Controlling the ball out of the air
Controlling the ball when it is rolling to your feet is one thing. Controlling the ball when it comes in mid-to-high ranges is a lot more difficult. The reason it is so difficult is because the ball comes in at different trajectories and speeds. Deciding whether to use your chest, knee or other body part needs to be a split second decision. If you can learn to how to use all of these body parts effectively, no ball will be too difficult to deal with.
Using your chest
The chest can serve as a wide-ranging tool. One of its advantages is that you can use it to control high balls that might come in from crosses or long balls. One of the most important bits of information to remember when using your chest is that you should always bring the ball down in the direction or your stronger foot. If you are right-footed, you want to bring the ball down in that direction, and vice-versa. The reason is that you want to limit the amount of touches necessary to have the ball at your feet ready to create a play.
In doing so, you should learn to direct the ball with your upper body. This requires that you are very dynamic with both your upper and lower body. Simply stopping it with your chest is not enough. Spread your legs out and bend your knee’s while twisting and turning your shoulders as need be in order to bring the ball down exactly where you need it.
Using your knee/thigh
One of the situations you want to use your knee/thigh is when the ball is coming down from a very high distance, i.e. the goalie has just drop kicked it into the air. These type’s of balls are usually too difficult to control with the chest, or require a perfect touch with your foot in order to bring down. Because the thigh has so much muscle around it, it serves as a cushion to kill the ball and bring it down in front of you.
Another scenario is when you receive balls at awkward heights in the form of passes or crosses. Instead of reaching up with your feet and forcing yourself to make a magical play, use your thigh to kill the ball and bring it down in front of you. As mentioned above with the chest, it is important to maintain a dynamic body stance in order to be prepared to deal with these balls that can come quickly and unexpectedly.
Continuously practice using your knee and your chest in order to become very comfortable with any type of ball that might come your way. What this will do is increase the amount of tools in your tool belt so that when the time comes, you’ll have all the tools necessary to get the job done.