65 Best Soccer Drills – The Ultimate Guide

Soccer has been played throughout the world for many years and is considered the most popular sport to be played. The game consists of two teams with eleven players on each side. The object is to get the ball into your opponent’s net without touching the ball with your hands. Only the goalie is permitted to do that.

Soccer is played at all levels, from the very young to senior teams who still enjoying playing, even though it might be at a slower pace. The World Cup is perhaps the most well-known tournament and is played every four years. Soccer is also a great type of exercise, because there is a lot of running involved. The game of soccer is played by 250 million people, in over 200 countries.

Table of Contents

Warm up drills

It is vital that playerswarm upand cool down properly to prevent getting injured. This will also help with maximising their performance.

These drills should not include any explosive movements, but rather focus of smooth movements, so that there are no sudden twisting or turning actions while the muscles are still cold.

  1. Light aerobic exercise: this can be jogging on the spot, skipping on the spot, or moving towards a point. Running backwards and side stepping are all good warm up drills.
  2. Stretches: the focus should be on hamstrings, quads, and calves. Groin stretches should also be included. Kicks up into the air as if there was a ball in play will warm up the lower part of the body, as will turning from side to side. You should then progress to static stretches, where every stretch is held for 20 seconds or longer to be effective.
  3. Short sprints: back and forth between two posts without a ball at first, then add a ball for a little variety. The emphasis is not on ball work at this point, but rather to loosen up the muscles.
  4. Turning and jumping: this simulates the actions used in the game. Be careful to watch how you land, be sure to jump and land on both feet with weight equally distributed.
  5. Group circle drill: this is done with the whole team in a circle which should be about the size of the centre circle. Players should be arms width apart from each other and a cone or similar should be in the centre of the circle. Players either jog, use high knees, lunges, or hopping to get to the centre, then repeat the action but backwards to the starting point.
  6. Parallel line drill: players form two lines and face each other about 10 yards apart. The first player in line A passes to the first player in line B and then runs to the end of the line. Player B passes to player C and runs to the end. This continues until they have all passed and received the ball. The gap between players can be widened to make it more challenging.
  7. Four in centre drill: players form a circle approximately 20 yards in diameter. Four players in two pairs are in the centre. One pair is the attacker and the other the defender. The attacking pair must try to keep the ball between them, while the defender pair tries to intercept the ball. The outside players can be used to pass back and forth to. The centre pair will work hard, so this drill should last no longer than 1 minute before changing the four inside the circle.

Passing drills

Keeping possession of the ball with good passing drills will help any team score more goals. Passing is a technique which, once learned, must be constantly worked on to stay fresh and quick.

  1. Short passing drill: players approach the ball at an angle of about 30 degrees, stopping with the non- kicking foot close to the ball. They should use arms to make sure they are well balanced and try to strike the ball in the centre with the side of the foot. The idea is to keep the ball as low to the ground as possible. This makes it easier for the receiver to handle and control.
  2. Short passing drill: players approach the ball at an angle of about 30 degrees, stopping with the non- kicking foot close to the ball. They should use arms to make sure they are well balanced and try to strike the ball in the centre with the side of the foot. The idea is to keep the ball as low to the ground as possible. This makes it easier for the receiver to handle and control.
  3. Distance passing ball: in an area of about 30 x 10 yards, the attacker moves towards a cone and completes a drill such as a feint. The defender moves as fast as he can in front of the goal and attempts to block the shot from the attacker.
  4. Backward passing drill: have a starter player pass to the forward, who should then make a run and set up for a shot at goal. He should react correctly and watch for rebounds. As soon as the ball has been played, the coach passes a second ball and the forward makes a run to the goal on the other side and tries to score a shot from the cross position.
  5. Pass, receive, pass drill: use four cones for this drill. This is a two-player drill. At the signal, the player who is at the bottom left cone runs towards the right and uses a square pass to the opposite player, who does the same from right to left. Players must keep up with play to receive and pass. This drill is very fast moving and works on good passing skills.
  6. Under pressure passing drill: mark out a circle within a circle and have your target player in the middle of the small circle, with three defenders on the edges of the outer circle. The remainder of the players – who will be the attackers – should be around the outside of the large circle. The attackers must then pass the ball to the target in the centre circle while the defenders attempt to stop the movement. The target cannot leave the small circle. The defenders should try to put as much pressure on the passers as they can.

Defensive drills

It is important to have a knowledge of defensive drillsso that the players know how to organise themselves, and know what their individual roles are.

  1. One on one drill: using cones you should create an area of 7 x 20 yards for every pair of players. Use one ball per pair. The attacker must dribble the ball towards the other end and the defender should then try to force the attacker out of bounds or win the ball. This may be changed over right away, or one may be attacker for five times and then roles change.
  2. Two on two drill: set this up with two lines of defenders on the posts and two lines of attackers. The attackers should position themselves about 40 yards from the goal. The play begins at the goal. The first defender plays a long ball to the first striker, the defender then runs out to attempt to close the attackers down. This is played until the ball is out of bounds or the defenders gain possession of it.
  3. One on one circle drill: have a circle of players with two in the middle, one being the attacker and the other the defender. All the players on the outer edge should have their own ball. The attacker tries to make space to receive a ball, while the defender makes attempts to prevent him from doing this. Defender priority should be to gain possession or at least kick the ball away from the attacker.
  4. Clearance drill: as this is a header drill, the players should be 14 years old or more. One player should be at the line to throw in and one in front of the goal. Extra players may line up at the far goal post. The thrower sends the ball into play and the receiver attempts to head the ball into the highest part of the net. With this drill, it is important not to spend too much time with the same person heading the ball, rotate players quickly.
  5. Team defence drill: mark off an area of 30 x 20 yards, with three players in position outside at both ends. Have three others stand in the middle third of the area. Coach starts off by playing the ball to one end so the players there receive the ball. They must make between 2 – 4 passes into the team at the other end. If they do this, they are awarded a point and sides are switched. You should also rotate the centre players so they have a chance to work.
  6. Defend the target drill: the ball is passed from the starting player to the forward player who makes a run. The forward then sets up for a shot at the goal, while looking for rebounds. As soon as this has been played, he receives a second pass from the coach and makes the switch to play out the crosser. As soon as this has been achieved the forward runs to the opposite goal and attempts to kick a goal from the cross.
  7. Sweeper drill: have two teams and then select one player from each team, and have them move into the penalty area. This is where the drill starts. The other players all have a ball themselves and surround the area. Team 1 receives a ball from a team mate and attempts to score. Team 2 must defend. Switch roles for the next play, and this drill continues until all the balls have been played into the goal area.

Individual drills

  1. Cone dribbling drill: for this drill, you should have 2 lines of players and set up cones 1-2 yards apart. You may add more lines of players and vary the distances between the cones. Each line has one ball, and the first player in the line must dribble the ball up to the cones and weave their way through and back again, using short, quick steps to do so. This can also be done as a race between teams.
  2. Cone dribbling drill: for this drill, you should have 2 lines of players and set up cones 1-2 yards apart. You may add more lines of players, and change the distances between the cones. Each line has one ball, and the first player in the line must dribble the ball up to the cones and weave their way through and back again, using short, quick steps to do so. This can also be done as a race between teams.
  3. Cone dribbling drill: for this drill, you should have 2 lines of players and set up cones 1-2 yards apart. You may add more lines of players and vary the distances between the cones. Each line has one ball, and the first player in the line must dribble the ball up to the cones and weave their way through and back again, using short, quick steps to do so. This can also be done as a race between teams.
  4. Quick feet drill: using cones, set up a grid that is 25 yards wide, with two groups set up, one on each side. One ball per side is needed. Players then dribble across to the other side of the grid using as many different techniques as possible. Once the whole team has reached the other side, the second team starts and the process is repeated.
  5. Quick feet drill: using cones, set up a grid that is 25 yards wide, with two groups set up, one on each side. One ball per side is needed. Players then dribble across to the other side of the grid using as many different techniques as possible. Once the whole team has reached the other side, the second team starts and the process is repeated.
  6. Figure eight dribbling: this drill works with one player, 2 cones and a ball. The cones should be set up about 5 yards apart. Player should dribble through the two cones, and this drill should be done for 60 seconds. Player should be aware of body leaning slightly forward over the ball, knees bent and touching the ball with the foot on every step.
  7. Wall juggling: one player, a wall and a ball is all that is required for this drill. Player should stand about 2 – 3 yards away from the wall. Alternate the feet when playing the ball off the wall, and use all parts of the foot, thigh and chest. Player should keep going for as long as possible, and keep the ball in the air. Try to maintain a good balance at all times.
  8. Footwork line drill: for this dribbling drill, have the players divide into groups of three. Two of the players should be on one side with the ball, and the third 12 yards away with a cone between them. The player who has the ball then dribbles towards the cone and makes a skill move (which has been agreed on before) before passing the ball to the next player in line. The change of pace is important because it adds difficulty for the defender.
  9. One on one with defender: using cones, set up an area 10 yards wide and 25 yards long, with three players and one ball. The first player should dribble and try to beat the defender and get the ball to the other side. If he manages this, he then gets to pass to the second player who then attacks. Each player will do this twice before swapping defenders. Try to keep the play going quickly.
  10. Change of pace drill: mark out an area of 25 x 25 yards with cones, and have one ball per player. Players must practise dribbling inside the area using moves and turns. Then on the ‘Go’ command players move fast to the outside cone, make a move and speed back into the grid and continue to dribble to the other side. Players should try to work at a constant jog and remember to keep their heads up as much as possible.

Shooting drills

A coach who spends time on shooting drillswill be working to enhance the team as a whole, and also help them to score more points.

  1. Attacking runs drill: have two lines of players about 30 yards from goal. There should be 2 players on either side near the sideline. The drill starts with the first two players in the lines. First player plays an aggressive pass to the player at the sideline. Then the first player in each of the lines makes a run to the goal. The player at the sideline should now take one touch to get the ball towards the goal and a second touch to cross and put it into the box. Player then runs to the near post and looks for the shot from the cross, trying to alternate the cross on either side.
  2. One on one shooting: have the players form two lines, with one player on each post. All the balls should be in the net behind the coach. Coach should signal the start of the drill by shouting ‘Go’. The first player in each line sprints around the cone in their lines. Coach then throws a ball into the centre of the 18yard box and the players attack the ball, the first to reach the ball being the attacker and the second the defender. The idea is to get a shot made as quickly as possible, while still being on target and under control.
  3. Pass and shoot: have the line of players set up about 25 yards out with one player 20 yards out from the goal. No more than four players in a line. If there are more, set up two lines. First player passes to the second who is now the target player. Player two passes back and on the angle to player one who is running in the direction of the shot. Player one takes the shot at goal, while player two waits for a rebound, retrieves the ball and takes the shot. Make sure passes are accurate and on target. Focus on more accuracy and less power. Try aiming for the lower part of the back post as this is where the goalie has the most difficulty in reaching.
  4. Transition attack: divide the team into two with one half being attackers and the other half defenders. All the balls should be at the goal and on the outside. Have the defenders line up on either side of the posts, while the attackers are placed in groups of 3 about 30 yards away. The drill starts with two defenders dribbling the ball out towards the attackers at the 30-40 yard mark. Groups of three attackers now try to gain possession of the ball and if they succeed they can shoot and score. The drill ends with either a goal or if the defenders clear the 40 yard mark and are still in possession of the ball.
  5. Two to one attack drill: form two lines about 30 yards from the goal with the defender starting about 10 yards in a position in front of the attackers. No more than four players should be in each line. The drill starts with the ball being passed to the defender, who passes it to the attacker. Then the first player in each attacking line attempts to score against the defender. The player that does not make the shot should be in position ready for the rebound and attackers should have a high scoring rate in this drill.
  6. Shooting sniffer drill: depending on the age of the players, the cones should be set up in a grid of 40 x 30 yards. You will know the right measurement by the players being able to shoot from their area but with difficulty. All the balls should be with the coach in the goal or at half way line. Coach starts the drill and players must try to score a goal to earn points. Players are not allowed to cross the centre line, only the ball may cross over the line. This drill is very quick and shots from anywhere should be taken, with defenders trying to shut down the shots where they can.
  7. Touch shooting drill: position players in groups of four with one player standing behind the goalie. He should then pass the ball out to the shooter who attempts a first goal. This shot should come from the right-hand side. The player behind the goalkeeper retrieves the ball and passes it out again. Repeat the drill and rotate the players until they have all attempted to shoot. The players should try to keep the ball as low as possible and make good contact with it.
  8. Dribble, drive, and strike drill: set some cones at odd distances so that the players must dribble the ball through the cones with accuracy and under control. After running through the cones, the player then takes a shot at goal and aims for corners of the goal. After attempting the shot, the players then dribble back to the line and the next player repeats the drill.

Conditioning drills

One area that is often overlooked areconditioning drills but they form a very important part of the game, and should not be forgotten.

  1. Field sprints: players should be lined up in one or two lines on the outside of the field. The drill starts with the players jogging very slowly around the outside of the field. On the command ‘go’ the first players separate from the groups and sprint the outside of the field until they have caught up with the teams. They take their places at the back of the lines and the next two players repeat the action, until each player has done a full sprint around the field.
  2. Half court drill: only a half field is used with this drill and should be set up using cones. Divide the players into two teams. The drill begins in the goal. First team has the ball and the attacking team must try to get the ball past the line and to the goal. All the players should sprint to the line before being able to attack. Having lost possession, the defending players must then run to to inner circle before being allowed to defend. This teaches players how to communicate effectively, and ensure the plan is executed well.
  3. Ball control drill: pair the players up in groups of two with one player being the server and the other the receiver. The receiver should be behind a cone about 5 yards from the server. The stop watch is set for 60 seconds and the receiver should make a short, fast run to the right of the cone, pass to the first player, who then passes it back. The receiver then runs backwards to the cone and sprints to the left for a touch pass. This drill is then repeated with positions reversed by players. Players should always be working on their toes and never be flat footed. Passes should be made with good balance.
  4. Figure eight drill: have the players grouped together in small groups of 4 – 6. Using cones, set up a square about 2then sprints to the corner of the inside line. The players should be turning right at every corner, and sprinting across to the far corner. Groups can do this together but shod be careful as they will be passing in the middle as they sprint. This should continue until 8 lengths have been completed and they are all back at the starting point. Make sure the players do not cut the corners!
  5. Change the pace drill: this drill is worked on only one half of the field. Have the players divide into two groups, with one in each corner of one half of the field. Players should run around the outside of the half field. Second time around should be a jog around 3 sides and a sprint to the end. Third time should be a jog on two sides and a sprint to the end, and finally on the fourth rounds a jog for one side and sprint the final three sides. Of course, the coach may vary this as he pleases. Be sure the players stay on the outside of the field.
  6. Two-line team drill: form the players into two lines. The teams should then jog across the field and back. Players should focus on keeping the same distance between themselves and the player in front of them. The leading player calls out commands such as ‘jump’ or ‘right/left hand on the ground’ or anything else which is relevant to the training, and the players carry out the command, before jogging on. Footwork drills may also be incorporated here.
  7. Tight space dribbling drill: using cones, mark out an area of 20 x 20 yards, with each player having their own ball. Players should be encouraged to do as many different moves as they can. Moves such as turns, feints and tricks, and changing direction constantly should be carried out for a few minutes, then a rest of 60 seconds before repeating the drill.
  8. Two by two with spare player drill: group the players into tams of five, with one of the players wearing a vest so he can be identified. An area of 12 x 15 should be marked out. Two players are attackers and two are defenders. The spare player is an attacker. Attackers start the drill, defenders must get possession of the ball. They also get possession if the ball goes out of the marked area. Chance after 2 minutes with the floater also being swapped out.
  9. Step jumps drill: this drill should be completed after a good warm up. Players should stand beside a cone each, or any soft object. On the coach’s command to ‘jump’ they should bring knees up and jump over the cone or object, landing firmly on both feet. Then they should jump back the other way rapidly, so the move is done fast and with ground contact being minimal. This may be repeated for 30 seconds maximum with a rest between sets.
  10. Killer shuttle drill: This may be done as a team drill or individually. 5 cones should be places 10 yards apart from each other. Player runs to cone 1 and runs back to the starting line. Then he runs to cone number 2 and back, then to number 3 and back, and so on till the last cone. Rest for 30 seconds before repeating this drill. Try to do three sets of this.

Kids drills

In this article aboutfootball for kidswe see just how important it is to keep kids motivated, and thinking that the game is fun!

  1. Follow the coach: the players line up behind the coach, with every player having a ball of their own. Coach also has a ball of his own, and proceeds to lead the players around the field while making different moves such as dribbling or running with the ball on top of the head, holding the ball on the tummy, at the side. Coach can turn around at any time at which point everyone freezes. Any player who is not in the right position awards the coach a point. If all are in the right position, the team gets a point. At the end of the exercise, the winner gets to think of something for the losing side to do, such as sing a silly song.
  2. Pass in the square: set up four squares using cones. Each square should be about ten yards from the next so that there are four small squares at the corners of a large square. Each player has their own ball and tries to kick into the next square. The idea is that the ball stops inside the next square. Players who stop the ball in the square get to move to the next square, while players who miss the target must repeat the drill. The drill is complete when a player gets to four points first and is declared the winner. Large teams may be divided up into smaller teams to speed things up.
  3. Pass the player drill: have a large circle of cones set up with a diameter of at least ten yards. Players spread out on the edges of the circle. At the first signal, they all run around the edges, passing as many other players as they can, yelling out the number of passes each time they overtake someone. On the second section, they all have a ball and must dribble around other players, and again, call out each time they overtake someone.
  4. Team name drill: the players should be divided into pairs and each pair given a number. The pairs begin passing between themselves until the coach calls out ‘All number 2’ followed by a command such as to run to a cone and back, hop to a tree and so on. Team 2 then carries out their drill and then returns to passing and so the drill goes on until all the teams have had their number called.
  5. Running and shooting drill: this can be done on a mini field or a full-size field, depending on the ages of the kids. Have the coach as one goal keeper and assistant as the other goalie. Coach calls out the name of a player who then takes a shot into the coach’s goal, retrieves his ball, dribbles it down to the other end and shoots into that goal, then back down to the coach end and tries again. After this the next player, whose name is called repeats the drill. Person with the most scores is the winner.
  6. Hot potato drill: either use the centre circle on the field, o set up a circle of cones. Two players stand in the circle, with the other players in a circle around them. On the command, the outside players kick their balls towards the centre circle, where the players must field all the balls by kicking them back as fast as possible. The object is to keep all balls out of the circle. Change the players in the circle often as this is tiring.
  7. Chase the ball drill: all the players, except one person, has a ball to themselves. The players with balls are given a point to move towards while the player with no ball must try to get a ball from any one of them. The person with no ball then proceeds to get a ball away from someone else. This should be carried out from one end to the next and back again, and then a rest given.
  8. Throw drills: using the side line, set up a cone in the field about a yard away, a second cone at the two yard make and a third at three yards. Players assemble on the side line and each player has his own ball. They take turns to throw and must hit the cone before they can throw at the two-yard line. When they hit that cone, they can throw at the three-yard line. First player to finish hitting all three cones is the winner.

Goalie drills

There are special requirements for training the goalieand a good coach will be aware of them and want to have the goalie work on them.

  1. Seated Save drill: have the goalie take a seated position on the goal line with legs stretched out in front of him. Another player should be positioned about 5 – 10 yards in front of the goalie, with the ball. The player with the ball then shoots towards the goalie, keeping the ball within the goalie’s reach. He should reach out and stop the ball from going into the net, and launch it right back at the player. This drill is repeated, varying the shot placement and height. This drill is designed to improve the goalie’s reach and flexibility.
  2. Meet and Retreat drill: the goalie is in position, ready for the ball. One player feeds it to the second player who then shoots from the edge of the 18-yard box. Goalie should come out towards the ball to meet it, either to punch or catch it, then he should retreat to the goal again in readiness for the second player to attempt a shot. Adding a third player will speed things up and work on the reaction times of the goal keeper. Vary the shots and the height to add variety.
  3. Blind shot drill: goalie is in position and another player is positioned out about 20 yards away. Goalie should stay on the goal line but faces away from the player. The player with the ball yells ‘shoot’ right before he kicks the ball and the goalie turns, assesses the situation, and reacts to stop the ball, which should already be in flight. The shooter should vary the shot and the height.
  4. Goalie touch drill: coach should set up three cones off the goal line, with one cone at the 6 yard line, one to the right and one to the left on the 6 yard box. The goalie must run forward, touching the central cone, move backwards to the goal line while a player shoots a ball towards them. Repeat the action to the right cone and then the left. Goalie should touch the cone before moving back into position each time. Shots may be either kicked or thrown, straight at the goalie or off to the side.
  5. Slide save drill: only ball is needed for this drill. Goalie should be in position 10 yards in front of the coach. Coach has the ball. Coach throws the ball to one side and the goalie should make the save by falling and sliding to the relevant side, getting to their feet as soon as possible, jogging back to the starting point with the ball so the shot can be repeated. The goalie should try to get to his feet as fast as possible in readiness for another shot.

