Soccer Drills and Skills Training Tips
Let's Talk About Getting Fit
Stamina is one of the most important things in soccer, so before we start talking about different drills and skills training to help you play better. We first need to talk about how to get fit for soccer.
Being fit allows you to play at a higher level, and it also allows you to easily perform the drills we are going to outline in this article.
While it may not seem like it at a glance, soccer is an extremely demanding physical sport, requiring a combination of strength, stamina, and coordination in order to perform well.
For those not used to high endurance activities or sports training, preparing for the soccer season may seem like a daunting task, especially if you have poor stamina.
The key to preparing adequately for the soccer season is to make sure you train all of these aspects evenly. Focusing entirely on strength is great for weight lifting and such, but without the stamina and coordination to go with it,
you'll end up getting winded very quickly and have trouble keeping up in the long run as the game goes on, and without the footwork and coordination you'll get out played by more experienced players.
Here are some ways to get fit and prepare for soccer during the off season, so you'll be in tip top shape and ready to go once soccer season rolls around. We will start with quick warm-up routine and some of the equipment you will need.
Before you even get started with doing exercises, it's important to be prepared to work out. This involves having the right equipment and being ready to push yourself.
The most important thing to have with you is a water bottle, filled with water. While Gatorade and other sports drinks have electrolytes to help with fluid retention, nothing can beat plain old water for actually rehydrating your body, especially if it’s a hot summer day.
You'll also want to wear loose clothing that doesn't restrict your movement, as well as soccer cleats so that you can get used to how they feel. Cleats are designed to grip the turf, so you'll get a lot more traction from them than you would a regular sneaker.
Depending on if you're training solo, as well as what kind of drills you're doing, you may also want to bring shin guards, a stop watch, and a towel to dry off with as needed.
Stretching is just as important as the warm up. You'll want to do full body stretches, working every body part from your legs and ankles to your back and neck. Proper stretching helps prevent strains as well as keeps your body limber and allows for better mobility.
A lot of the more dynamic stretches also mimic a lot of the body movements you'll be performing while playing, such as swing kicks.
Stretching also gives your heart and lungs a brief rest after your warm up, allowing you to refocus before you start training.
You should perform these three steps before every training session. From here, you can decide which exercised you want to focus on during each session.
You can either focus on your weakest point first, or go for a more well-rounded approach. If you have multiple training sessions in a week, you should perform exercises on a rotating basis, so any you didn't perform this session are going to be on the set list for the next training session.
It's important to warm up properly before training. Getting your body moving will help prevent muscle spasms and tightness during your workout.
The purpose of the warm up is to get the muscles moving and loosened up, so activities like light jogging, squats, sit ups, and dynamic stretches help activate your muscles and prepare you for your workout.
Your warm up should be for at least ten minutes, even longer on cold days or in the early morning.
Also known as High Knees, you raise one knee up to about hip or chest height if you can. Then, in one swift motion, switch legs.
You can do this either timed or for distance. Not only do high knees work the core, but also train you to lift your knees when you run, which helps you avoid being tripped.
Train For Your Specific Position
For you to gain maximum benefits out of your fitness and conditioning training, it is important that you train for the specific soccer position that you want to play. Different soccer positions demand different kinds of training. As an example, a goalkeeper doesn’t have to be as fit for running as a center midfielder.
You will find that even defenders and midfielders have different training needs. Let us look at some fitness needs for various soccer positions.
Goalkeepers – this position demands quick and powerful reactions necessary for catching and clearing the ball from the goal. Goalkeepers do not need much of long-distance stamina, as they don’t move around much. Training for this position should focus on strength and quick reactions. A goalkeeper should be fast and have a slim physique.
Defenders – players for this position need to have strong upper and lower bodies. They also need to train for sprinting speed. Even though defenders might not be required to run across the field continuously, they should have enough stamina to get to the ball and fight for it for effective defending.
Midfielders - this is perhaps the soccer position that demands the most long-distance stamina. Their speed and endurance need to be exceptionally high for success in this position. Their foot skills also need to be strong and quick.
Forwards – just like defenders, forward players need to strike a balance between speed and strength., and they also need jogging stamina sufficient to overwhelm defenders and create offensive play opportunities.
Games & Scrimmages
Playing soccer is the best way to acquire fitness for the game because playing the game trains your entire body all at once. You will, however, need to do some additional training for specialized skills. A great thing with playing soccer is you are forced to build endurance and speed in real-life soccer situations.
