A Soccer Training Drill plan is very important to improve your game over time. Most of the drills described over the next chapters include a simple explanatory diagram. For these, the dots (and occasionally squares) represent players and the lines refer to the movement of the ball (white) and movement of players (grey/blue). Sometimes, a square is used to show the need for grid (painted, or made of cones) and lines are added to divide up areas of the pitch.
Control of the ball is the fundamental skill without which no player can be an effective part of their team. Indeed, at the highest levels, the first thing at which a scout will look is their subject’s ball control, often referred to as their ‘first touch’. The best examples of this will demonstrate the following:
- Keeping the ball close to the body, adapting to the proximity of the nearest opponent.
- Positioning the ball so that it can be laid off to an opponent easily
- Using the body to protect the ball from an opponent’s tackle
When coaching there are certain key points to emphasise to your students:
- Get your body in line with the passage of the ball as quickly as possible
- Whichever part of the body you are going to use to control the ball should relax slightly on impact, cushioning the ball, but preventing from becoming stuck under, for example, the foot
- Make sure that as much as your body as possible is behind the ball as you control it.
An individual practice not displayed below is to juggle the ball. This helps to develop dexterity, and can be either as a solo activity, or group challenge. For example, younger players love to be challenged to juggle the ball ten times without it touching the ground, while six players can try to work as a team to keep the ball off the floor for ten touches.
Soccer Training Drill One: Simple Grid Passing
- Use the grid with a smaller square in the middle.
- Two players (grey, below) pass across the grid, making sure that the ball goes through the middle square
- Once this is mastered, two more players practice across the grid (yellow/pale grey, below). This means that timing of the pass becomes important, to stop the balls hitting each other.
- To make the drill realistic, the players should always be on the move.
Soccer Training Drill Two: Obstacle Course
This is a good, fast action drill, also great for a warm up. The drill can be made simpler or more difficult by placing the cones further apart or closer together.
- White player passes through the cones to grey.
- Grey controls, changes the angle, and passes back between two different cones.
Soccer Training Drill Three: First Time Finish
Players love this drill. As coach, be aware of risk to the goalkeeper, if you use one.
Focus on the following skills.
- Striker must change the angle of his run to create space.
- Finish must be first time
- Cross needs to be pulled back, taking the keeper out of play.
- White player passes to his colleague on the wing
- White runs to far post, then cuts at speed to the near post anticipating the cross.
- Meanwhile the white winger dribbles down the wing and pulls the ball back along the ground to the near post.
- White striker finishes first time.
Soccer Training Drill Four – Running with the ball
For this drill, either space cones widely apart, at least 8-10m, or practice without cones.
Since in a match, this skill would be employed only when there is a lot of space in front of the player, for the drill to be realistic, it should be as simple as possible.
- Ensure that the players use their laces to propel the ball forward.
- They need to ensure that their stride pattern is not broken when propelling the ball.
- Work across a pitch, or from half way to the touchline. Dribble, then a partner dribbles back.
Soccer Training Drill Five: Circuit
Complete the circuit with two minutes of sport, then thirty seconds of recovery, rotating through the drills.
Drills could include:
- Dribbling through posts, non-stop.
- Diving practice – player feeds the ball side to side. Keeper dives, catches and returns. Swap after one minutes.
- Individual ‘keep uppy’ work.
- Non-stop one touch passing.
- Running with the ball, controlling with laces. Run the width of the pitch, Cruyff turn, then repeat.
If you liked this post, you will love our post on soccer passing.
Your soccer training home – Books