Fun drills

  1. Soccer tennis drill: typically, the grid size is 5 x 7 yards but this may vary based on ages of the players. Have a line of cones cutting the grid in half. Have one team on either side. The ball must cross the line from one side to the other and must be above waist height. The ball may bounce only once before being sent back over the line. Serves should be from behind the end lines and points can be awarded either for just the serving team, or for every good shot made by either team. Players should focus on being well balanced before playing any shot and on their toes to move faster.
  2. Soccer golf drill: set up either flags or cones at various places over the field in varied lengths. Have an area where the players start to ‘tee off’. Players should try to hit the flags in the correct number in as few kicks as possible. Coach can set up some obstacles around flags to make this more challenging.
  3. Soccer handball drill: with this drill, you should set up the field as you normally would do, with two teams. No goal keepers are needed. The players must move the ball around the field using only their hands. If a player catches the ball, they may take just one step before the ball must leave their hands. If the ball is caught by the other team, they then move towards the opposite goal. The only way to win a goal is to head the ball into the net.
  4. Go for the goal drill: players should be assembled in two teams. Coach has all the balls at ahis feet. Coach plays a ball to the 18 yard line and players compete to get the play started, all the way to the goal. The last player to touch the ball before it is hit into goal, gets a point. Repeat this drill until one team has a two-point lead, and they will be the winner.
  5. Go for the goal drill: players should be assembled in two teams. Coach has all the balls at ahis feet. Coach plays a ball to the 18 yard line and players compete to get the play started, all the way to the goal. The last player to touch the ball before it is hit into goal, gets a point. Repeat this drill until one team has a two-point lead, and they will be the winner.
  6. Juggling the ball drill: each player has their own ball, which they hold, then drop onto the ground and kick as straight up as possible to about chest height. Catch the ball on the way down, then try to use their feet to kick the ball up again, in a controlled manner. Once they have mastered this drill, have the players kick the ball up, bounce it once and kick it up again. After that they should progress to not letting the ball touch the ground at all.
  7. Ball tag drill: all players have their own ball, and dribble towards another player. Instead of touching with hands, the ball must touch another player’s feet or ankles. For a variation, only certain players may be tagged.
  8. Body parts drill: every player has their own ball and the drill starts with them all dribbling. The coach shouts out a body part such as ‘knee’ and all the players must stop then ball using that body part. Coach may use either ankle, shin, foot, arm, chest, or head to add variety.
  9. Bowling drill: set up a number of cones to act as bowling pins. Players must kick their ball toward the pins see how many they can knock over at one time. They should add up their scores. After a series of kicks, the player with the highest number wins.

Things you might like

For the youngster who is just starting at soccer, this set of goals and ball will be a good way to encourage him to kick accurate goals.

For a young soccer enthusiast, this night light will be perfect for a bedroom.

Every young player needs their ownsoccer ball so that they can practise whenever they like.

This comfy pair ofmen’s soccer pants will be perfect to train in on a cold day.

Every soccer player needs a backpackto carry things to training in, and this is large enough to hold all you need to take with you.

Conclusion

Soccer is a very popular sport, which you can play at any level you feel comfortable with. There is a place for everyone who enjoys kicking a ball about. It is also true that the better you play, the more fun you will have, so it is always to your advantage to practise a little before you head out to play. Whether you play at a professional level, club level, or in the yard with your kids, it is a great game to not only keep you fit, but also to keep you working mentally learning more strategies and ways to make the game more enjoyable.

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