Playing soccer is also an effective way of gaining strength and agility. A good soccer game is a good training session. During fun play, try and play in different positions that demand fitness in different muscles. This will not only help you acquire full-body fitness, but also enable you to learn the game.
Interval Training Rather Than Long-distance Running
Interval training involves alternating hard sprints with brief resting breaks (or jogs). This trains your body on attaining top speed and recovering quickly from the body strain.
Interval training conditions are much more in line with what happens in real soccer games compared to jogging for long hours. interval training has been seen to get faster and better fitness results. An interval training session may look like this.
You can reduce the jogging (rest period) as you get more fit. Aim for alternating 30-second sprints with 30-second jogs.
Improve Agility And Reaction Speeds
Being fast on your feet and effective in direction changing will propel you to be a better soccer player. Repeated muscle stretching and contracting enhances your strength and builds agility. There are multiple exercises that you can engage in to achieve this. Let us look at a few highly effective ones.
Cone Runs – place cones in a zig-zag way. Run through the cone-pattern as fast as you can while making sharp turns around the cones.
Suicide runs – use cones to create two lines approximately 20 yards apart. Your aim is sprint to the end as hard as you can, touch the cone, and sprint back. Your focus should be on maintaining high-speeds and body balance as you make quick and smooth directional changes.
Ladder drills – these drills will make your feet lighter and faster, and your directional change better. With ladder drills, you can form multiple patterns to train for agility.
Hurdles or Box Jumps – with these exercises try and land on your toes and ensure that you spring back up as fast and efficient as possible.
Even though long-distance runs may not be applicable in much of soccer training, such runs can still help in recovery and building endurance for soccer games.
Such workouts can be done about 1-2 times a week. During off days when you can't do full workouts, you can perform long, slow runs to activate and stretch your muscles.
Swimming and cycling can also be used to activate muscles. The aim here is to maintain a relatively slow pace for about 30-60 minutes.
Upper Body Exercises For Better Soccer Play
You will need a sturdy upper body to enable you to fight defenders and win header fights. With a stronger upper body, you will also become harder to tackle. Being able to resist tackles and compete better for position during the game will make you a more effective soccer player.
The aim is to be strong while also remaining lean. Develop a workout schedule that focuses on the following muscle groups. An effective program may work on each muscle group 2 to 4 times every week and doing 2 to 3 exercises for each muscle group.
Chest and back – chest and back muscles help in establishing and keeping space when fighting for the ball, whether in the box or mid-air. Also, a strong back will enhance your balance while playing, and your overall body strength.
Arms - having toned arms will not only help you push through the opponent players but will also help you stay in balance while on the ball. To tone your arms, you can do bicep curls and triceps pushups at home or in the gym.
Abs and Core– by having strong core muscles, you will be able to effectively transfer power between the upper and the lower body, according to your power needs at the moment.
This will in effect make you a better soccer player. Sit-ups and crunches are two of the best workouts for Abs and core. These workouts can be performed on a daily basis.
Push Yourself Harder
Acquiring fitness for soccer takes a lot of hard work and relentless dedication. When performing drills, push yourself as hard as you would in a real game.
When you feel worn out by the exercises, put your focus on your foot skills. The best players remain technically proficient even when they are exhausted. This will make you better than most of the other player
You can also get a dedicated training partner to help you stay dedicated by motivating you, and also to introduce some competition which may motivate you to work harder. Now that we have talked about how to get fit, let’s talk about some drills and skills training that will help you become a better player.
Warm Up Drills
Understanding the Basics
Functional Training Drills
Warm Up Drills
Practicing sports or performing any kind of physical exercise without a proper warm-up is a recipe for disaster, you need to get the blood pumping and your body warm in order to reduce the risk of injuries and achieve peak performance. The same applies to soccer, which is a highly demanding sport that requires a lot of training and preparation.
In this article, you'll get acquainted with a series of soccer warm up drills that'll help you to perform at maximum intensity and mentally prepare for the match.
Running Straight Ahead
A simple yet important exercise. For this drill, 6 to 10 cones are needed, which must be located at a distance of 5 to 6 meters in the same direction in which the person will move, after that, the player will begin to jog slowly in a straight line until reaching the end of the route and then, will turn around and return to the starting point.
Depending on your physical state, you can progressively increase the speed in order to prepare the body little by little to the physical demands of a real match.
Keep in mind that you should not use 100% of your strength, it is recommended to employ 50-60% of your physical capabilities. But remember, you are barely getting warm up, don’t overdo it. As an additional note, you can practice with a partner to stimulate healthy competition.
Jogging Or Running With Knees Up
In this training, the athlete will jog or run in a straight line at the same time that he or she raises the knees to the height of the chest.
This warm-up allows the player to correctly synchronize times and improve rhythm. It also helps to stretch all the muscles and ligaments of the legs.
As for the execution time, it can be performed for around 4 minutes and the intensity of the speed depends on the player's energy. As long as it does not exceed 60% of their capacity, it’s ok. In addition, it can also be practiced in groups to encourage sportsmanship.
Running Butt Kicks
In this drill, depending on the demands of the trainer, the player will jog or run, but this time instead of bringing the knees to the chest, he or she must raise the heels in the opposite direction, they must touch the buttocks every time.
The execution time of this warm-up can be of a couple of minutes, and then again, the athlete must put moderate effort while doing so. It should be noted that it can be practiced alone or in a group.
Running Circling Partner
This drill requires more concentration and team effort than the others. It’s like a choreography that must be strictly followed. For starters, 2 sets of cones with 10 or 6 units each are needed, they have to be placed in parallel forming two straight lines (5 to 6 meters of spacing between the cones).
Once everything is set, two athletes, each one in their respective line of cones, should start jogging in unison and each time they reach a cone, they will move in the direction of their partner laterally without turning the torso and before making contact, one of them will pass in front of the other, making a small circle around him/her at the same time that the partner does the same.
And after that, they will return to the cone from where they left and continue jogging until the next one. The procedure will be repeated the same number of times that there are cones.
Running Jumping with Shoulder Contact
As well as in the previous drill, two sets of cones (6-10 units) and two participants are needed. The cones will be placed in parallel straight lines and two players will start running/jogging at the same time until reaching their respective cones.
Then the participants will move towards each other without turning the torso and once they are within reach of the other, they will jump and clash their shoulders mid-air simulating the struggle against a rival player.
Once they hit the ground, they will return to their respective cones and continue with the same routine until reaching the last cone. Please be gentle with your partner when performing this exercise, you don’t want to get hurt before the match even begins.
It's also worth pointing out that you can increase the speed as the drill progresses, but always simultaneously, since both athletes must jump at the same time.
Running Quick Forwards & Backward Sprints
For this training, you shall need again the same line of cones with a separation of 5-6 meters between them. The participant has to run/jog until reaching the first cone. Once there, return to the starting point by jogging backwards, then jog to the second cone.
Once again, go back to the first cone by running backwards and repeat the process until reaching the last one. Be sure to be swift but careful during the exercise, you don't want to fall flat on your back. Some trainers recommend performing the drill on couples to boost the morale and develop a competitive spirit among the members of the team.
Hamstrings for Beginners
For this exercise, it is necessary to have a partner. To start, the athlete who will perform the exercise will kneel on the ground, preferably on grass to avoid getting hurt, after that, the companion who will assist the practitioner shall hold the legs at the level of the calf.
The practitioner will be positioned at a 90-degree angle, keeping the legs, torso, and head firm, the arms should be crossed over the chest touching the shoulders, like an X.
Once all the conditions are met, the athlete must lean their body forward slowly, progressively increasing the speed. When they are at a safe distance stretch the arms to stop the fall, for this you must apply the same principle as the shock absorbers, this in order to lessen the impact on your arms and hands.
After the hands are touching the ground, the practitioner has to perform a flex and at the end, push up again until reaching the starting position to repeat all the training as many times as necessary. As a tip, the partner has to be firmly holding the legs in order to avoid an accident.
Running Across the Pitch
This training should be done after the muscles are properly warmed up since it will require a lot of strength and endurance when practicing it. To begin, 4 cones are needed, 2 at the starting point and 2 at the end point, these must be located in parallel and indicate the starting position and the end goal.
In the beginning, they will start with 70% or 80% of their capacities, after having completed half the route, they can increase the speed up to 100%. When they reach the cone that indicates the end, they will turn around and return more calmly.
It is suggested to practice it alongside a partner to have a rival to compete with. The idea of this drill is that players can measure their speeds over short distances.
