1v1 Soccer Drills: Developing Individual Brilliance

If we (over) simplify a game of soccer we could say; Soccer is basically just a game of lots and lots of 1 v 1 situations repeated over the course of 90 minutes.

Yes, you do have 3 v 2, 2 v 1, 3 v 3 and other types of scenarios that happen in a game of soccer. (And, for the record you should definitely be developing these areas in training)

But, unless you join 1 or more of those players together and they can produce the same movement, in the same space, at the same time – you’re essentially attacking or defending 1 v 1.

Now of course, I am over-simplifying it but I use that example to stress the importance of developing your players using 1 v 1 drills.

The beauty of 1 v 1 soccer drills is that you can help your players not only develop the attacking side of their game but also help them improve their defensive game too.

1 v 1 Soccer Drills are so important. The thing is without the proper setup and thought process behind each drill they can get pretty boring – quickly.

Below I have listed a number of drills I have used in my own coaching over the years and you are more than welcome to take, change around and adapt to suit the needs of your group.

 

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drills: The Coaching Points

1 v 1 Soccer Drills Coaching Points

Here’s a list of key coaching points to keep in mind when coaching 1 v 1 drills. Under each drill I have also listed and repeated a few of the more important ones to keep in mind.

Attacking

  • Keep the ball close to your feet
  • Attack & exploit the space
  • Use a change of pace to beat the defender
  • Try and get the defender to commit so you can accelerate past them
  • Use disguise to beat the defender
  • Get comfortable with using both feet
  • Vary the intensity of your attacking play
  • Stay focused / Stay Sharp

Defending

  • Shut down the space
  • Force attacker out wide
  • Approach the ball side on
  • Jockey backwards
  • Keep your head up
  • Watch the movements of the ball as well as the player
  • Slow the attacker down
  • Be aware of the space around you
  • Win the ball

Essential Equipment Needed

All the drills below require a few essential pieces of equipment;

  • Soccer Balls: I recommend that you have no less that at least 1 soccer ball per player. Sometimes, for whatever reason this isn’t possible – for these case’s I’d recommend getting as many as possible close to 1 per player and no less than 1 ball between 2 players.
  • Set of Cones: Although you’ll essentially only need one set and one type of cone/marker to get the drills going, I’d recommend having at least 2 different types of cones. So for example, a set of disc cones and a set of mini traffic cones. The reason for this is so you can clearly mark out the different sections of your drills with minimal room for confusion.
  • Training Vests: Lastly, you’ll need some training vests. Again, at least 1 per player.
Soccer Training Ball - Premium...
Pro Disc Cones (Set of 50) -...
SportsRepublik Soccer Pinnies...
Soccer Training Ball - Premium...
Pro Disc Cones (Set of 50) -...
SportsRepublik Soccer Pinnies...
125 Reviews
566 Reviews
181 Reviews
from $25.00
from $19.88
from $31.99
Soccer Training Ball - Premium...
Soccer Training Ball - Premium...
125 Reviews
from $25.00
Pro Disc Cones (Set of 50) -...
Pro Disc Cones (Set of 50) -...
566 Reviews
from $19.88
SportsRepublik Soccer Pinnies...
SportsRepublik Soccer Pinnies...
181 Reviews
from $31.99

 

What Soccer Drill Software Am I Using?

Tactics Manager 3.0 logo

I’ve been using Soccer Tutor’s Tactics Manager 3.0 for some time now and I really like the simplicity of the software. You can easily create your own drills from scratch in minutes and then export them to an image format or PDF at a click of a button. While it might be a little bit ‘behind’ the high priced coaching softwares on the market, for the sum total of $60 (no monthly fee) it’s an absolute steel. My only regret is not having purchased it sooner in my coaching career. You can check it out here if you’re interested…

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #1

1 v 1 Technical Quad

[1v1 Soccer Drills] 1v1 Technical Quad

Ensure you have enough room to have 4 large quadrants. See below for individual drill setups
To develop attacking and defending in 1v1 situations. Can be used as a warm up activity and / or event
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s and Under 12’s.

