16 Surfaces


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As discussed previously, the foundation phase is vitally important for developing two key areas

  1. A technical “hard drive”
  2. The ability to outplay your direct opponent

(Please click the links for previous blogs on these subjects).

Putting this “strong foundation” into young players, will enable them to have a solid technical base and the ability to dominate the 1v1 situations they face inside the game.

A key learning stage to developing these themes into your training – is for players to understand their bodies and how they can use different areas to effectively :

  1. Control the ball

  2. Move with the ball

  3. Release the ball 

It’s my opinion, that all your technical work should be linked to the above.

The surfaces of your feet

A recommended starting point, is to teach children about their feet and how each area of the foot is used in football.

See below for the 8 surfaces on each foot (16 in total) that we use in football.


The player that inspired me to think this way about football and technique was the great Dennis Bergkamp.

It seemed like he played with “no technical limitations” – he could use all areas of the foot to effectively receive, move and release the ball with devastating effect for Arsenal and Holland.

In his book, he speaks about being a young boy and his fascination with kicking the ball against a wall with different areas of his feet in order to see how the ball would react.

This playfulness and exploring with the ball –  is something we need to bring to the focal point of player development.



Most of the time I was by myself, just kicking the ball against the wall, seeing how it bounces, how it comes back, just controlling it. I found that so interesting! Trying it different ways, first one foot, then the other foot, looking for new things: inside of the foot, outside of the foot, laces… getting a sort of rhythm going, speeding it up, slowing it down. Sometimes I’d aim at a certain brick, or the crossbar. Left foot, right foot, making the ball spin. Again and again. It was just fun. I was enjoying it. It interested me. Maybe other people wouldn’t bother. Maybe they wouldn’t find it fascinating. But I was fascinated.” Dennis Bergkamp in his autobiography. Stillness and Speed.




  1. Great article. Perhaps 18 though, did Berkamp not pass with his sole in one of the clip passes?


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