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Turning guide

I noticed a few posts asking how to turn effectively when a man is on your back. As an offensive player one has to turn the ball a majority of the time when receiving a pass as opposed to defenders who usually win the ball and receive back passes that they rarely have to turn with. So I think turning is a fundamental part of having a good touch with the ball when playing on the offensive end. If you can't turn with a man on your back you will rarely find space to pass, make moves, dribble, and shoot. You can't always hope to be wide open when receiving a pass but I've noticed I rarely am.

Although expert football is great in a lot of respects it only lists one way to turn with the ball and that would be guiding the ball with the inside of your foot while you pivot. I've found this only moderately effective. It is hard to turn this way unless the pass is dead on and with a lot of momentum to carry through with your foot. Although if the ball is played correctly and you receive it in this way it works great. I'm just going to go into other ways to turn.

Outside of the foot turn: I've found this to be effective in most instances. It is hard to practice at first but once you get the hang of it you can do a move, pass, and shoot once you turn around. As the ball comes to you guide the ball with the outer portion of your foot as you spin/pivot towards that foot. For example if turning with your left foot, guide it with the outer edge of the left foot and let that momentum turn you around towards your left shoulder. It is sort of like doing the first part of an elastico while turning. For those of you that like the elastico, this way of turning allows you to do an elastico immediately after turning.

True dummy turn: others have posted that doing a dummy, or letting the ball roll by you, is effective. I agree, but it is a one and done move because rarely does a good defender get tricked by that twice. Essentially the move is to let the pass go by you and you run with it as the defender is stuck standing looking like a dummy.

Step over dummy turn: Here you do a step over as the ball rolls between your legs. It isn't a true dummy in that you at least throw a move in there. This helps in creating space between you and the defender and also opening you up to make a move or control the ball once it goes between your legs. I've seen a few players do this and I've only done it once in a game setting. It was effective but I faked the guy so bad he fouled me since he thought I was going the other way with the ball. He admitted that I faked him badly after I dusted myself off for the penalty kick. I rarely do step overs but from my limited experience this move works well.

The half garrincha or a 180 turn: If you have really quick feet you can turn with a 180. This allows you to create space between you and the defender while also keeping the ball close to your feet and body space. The disadvantage is that you have to have really quick feet to get the other foot involved (the second part of the 180 move) in that type of close quarters. If done effectively you can do most fakes and passes immediately after turning. The best combo I've seen with this is a 180 and then a Puska if the defender steps towards you.

Roll turn: I call this a roll because I'm not sure what else to call it. But I found that I'm not quite quick enough to do a 180 all the time so I've modified the first part of the 180 to allow the ball to keep rolling while my toes are on the ball. As the ball comes towards you step on the ball like you would want to do a 180 but instead of switching feet you spin around the ball and roll the ball with you. The closest move to this is a standard V-cut but with more of the 180 spinning body movement. The ball should go from your one side looking towards your goal to the same side but looking at the other goal (so essentially the ball has gone diagonally while you've turned around). Again this allows you to control the ball while facing the defender and creating space to allow a move, shot, or pass. I like doing a scissors immediately after this turn with the foot that controlled the ball with.

Back foot turn: This one I have the most difficulty describing. Essentially you are doing a variation of the scotch/L-cut/Cruyff or any other move where you scoot the ball behind the other leg. As the ball comes towards you, take a step forward with your left foot (for this example) and as the ball passes your left heel hit it with your right foot towards your left side. Then you turn towards the ball (i.e. your left side) and go. This works really well if the defender is right on your back. Essentially you pass it off to the side for you to be able to turn around.

The first three turns allow you to get the ball around the defender immediately. If the defender is right on your back these will work but if he gives you any room they aren't as effective since you'll only pivot into him or else he can recover accordingly. The next few allow you to create space while also controlling the ball and turning around with the ball in your control allowing you to pass, make a move, or shoot. Of course I've assumed that the ball is generally low in all these moves on purpose. Once the ball gets to knee/chest/head height flicking, juggling, and such becomes more practical.

As far as practicing goes you can hit the ball against a wall and practice the turns with each foot. Then once you are turned, throw a move in and immediately explode away. If you have a buddy you can have him stand behind you and this will allow you to get a sense of feeling where a defender is on your back. Let the buddy cheat to one side or another (maybe cutting off the middle of the field and giving you the sidelines), vary their distance from you, and make you really work to turn around.

Personally I practiced this aspect for a month because I found it was one of the weakest parts of my game. I was/am more of a face to face player that can use my speed and moves to blow by a defender. But now I feel I can play with the defender to my back just as easily as I can play face to face. Sometimes (especially in congestion around the penalty box or midfield) I prefer having my back to the defender so I can shield the ball before making a play. Best example: I received a ball right at the top of the penalty box and had one defender on my back and another coming in on my right. I did an outside of the foot turn and was left with the defenders uselessly at my side and the goal in front of me. I was immediately in position to shoot and score, which I did.

As most guides say: feel free to add your knowledge and such. These are just the turns I've effectively used on the pitch.

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