Again like our other technical quads in other drill topics – the 1 v 1 Technical Quad

Drill Details

  • 1) Two teams – Two goals with a ball in the middle of the goal / gates as the the target. Teams alternate attack and defend in in a 1 v 1 situation. After attacking the attacker must turn quickly to defend. The first team to hit the target 10 times is the winner
  • 2) Coach feeds the ball between 2 players, who battle it out to get possession, turn and place the ball between the oppositions gate.
  • 3) Straight 1 v 1 situation
  • 4) Player A plays the ball into player B and then closes down the space while Player B tries to create space for the shot on goal

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #2

1 v 1 4-Goal

[1v1 Soccer Drills] 1v1 4-Goal

This game requires 4 small goals (or gates) and 5 players. 4 Players take up a position in goal. 1 Player becomes the attacker
To attack each goal in a 1 v 1 situation, get past the defender and score.
This warm up drill can, and should be used will all age groups. For younger age groups (Under 7’s-Under 12’s) it can be used as a standalone drill. For older age groups (Under 13’s – Under 16’s) you could use it as a warm up drill.

Coaching Points

  • Keep the ball close
  • Use disguise skills to try and beat the defender
  • If the defender over commits, can you accelerate to get past him?
  • Keep your head up

Drill Details

The attacker must attack 1 goal and try and score. If the attacker scores, they return back to the middle, get another ball and try again with another goal.

If the defender tackles them and wins the ball, the attacker and the defender swap roles – the attacker now becomes the defender and the defender now becomes the attacker. This is a continuous game.

The player with the most goals at the end of time wins.

Progression

  • Introduce 2 attackers working at the same time
  • Remove the attacker and play with 1 v 1 v 1 v 1. If a player concedes a goal they are replaced by another player on the outside – players have 3 ‘lives’ each

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #3

Mini Game

[1v1 Soccer Drills] 1v1 Mini Game

Super simple setup with smaller cones used to layout the pitch dimensions and larger traffic cones to make the goals 
To attack and defend (1v1) in a small confined area
Under 7’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s, Under 16’s

Coaching Points

Attack
  • Keep the ball close to your feet
  • Use disguise to get past the player
Defend
  • Shut the space down
  • Push the attacker away from the goal
  • Approach the ball side on

Drill Details

This drill can be setup multiple times across a large area to accommodate all your players. The ball starts with one player attacking the the opposite goal. The attacker must keep the ball close to his feet and try and dribble the ball through the two cones.

The defender must try and win the ball. If the defender wins the ball, he now becomes the attacker and the original attacker must get in position to defend the attack.

Progression

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #4

Attack & Defend

[1v1 Soccer Drills] Attack and Defend

For this drill you’ll need 2 goals / gates.
To alternate between attacking and defending in 1v1 situations
Under 7’s – Under 13’s

Coaching Points

Attack
  • Keep the ball close
  • Use a change of pace to beat the player
  • Use a disguise to beat the player
  • Use both feet
Defend
  • Lower your center of gravity
  • bend your knees
  • Be aware of the space around you
  • Follow the attackers movements
  • Close the space down
  • Push them out side
  • Win the ball

Drill Details

Teams will take it in turns to attack and defend. While one team attacks the goal, the other team defends it – on the next the go the defending team become the attackers and the original attackers will become the the defenders

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #5

Quick Transition

[1v1 Soccer Drills] Quick Transition

Having use of a an 18 yard area for this drill will help. Set up two players either side of the goal and two players out the area. This is also a great drill to get your goalkeeper training with the team
A continuous game aimed at developing both attacking and defending in a dynamic 1v1 situation
Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s

Coaching Points

Attack
  • Attack the space
  • Keep the ball close to your feet
  • Accelerate to beat the player
Defend
  • Close the space down quickly
  • Show the attacker the outside
  • Win the ball

Drill Details

  • Player A passes the ball out to player B
  • Player A then runs out to close the space down and defend 1 v 1.
  • Once a goal has either been scored or the ball becomes ‘dead’
  • Player D feeds another ball into Player A
  • Player C now quickly comes out to close down the space and stop Player A from turning and scoring.