As for the number of times that can be done in a row, it is recommended that it be a maximum of 2 times, after that, the athletes must rest.
Plant and Cut
To begin, they will have a series of cones that will be placed in distances of between 5 to 6 meters, simulating a pair of straight lines, which will be guiding the players across the training area.
Both athletes will run in a diagonal direction and after a series of 5 to 7 steps, they will stop while keeping the balance in the leg that is facing the direction that they are moving, after that, they will run in the opposite direction the same number of steps and again they will stop leaning on the corresponding leg.
This exercise will be carried out the same number of times as the number of cones located in the field. It is highly recommended not to perform more than 2 sets in a row; this type of warm-up drill can prove to be exhausting.
Shot On Goal
As the name suggests, this specific warm-up consists of accustoming the player to shoot on goal, although it is also suitable for practicing the passes and improving the reflexes of the goalkeeper.
In the first place, the player who will shoot at the goal will slowly move towards it, then pass the ball to the teammate who will be outside the goalkeeper's area and they must return the ball so that the first one shoots at the goal.
While this happens, the goalkeeper has to be actively trying to deflect the incoming ball. This warm-up is quite usual before the start of a match, as it allows players to release anxiety and be calm for the big game.
So, there you have it, ten soccer warm-up drills that will not only help you to get your body in shape before a match, but also to deliver peak performance and improve the dynamic and bond with your teammates.
All these warm-up recommendations are endorsed by the FIFA Federation and you should consider adding them to your training routine if you aspire to become a good soccer player and a better athlete as a whole.
Understanding The Basics
Whether you are an adult, youth or child wanting to learn soccer, it can be both exciting and challenging. One of the first things you need to know are the basic soccer techniques that must be done in repetition so that you can become the best soccer player on the field.
Soccer is a sport that has been around for generations and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. It is heavily played in European countries as well as Africa where I’m from.
Understanding some of the basic soccer techniques will form a solid foundation that will help you in playing the sport, while disciplining you for other areas in your life. So, what are some of the basic soccer techniques you will need to know?
This article will help you learn what these soccer techniques are and what part of your game it will strengthen. These basic techniques can be broken down into individual technique. Let's get started.
Individual Soccer Techniques
Passing: Passing the ball is one of the first basic soccer techniques you will learn. This can be done with the inside or outside of the foot.
Shooting: Shooting is another basic soccer technique you need to learn as a beginning soccer player. This can be done with the inside and outside of the foot, or with the instep.
Heading: Heading is when you attempt to control or direct the ball toward a specific direction with your head. It is another great basic soccer technique that you need to understand.
Trapping the Ball: This allows you to control the ball when its passed to you. The goal is to not allow other players to get near the ball.
Feint and Dribble: There are different variations of this that you will need to learn as a beginning soccer player or as you practice your basic soccer technique. They include: the passing move, the body move, the shooting move, the back foot move and the scissors move.
Ball Control: This is one of the most key ingredients to becoming a great soccer player. Remembering to look up before receiving the ball and having great ball control while using your foot and other parts of your body to move forward is very important in soccer.
Turning: Being able to turn and maneuver your body with the soccer ball will have you on your way to becoming the next Pele.
Attacking Soccer Techniques
Principles of Attack: There are two very important principles of attack you need to learn as a beginner. These include always giving support to your teammates, and creating the right passing distance between yourself and your teammate. This will allow for better play and the chemistry between you and your teammate will grow. These two pieces of information will help you as you grow in your quest of becoming a great soccer player.
Passing Play: The key to passing is to always remember to look up and make note of your surroundings. Understanding that the ball could be pass to you at anytime will always keep you moving and ready for any play. Looking up allows you to get your feet and body ready for receiving the ball and passing it on to your teammates.
Run: There are many variations of runs that you will need to learn in soccer. They include: deep runs, diagonal runs, v-runs, creating your own space runs and creating space for others runs. These are all a basic part of what you will need to learn and do as a part of a team.
Finishing: The finishing technique is the most glorious technique in soccer. This is when you finally get to score that much-needed goal. one of the things to remember is not to be selfish. You do not have to be the one that score the goal all the time. Remember to pass the ball if you are not in the position to score. The goal is to win as a team.
Defending Soccer Techniques
Principles of Defense:There are basic principle of defense that you need to understand if you want to become a better soccer player. A team that has a weak defense is useless no matter how great or strong the forward is.
Defense is everything in soccer. You will never lose if you don't let people score. Some of these defensive moves that you have to understand are: goal-side, marking, covering, pressing and learning the danger areas on the soccer field.
1-1 Situation: one-on-one situations are unavoidable in soccer. Facing and challenging an opponent is a technique you have to develop and get really good at if you want to become a really good soccer player.
You need to learn how to challenge other soccer players, get past them and leave them in the dust. The only way to be able to do this is practice! practice! practice!
Goalkeeping Soccer Techniques
Movement & Positioning Techniques: Goalies are the last line of defense. Your role as a goalie is very crucial to your team. believe it or not, I like to think that the goalie is one of the most if not the most important person on the field.
A large part of being a great goalie is understanding your current position in front of the goal according to how the soccer ball is being moved across the field. Doing this will allow you to position yourself to better respond to anything that is coming your way.
Catching the Ball: There are three basic techniques you need to learn in order to catch the ball to the best of your abilities. They include cupping, gripping low balls and gripping high balls. Each technique is important in its own way and must be learned as a daily routine in your drills.
Diving Techniques: This is another key thing to learn during your drills. You will need to learn the correct diving techniques for defending both low balls and high balls. This will increase your ability to defend your opponent effectively while making sure that the other team does not score or get awarded a foul.
Shot Stopping: Being able to stop a shot is your job as a goalie. This is another basic soccer technique you must learn in order to be effective.
One-on-One: As a goalie, your one-on-one situation are much more detrimental to the team than a normal soccer player, so learning how to defend in one-on-one situations should be your number one priority. Mastering this will allow you to own your domain.
Dealing with Crosses: Understanding how to cross is also very important for goalie. Most players use their goalie to open plays. Your job as a goalie should not only be about catching balls and defending the goal. You will be a better goalie if you fully understand how to work with your players, especially the Defenders. The truth is, it is your job to fully control what happens in your domain, and your domain is the box.
These are some of the best basic soccer techniques for beginner players. It does not matter if you are a beginner or a more advanced soccer player working on their daily soccer drills. Working within these categories, depending upon your position on the field will help to improve your soccer game.
Soccer Agility Drills for Quick Movement
Soccer is a game of sprinting speed in addition to passing and dribbling skills. To dominate a game, a player ought to be quick as he moves with the ball so as to create space for himself and others.
As much as speed and quickness are the game changers, it is important to note that soccer isn’t track.
You need to be able to make an instantaneous change of direction while sprinting without losing your balance.
This gives you the ability to dodge players and take advantage of the space between defending players. Before we delve into agility drills, here is a blueprint of what you need to know when training for agility.
Learn to run for speed, not efficiency: The standard time for a single soccer game is 90 minutes which are characterized by two 45 minutes halves of rapid bursts of activities with only a 15 minutes break between the halves.
In most cases, players tend to conserve energy by taking moderate-length strides, keeping the knees low and having minimal arm pumping while running.
Unfortunately, this style of running makes them slow. One thing that escapes the understanding of many soccer players is that in order to improve quickness, one must run for speed. You need to get your knees higher, strike the ground more and aggressively pump your arms.
A fast body Is better than fast feet: Agility can be divided into two key components, quickness, and change of direction. However, these two components exist in collaboration thus must be practiced as a single entity to realize skillful agility.
Fast feet enable you to make quick movements with the ball and run fast. But if you can’t change direction as fast as you run, you are going to get burned.
Building a fast body allows you to improve on your quickness meaning you can get from point A to B quicker than your opponent by covering more ground with fewer steps.
In addition to moving quickly and fast, you need to be able to stop or start your body. This requires a significant amount of relative speed and explosive power, as such; you need to put quite a lot of time in the weight room to build enough power.
Train for effectiveness, not conditioning: It goes without saying that most soccer drills require impressive levels of conditioning. However, when practicing on speed and agility you should aim at effectiveness more than just conditioning.
For instance, running through a speed and agility drill, a majority of the players jog back and repeat the drill. As much as it may look like speed work, the effectiveness of the drill is not optimally achieved since the player will get fatigued and eventually slow down.
For an effective and dominating speed and agility drill, a player should maintain a constant speed right from the first to the last drill. This may call for extended periods of resting to gain full recovery so that each set of a drill is just as fast and explosive as the previous one.
