The Body-Swerve falls into the category of ‘Close Control’ skills – skills which are used when in direct control of the ball. This particular skill ought to be absolutely basic, wherever on the field a player stands.
The Body Swerve is a skill that – as the name suggests – involves a player’s whole body. He uses his weight to give the appearance of going in one direction whilst intending to go in another. It is best thought of as an advanced kind of turn.
When a player means to turn left he will naturally put his weight on the left foot. An opposition player seeing this will assume he can predict where the player is going. However, the body swerve is designed to upset their assumption.
Leaning on the left foot, the controlling player inclines his shoulder as if to pivot on it, bringing the ball round with his right side. However, as the would-be tackler comes in, he suddenly changes direction, using the weight on his left foot to thrust off and suddenly tear away on the opposite angle.
Hopefully this leaves the opposing player flummoxed and the body swerve has claimed another victim.
The best thing about the body swerve is that it is infinitely adaptable and can be used in almost any situation, from defending the goalmouth, to shooting, to standing still for a free kick. It can even be used without the ball to try and wrong-foot a controlling opponent.
Many a goalmouth encounter between striker and defender has hinged on the success of the body swerve.