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #6

Gladiator

[1v1 Soccer Drills] Gladiator

For this drill mark out 4 sections; 3 areas will each have a defender in, the last area will have a goalkeeper.
 Attackers: To make their way through the different areas by beating the defenders in 1v1 situations Defenders: To win the ball when it enters their area
I’d recommend this drill for ages 9 and upwards. Although, as a regression for younger age groups you could remove the defenders and place cones down instead

Coaching Points

Attack
  • Attack the space
  • Use a change of pace
Defend
  • Shut the space down
  • push the attackers out wide

Drill Details

The first player tries to beat the first defender. If he succeeds, then the next player goes. If a defender manages to win the ball and knock it out of their area, the attacker must go to the back of the line and the next attacker goes.

Defenders get a point every time they win the ball and attackers get a point every time they beat and attacker and 2 bonus points if they complete the challenge and score at the end.

Progression

  • Change the the size of areas

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #7

1 v 1 Practice

[1v1 Soccer Drills] 1v1 Practice

Two teams – Two Goals with a ball in the middle of the goal as the the target. (Side note: You could add in goalkeepers instead). 
To develop attacking and defending in 1v1 situations
Suitable for; Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s, Under 15’s

Coaching Points

  • Keep the ball close to your feet
  • Alternate the goals in which you attack
  • Increase intensity of the attacking play

Drill Details

Teams alternate attack and defend in in a 1 v 1 situation. After attacking the attacker must turn quickly to defend. The first team to hit the target 10 times is the winner

Progression

  • For this drill you add goalkeepers to the mix
  • You can also add boxed areas to confine the spaces in which each player attacks and defends

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #8

Breakout

[1v1 Soccer Drills] 1v1 Breakout

For this drill you’ll need at least 8-10 players. Split them up into 2 teams.
To develop 1 v 1 attacking and defending principles by ‘breaking out’ of the boxed area and attacking the goal.
Suitable for; Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 12’s, Under 13’s, Under 14’s

Coaching Points

Attack
  • Exploit the space
  • Change of pace
Defend
  • Close the space quickly
  • Keep your eye on the attackers movements
  • Win the ball

Drill Details

The drill starts by having 2 players inside a 10 x 10 square. Player A attempts to beat Player B, get outside the area and attack 1 v 1 against the second defender to score.

If Player B wins the ball, before that happens then Player B can break out and try and score a goal.

Progression

  • This game can easily start with NO second defender. Then as a progression introduce the second defender
  • As a regression for younger players you replace goalkeepers with targets

 

1 v 1 Soccer Drill #9

Ultimate Transition

[1v1 Soccer Drills] Transition

Setup involves 4 gates – 2 red and 2 blue. To make things easier and psychologically more competitive I recommend matching the color gates with the color of the team.
To develop 1v1 attacking and defending through smooth transition when gaining or losing possession of the ball
Under 7’s right through to Under 14’s/ 15’s

Coaching Points

Attack
  • Keep the ball close
  • Use a turn of pace to beat the defender
  • Exploit the space
  • Use disguise
  • Stay sharp
Defend
  • Shut the space down quickly
  • Jockey back while keeping your eye on the ball
  • Push attacker out wide

Drill Details

This 1 v 1 drills starts with the blue player dribbling into the area and attacking 1 of the blue gates. The red player must close the space down quick and stop the attacker.

If the red player wins the ball they must now attack while the blue player defends. The last team to score a goal is the team that attacks next. The becomes ‘dead’ if it leaves the drill area.

Progression

  • Start with shooting through gates then progress to dribbling through the gates
  • This drill could also be easily progress into a simple overload practice
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply