What Is a Trap in Soccer?

What Is a Trap in Soccer?

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 12:13 pm

In soccer, a trap is stopping and gaining possession of the ball after receiving a pass from a teammate or a misplaced pass from an opponent. “Receiving” or “controlling” the ball is another name for trapping.

Choosing how to trap the ball and which part of your body to use is determined by your position on the field, the positioning of your teammates, the positioning of your opponents, and the path of the ball.

In this article, we’ll go over the simple steps you can take to trap the soccer ball and the different types of traps.

Simple Concept of Trapping in Soccer

Trapping is a fundamental skill in soccer that every player should master. It is the act of receiving and controlling the ball with your feet, chest, or head, and it is an essential part of gaining and maintaining possession.

How to Trap a Soccer Ball

Here are the steps to trapping a soccer ball.

  1. Position yourself correctly: Before the ball comes to you, make sure you are in a good position to receive it. Keep your knees bent, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your body balanced. Anticipate where the ball will come from and adjust your body accordingly.
  2. Use the inside of your foot: When trapping a rolling ball, use the inside of your foot to cushion the impact. Keep your foot relaxed and let the ball come to you. As the ball touches your foot, absorb the impact and direct the ball in the direction you want to go.
  3. Use your thigh: When trapping a high ball, use your thigh to control it. Position your thigh parallel to the ground and let the ball hit it. As the ball touches your thigh, cushion the impact and direct the ball to the ground.
  4. Use your chest: When trapping a ball in the air, use your chest to bring it down. Position your body under the ball and let it hit your chest. As the ball touches your chest, cushion the impact and direct the ball to the ground.
  5. Use your head: When trapping a high ball, use your head to control it. Position yourself under the ball and let it hit your forehead. As the ball touches your head, cushion the impact and direct the ball in the direction you want to go.

As a youth soccer player, practicing these techniques until they become second nature will pay dividends down the road. With time and effort, you will improve your trapping skills and become a better player.

Types of Traps in Soccer

One quality that separates elite soccer players from good ones is their ability to get and keep possession of the ball in confined areas, opening up passing lanes or goal-scoring chances where none previously existed.

Imagine Neymar or Messi making a quick turn and pass, transitioning into an exciting dribble, or fooling a defender with a shoulder drop to open up a scoring opportunity.

It’s common practice to begin these sequences with a one-touch trap. Though some may be born with an inherent talent, trapping is a skill every player can and should develop early on.

Below are various traps that can widen your knowledge and help you become a more all-around player.

trapping in soccerStep Trap

Using the bottom of your foot as a “trap” to control the ball is called a “step trap” or a “stud trap.”

This style of trap is good for completely stopping the ball. While the step trap was the first kind of trapping to be developed, it is increasingly rare to see it used in current games due to the increased complexity and speed of the game.

Instep Trap

The instep trap occurs when players capture the ball with the inside of their foot or instep, as the name implies. The most common trap in soccer is the instep trap, generally the initial touch of a player seeking to dribble, shoot, or pass the ball.

Outstep Trap

A player who traps the ball with the outside and middle of their foot is said to be using an outstep trap.

It’s not as smooth as the instep trap, but it may be utilized to fool opponents and set up a pass or shot in an unexpected direction.

Laces Trap

When the ball is bounced high into the air, players often utilize their laces to capture it as it descends. It takes a lot of expertise to catch the bouncing ball in your laces before it reaches the ground since the ball tends to bounce around a lot.

The best way to think about this is to cushion the fall of the ball. This is similar to the egg toss where you bring your hand back as the egg falls.

If you attempt to perform a laces trap after your opponent has punted the ball into the air, they will likely pressure you since they have more time to predict the ball’s trajectory.

Thigh Trap

Another technique that comes in handy when a punted ball is headed straight for you is the thigh trap.

It’s possible you misread the ball’s trajectory and ended up catching it with your thigh instead of your laces.

Catching the ball with your thigh is a natural reaction when opponents are coming in quickly, but it may also be a tactical choice when you need to get possession of the ball quickly and your foot is too far away.

In this case, the ball needs to be at an appropriate height; not too high where you’ll simply use your head and not too low where you are bending down just to get a thigh on it.

Chest Trap

Trapping it on your chest is a faster method of gaining control of a falling ball than utilizing either your thigh or foot. The circumference of your chest allows for the ball to hit your body and fall almost directly down in front of you.

Typically, a chest trap would be used when the ball is in the air from a weak pass or throw-in.

A chest trap can spark a quick pass, shot, or dribble.

Common Mistakes in Soccer Trapping

Poor Timing

Timing is everything in soccer, especially when it comes to trapping the ball.

If you mistime your trap, you risk losing possession of the ball and giving the other team an opportunity to score.

One common mistake is trapping the ball too late, which can result in the ball bouncing off your foot or shin.

On the other hand, trapping the ball too early can cause you to lose control of the ball. To avoid these mistakes, focus on the trajectory of the ball and anticipate when it will reach you.

Incorrect Body Position

Your body should be positioned in a way that allows you to receive the ball with ease and control.

One common mistake is leaning back when trapping the ball, which can cause the ball to bounce off your foot and out of your control.

Also, leaning too far forward can cause you to lose balance and fall over.

To avoid these mistakes, keep your body weight centered and your knees slightly bent.

Lack of Concentration

A lack of focus can result in missed opportunities and lost possession of the ball.

One common mistake is not paying attention to the ball as it comes towards you. This can cause you to mistime your trap or have incorrect body positioning.

To avoid this mistake, never take a play off and keep your eyes on the ball.

Training Drills for Soccer Trapping

Here’s a good video of some drills you can do if you have a partner.

Additionally, here are some more soccer drills you can do to help you trap the ball better.

Wall Pass Drill

To improve your trapping skills, the Wall Pass Drill is an excellent exercise to incorporate into your training routine. This drill requires two players and a wall.

  1. Stand facing the wall, about 5-10 feet away.
  2. One player passes the ball against the wall, and the other player traps the ball with their foot.
  3. The player who trapped the ball then passes the ball back to the other player, who traps it and passes it back against the wall.
  4. Repeat this process for a set amount of time or number of repetitions.

This drill is useful for improving your first touch, trapping the ball quickly and accurately, and passing the ball with accuracy and control.

Triangle Trap Drill

The Triangle Trap Drill is another excellent exercise to improve your trapping skills. This drill requires three players and a cone or marker to create a triangle shape.

  1. Two players stand at the base of the triangle, and the third player stands at the top.
  2. The player at the top of the triangle passes the ball to one of the players at the base.
  3. The player at the base traps the ball and passes it to the other player at the base.
  4. The second player traps the ball and passes it back to the player at the top of the triangle.
  5. Repeat this process for a set amount of time or number of repetitions.

This drill is useful for improving your trapping skills, passing accuracy, and communication with your teammates.

Pressure Trap Drill

The Pressure Trap Drill is an advanced exercise that simulates game-like scenarios. This drill requires two players, cones or markers to create a small playing area, and a defender.

  1. The two players start inside the playing area, and the defender stands outside the area.
  2. One player passes the ball to the other player, and the defender applies pressure to the receiving player.
  3. The receiving player must trap the ball and pass it back to the other player while under pressure from the defender.
  4. Repeat this process for a set amount of time or number of repetitions.

This drill is useful for improving your trapping skills under pressure, decision-making, and passing accuracy.

Incorporating these training drills into your routine can help you improve your trapping skills and become a better soccer player overall.

Importance of Trapping in Soccer

Ball Control

When you trap the ball, you bring it to a stop and gain control of it using your feet, chest, or head. This skill is crucial in maintaining possession of the ball and creating scoring opportunities. A good trap allows you to keep the ball close to your body, making it easier to pass, dribble, or shoot.

Game Tempo Control

Trapping also helps you control the tempo of the game. By trapping the ball, you can slow down the pace of the game and give your team time to regroup and reorganize. Conversely, a quick trap can catch the opposing team off guard and potentially create a counter attack.

Creating Scoring Opportunities

Trapping is also vital in creating scoring opportunities. A well-executed trap can set up a teammate for a shot on goal or create space for you to take a shot yourself. Additionally, trapping can help you evade defenders and move the ball into a better position on the field. For example, a teammate could loft a pass over the defenders and your trap or touch can make the difference between a turnover or a scoring opportunity.

Mastering the Trap

Because trapping the ball is such a crucial skill on the field, all players should keep practicing, no matter what level they are.

Training with smaller soccer balls may help players become more adept careful when trapping. If players can do it with a smaller ball, they can do it with a larger one.

Once you’ve learned the fundamental traps, the game will slow down, and you’ll be able to play soccer with much more composure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of trapping techniques used in soccer?

There are several types of trapping techniques used in soccer, including step trap, instep trapping, inside trap, outstep trapping, thigh trapping, chest trapping, and heading.

What is the step trap technique in soccer?

The step trap technique is a method of stopping the ball using the sole of your foot. This technique is often used when the ball is moving quickly towards you.

What is a chest trap in soccer?

A chest trap in soccer is when you position yourself under a ball that is coming down from the air and let the ball hit your chest. The key is to position yourself so that the ball falls a little bit in from of you.

What is the inside trap technique in soccer?

The inside trap in soccer involves using the inside of your foot to stop the ball. This technique is often used to quickly change direction with the ball.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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