Once you possess the ball, you control the game’s pace. If your team is under too much pressure, you can hold the ball for a bit longer, giving your team time to take a breather and reorganize. This is especially effective when your opponents are not expecting it.

Creating Scoring Opportunities

If you are an avid player, you may have noticed that most players who score usually trap the ball before making a shot or passing it to the player who makes the scoring pass.

However, you must ensure you are in perfect coordination with your teammates. You must avoid the defender and move to a better scoring position in the field.


What are the Two Types of Trapping in Soccer?

Step trap and instep trap are the two types of trapping in soccer. A step trap stops a ball that is moving fast toward you. An instep trap is used to change the direction of the ball.

Which Type of Trap is Used Most Often in Soccer?

Instep trap is the most common method of trapping the ball among the players, as it’s easy and can be used to confuse the opponents.

What is Heading in Soccer?

Unlike a head trap, where the player retains control of the ball, with the heading, the player uses his head to kick the ball in a particular direction.

It may be to their fellow player or towards the goalpost. Most players jump, stand, or dive when heading the ball.


In soccer, trapping the ball refers to bringing the ball under control by briefly stopping its movement. 

Trapping is an essential skill that allows players to receive and possess the ball effectively, giving them more time and options to make the next move on the field.

Trapping can be executed using different body parts, such as the feet, thighs, chest, or head, depending on the situation and the player’s preference. Mastering this skill is crucial for players looking to improve their game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *