Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned footballer, you can improve your skills by doing some simple drills. And you can do all of them right there at home.
What soccer drills should I practice at home? There are four different types of drills that you should practice to improve your soccer skills. Those include dribbling drills, shooting drills, passing drills, and defensive drills.
Today we’re going to go through 15 different soccer exercises that will help you hone your skills on the pitch. These drills are appropriate for kids of all ages and skill levels. Let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
- Soccer ball
The single most important thing that you will need is a soccer ball.
If you’re practicing outside, you may want to get some soccer cleats. They are not required, but they are helpful. Cleats will give you sure footing as you run down the field. We recommend these cleats for kids and these adult cleats by Adidas.
You will also need some cones for the soccer drills. This set of 20 cones should be just about all you need.
A soccer goal is not required. You can mark off a goal using the cones. But practicing with a real goal will only improve your skills once you get on the pitch. We recommend this goal by Quickplay and this one by Powernet.
If your practice area is short on space, you can go with these smaller goals. For the drills we’re going to discuss today, the smaller goals are fine.
15 Soccer Drills That You Can Do at Home
Most of these drills can be done with just one person. A few of them will require a partner.
We have divided the exercises into dribbling drills, shooting drills, passing drills, and defensive drills.
When you practice these skills, you are working on several different elements of the game, including:
- Spatial awareness
- Running with the ball
- The ability to accelerate, turn, and twist
- Ball control
One of the most beautiful skills to watch in soccer is dribbling. A footballer correctly dribbling the ball is really something to behold.
But as great as it is to watch, it’s not an easy skill to master. Skating through the defense and keeping the ball glued to your feet is something that you must work on.
Here are some excellent dribbling drills that you can practice in your backyard.
1. Basic Cone Drills
For this exercise, you will need five cones.
Place the cones in a straight line with about three feet of space between them.
Start by dribbling the ball in and out of the cones using just your right foot. You will be kicking the ball with both the inside and outside of your right foot. Then repeat the drill using only your left foot.
Once you can weave in and out of the cones with one foot at a time, you should repeat the movement using the insides of both feet.
The next step in this exercise is to use both feet to kick the ball in and out of the cones. But this time, you will touch the ball with both the insides and outsides of both feet.
The final exercise in this drill is the in and out roll. For this one, you will use the sole of your foot to roll the ball side to side as you pass back and forth through the cones.
As you learn to control the ball better, you can increase your speed.
This video will show you how to do each step of this drill.
You can make this drill more advanced by using more cones spaced closer together. Try using around ten cones placed in a straight line about a foot and a half apart. Then go through each of the above exercises.
This more advanced drill will help you to control the ball in tight spaces better. You can make this exercise considerably more challenging by increasing your speed.
Here is a video to show you the advanced version of this drill.
This next drill also uses cones. For this one, you will be working on cutbacks. Cutbacks will allow you to dribble the ball using tighter angles.
To set up for this drill, you will need ten cones. Place them in two straight lines of five cones each. The two lines should be about 10 feet apart, and the cones should be about five feet apart in each line.
For this drill, you will weave in and out of the cones going back and forth between the two lines.
Begin by using one foot at a time. Travel in and out of the cones using the inside and outside of your right foot. Then repeat the exercise using only the left foot.
Next, go through the cones using the insides of both feet. Once you can comfortably do that, repeat the exercise using both the insides and outsides of both feet.
For the next step in this drill, you will dribble the ball around each cone using both feet.
This video will take you through each step of this drill.
3. Dribbling in the Square
This is another exercise that you can do on your own to work on dribbling. Start by setting up four cones into a square with about five yards between cones. Then place two more cones inside of the square about five feet apart.
For this drill, you are going to make a figure eight around the two inside cones. This exercise will help you to improve your tight ball control and dribbling skills.
When you do the figure eights practice using only your right foot. You will do lots of soft touches using the inside and outside of your right foot. Then reverse and use only your left foot.
Next, repeat the figure eights using the insides of both feet. And then continue the drill using both the insides and outsides of both feet.
Throughout this exercise, you should stay light on your feet, with your knees slightly bent.
This video will show you how it’s done.
4. Fast Touch Dribble
All you will need for this drill is a soccer ball and a little bit of space. You can do this one either inside or outside.
Traveling forward, do several quick touches with the ball going side to side. Start by using the inside and outside of your just your right foot. Then repeat the movement with just your left foot.
You can also practice this exercise using the insides and outsides of both feet.
The idea of this one is to get a lot of touches on the ball. This drill will help you with ball control, especially in tight spaces. You should make sure that you keep the ball underneath you. Do not let it get too far ahead.
Watch this video to get the technique of this exercise.
To score goals in a soccer game, you must work on your shooting skills. Scoring is one of the hardest things to do.
In a real game, you will face many obstacles when you try to score. Real game situations include defenders flying at you from every angle, teammates calling for you to pass them the ball, and a goalie who is doing their best to shut down your window of opportunity.
To deal with all these challenges, you must be able to adjust your balance, position, and speed before you can take a shot.
Now let’s go over some drills that will help you get better at shooting.
5. Chest Control, Lay-Offs, and Turns
You can do this exercise with two or even three people. This one will help you with your short passing, lay-offs, and shooting skills.
In a real game, your forwards will have a better chance of scoring if you can pass them in the correct position. This is why you should learn how to perform a good lay-off. It is a real thing of beauty when players master this skill.
If you do it correctly, your teammate should not need to adjust their rhythm or stride before taking a shot on goal.
For this drill, you will need a goal. If you don’t have a net, you can set up two cones to represent the goal.
Pass the ball to your partner using the inside of your foot. Your partner will then pass the ball back to you, and you will take a shot on goal from that pass. Take turns being the shooter.
For the next step in this drill, you will need three players. One will pass the ball to a teammate. And one will try playing defense. The player who is passed the ball will dribble it around the defender and then take a shot on goal.
Once you get good at that, you can stretch the play out further. Kick a long pass to your partner. They will kick it back to you, and then you will take a shot on goal.
Finally, work on your chest control. Have one player kick the ball high to you. Take the kick with your chest and then take a shot on goal.
This video will show you the steps of this drill.
6. Headers on Goal
As you know, you can’t use your hands in soccer. But you can play the ball with more than just your feet, and that includes your head. Professional soccer players score around 20 percent of their goals from headers.
The best way to get better at headers is to work on them.
The first thing that you can do is to juggle the ball using only your head. See if you can bounce the ball 30 times on your head without letting the ball touch the ground.
Next, you will try to juggle the ball between your head and a wall.
Then throw the ball in the air and practice doing a power header into the wall. To get the most power, keep your shoulders parallel to your target and make sure that you follow through with your head.
You can also add a jump to this exercise to get an even stronger header. Throw the ball straight up and then jump and head with explosive power.
Once you get good at that, you can throw the ball against the wall before you head it. Practice your header off the wall from both a standing position and a jump.
This video will take you through each step of this drill.
7. Fast Feet Sharp Shooting
For this shooting drill, you will need ten cones and a goal. If you don’t have a net, you can use two cones to represent the goal.
Start by setting up six cones in a straight line about three feet apart. Then set up another four cones in a square at the end of the line. Your square should be about 10 yards away from the goal.
You will begin by quickly dribbling in and out of the cone line just like you did in the basic dribbling drill. Once you get to the square, you should dribble to each corner, making a sharp turn each time you reach the cone.
Once you have gone to all four corners, turn to face the goal and shoot.
Make sure that you stay quick and light on your feet during this drill. And when you take a shot on goal, make sure that you turn your body to face the net.
This video will walk you through the exercise.
8. Straight Shooting
For this drill, you will need a ball, a cone, and a goal.
Start by placing the ball next to a cone. Take a few steps back away from the ball. Then run in and strike the ball with your laces, aiming for the goal. Do this exercise ten times with your right foot and then ten times on the left.
Once you are warmed up and are hitting the goal every time, change your aim. With this step, you will be aiming for the outside corners of the goal. You should try to kick the ball in the top corners and bottom corners on both sides. Make sure that you are alternating your kicking foot.
You can see how to do this drill by watching this video.
One thing that all the greatest soccer teams have in common is that they are good at passing the ball. It does not matter what position you play. If you want to be good at this sport, you must learn how to pass accurately.
This is a skill that all players need, even goalies.
The following drills will help you to improve your passing techniques.
9. Shuffling Passing
Under ideal circumstances, you want to be facing forward when you pass the ball. However, forward-facing passes are not always an option in a real soccer game. More often than not, you will need to make a pass while you are shuffling sideways.
For this one, you will need a partner. Start by setting up 10 or 12 cones in two lines with about five to eight feet between the lines. You want the cones in each line to be spaced out by three to five feet.
The point of this exercise is to pass the ball while you are shuffling sideways. So keep your hips and shoulders facing your partner as you shuffle down the line.
Pass the ball using just your right foot as you work your way through the line. When you get to the end of the cones, continue passing back and forth as you travel back to the starting position.
Once you have shuffled and passed the ball down and back, switch to using only your left foot and repeat the drill.
You should stay light on your feet and try to make your passes as accurate as possible between the cones.
If you do not have a partner, you can practice this drill on your own using a wall. If you are kicking against a wall, make sure that you practice shuffling both to your right and left, and be sure that you can do the exercise on both feet.
Watch this video to see an example of how to do this drill.
10. The Driven Ball
All the drills that we’ve worked on so far are designed to help you improve your short passes. But, in a real game, you will need to know how to do more than just short chip shots. You will also need to make long passes or drives.
The idea is to be able to kick the ball long distances without letting the defense intercept it.
To do the driven ball drill, you will need a soccer ball and plenty of space. If you have a partner, you will stand as far apart as you can kick the long ball.
The first step is to place your plant foot about six inches from the ball with your toes facing your target.
You will then rotate your striking foot so that your shoelaces are under the ball. You will be driving the ball using the top of your foot. This will help your kick to have plenty of height. That means it will be less likely to be intercepted.
When you practice your long drives, you will find that the backspin on the ball will affect your kick. The more backspin you use, the more height you will get with the ball. But more backspin will also make the ball travel a shorter distance.
If you want to make a longer pass, then you should use less backspin.
This video will show you the proper technique for the driven ball.
11. Directional Pass and Touch Drill
You can do this exercise solo. You will need a ball, three cones, and a wall or fence.
Start by placing three cones side by side about five yards away from the wall. Then stand behind the cones and shuffle with the ball to either side. Using the inside of your foot, kick the ball against the wall.
You will receive the ball after it hits the wall. And then you will shuffle to the other side of the cones and kick the ball back to the wall.
Repeat this movement, going back and forth from one side of the cones to the other.
This drill will help you both pass and receive the ball.
Watch this video to see how it’s done.
12. Passing and Receiving Off the Wall
This next drill, you can do with just a ball and a wall. You can even do this one inside using a wall or a couch if you have some extra room in the living room.
Stand about eight to ten steps away from the wall or couch. And then pass the ball to the wall using the inside of your foot.
Start by alternating the foot that you kick with. Once you can pass the ball 20 to 30 times, then switch it up a bit.
Try receiving the ball with one foot and then kicking it with the inside of the other. Make sure that you alternate feet.
Next, try the two-touch pass. You will receive the ball and kick the ball with the same foot. Repeat the exercise on both feet.
The next step in this exercise is to pass and turn. Kick the ball as you have been against the wall, but when you receive it back, dribble around in a circle before you kick it back to the wall. Be sure that you do this on both feet traveling in both directions.
This video will show you the steps.
Now that we have worked on your offensive skills, it’s time to focus on some defense. When you play defense, the objective is to disrupt the flow of passing by the offense. The defense is a big part of what makes soccer so exciting.
And you know what they say. Defense wins championships. That’s true in most sports, and soccer is no exception.
Two parts of playing defense are pressuring and tackling. Sometimes all you need to do is pressure your opponent, but pressuring is not effective in every situation.
The key to playing great defense is to know when to pressure, when you should back off, and when you should tackle.
Good tackling is essential in soccer. However, it’s not easy to do. You must practice tackling and work on your timing. The timing is critical because if you do it wrong, you could end up giving the other team a penalty kick or a free kick.
You do not want to be timid or shy about tackling, but you don’t want to be so aggressive that you end up with a penalty.
The truth is, if you go in harder for the ball than the offensive player, the chances are good that you will end up with control of the ball.
It important when you tackle that you go in with your whole body, not just your foot.
For this drill, you need a partner. Have your partner dribble the ball toward you as you go in for the tackle. Practice using your whole body as you try to take away the ball.
This video will show you some examples of good tackling.
14. Fast Feet Defense
One of the most critical elements of defense in soccer is pressuring. Tackling is also important, as we just went over, but you do not always have to make contact to stop an attacker. Many times just pressuring the attacker and shutting down their angles is all you need to do to force a mistake.
This next drill is one that you can do all by yourself in the backyard. Start by placing five cones in a diamond shape with about five yards between cones. You will quickly side shuffle to the right and left cones.
Then jockey back to the furthest cone and sprint to the top of the diamond. You will repeat this exercise five times with a 30-second rest in between sets.
15. Stealing the Ball
To practice stealing the ball, you will need a wall and some cones. Start by setting up three cones about 10 yards from the wall and place them about five yards apart.
Standing behind the center cone, throw the ball against the wall so that it goes toward the right or left cone. Once the ball hits the wall, you will explode toward the right or left to try to steal the ball before it goes past the cone.
This drill is excellent to train fast, explosive movement to the ball. That will help you in a real game when you’re playing defense.
You must practice defending the ball to both the right and left sides.
This video will show you how to do the last two defensive drills.
A Final Thought
Champions are made, not born. If you practice all these basic drills, we have no doubt that you will improve your soccer skills. The truth is, the more touches you get on the ball, the better you will understand spatial awareness and ball control. And that will make you a better player when you hit the field.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your ball and let’s go have some fun with some of these drills. And remember: your will to win is not nearly as important as your will to prepare to win. Happy kicking!
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