Additionally, if you feel like you are getting slower stop practicing the drill and rest longer than you think you need to. The goal here is not to get tired but ensuring effectiveness by practicing fewer drills with the same amount of energy.
Move from planned to unplanned drills: When playing soccer, agility is not planned prior nor can it be coordinated. As a matter of fact, the sudden change in direction happens in response to uncontrolled outside stimuli.
With that in mind, planned agility drills help you build the techniques needed to make quick movements. Once you have a good mastery of the techniques, you can include some unplanned drills where you have to react to random stimulus.
Your coach or training buddy can act as a random stimulus by trying to make random moves to intercept the ball as you train. This will boost your creativity as far as agility is concerned, allowing you to make proficient quick movements. Having that in mind, here is a detailed guide on some of the best soccer agility drills for quick movements:
Four Cones Pattern
In this drill, players run, shuffle and backpedal through a series of four cones placed five yards away from each other. The players learn to keep balance as they make quick moves, develop footwork and agility necessary for a fast-paced game.
How It Works
To spice up the exercise, after spring forward towards the middle cone the players can perform over-under sideways running instead of shuffling. They can also shuffle everything except the run to the middle cone, and then backpedal to the finish. Additionally, players can compete amongst the groups to see which group finishes a pattern first.
The coach should emphasize on proper footwork and maintenance of balance as the players change directions. Short quick steps with bent knees are ideal in this activity.
The players should also change the directions quickly and keep their feet in motion. As a coach ensure the players slightly lean forward in their chest as they backpedal instead of leaning backward, as this may make them go off balance.
1 on 1 Change Of Direction
The purpose of this drill is to develop players’ ability to quickly change direction and make quick movements. However, this activity requires the players to be adequately warmed-up as it involves lots of movements which may lead to injury if a player’s muscles are not “prepared”.
How It Works
To make the drill a bit challenging you should consider increasing the distance between cones to make the players cover more ground. This increases the focus on speed and stride-length while decreasing focus on short and quick steps.
The coach should encourage the players to be creative and quick as they run through the line. Leaders can attempt to lose their opponents with a change of speed or quick movements making the followers stay alert and respond quickly to leader's movements. Motivate the players to explode towards the finish line with powerful strides and drive their knees as they sprint.
Agility ladder drill is one the most common drill used to improve the speed and agility of players. The fact that all the movements in this drill are pre-planned and there are no outside stimuli from an opposing player or random movements, some coaches argue that the ladder drills may not be effective.
Nevertheless, this does not mean this drill is worthless, as a matter of fact, this drill serves as an excellent way to improve coordination and body awareness of younger players. This goes a long way into helping such players make quick movements in addition to improving their body balance and footwork.
How It Works
Add one cone about 15 yards away from the end of the ladder and have the player complete the pattern before sprinting to the cone and walking back. The icky shuffle pattern can also be included in the training session to challenge the players. Generally, a player starts with one foot outside the box and then moves the other inside the box.
As the player moves the other foot, he is supposed to touch both feet down inside the box before putting one foot outside the box.
Agility ladder drills can be unfamiliar to some players depending on their age and skill level. For this reason, it is important to start slow on those new to agility ladders to ensure they run the patterns without missing a single step. Besides, it is not about speed, but rather getting a player’s feet to make quick movements.
Ensure the players move their arms, forwards and backward, while running through the patterns. This helps keep a player's body in one fluid motion which is necessary for developing quickness.
As for the experienced and older players who are not new to agility ladder drills, they should be motivated to go as quickly as they can through the ladders, without skipping any boxes. However, for this type of players, agility ladder drills work best as dynamic warm-up tools. You can create other new patterns with the agility ladder, as long as they focus on agility, quickness, and speed.
Body control and balance are important skills for every soccer player. A player's ability to react quickly to a game situation, change direction and control the ball make the difference between a good player and not so good player.
However, with the right drills to help you train on your agility for quick movements you can improve on your skills to become a proficient player. use the tips and drills outlined above to kick start your training.
Functional Training Drills
Soccer players are among the most physically fit people in the world of sports. Known for their coordination, maneuverability, and endurance, it doesn't come easy. Thorough and consistent training is a must considering the fact they have to play 90-minute games or more.
Whether you are an amateur or professional football player, you need the right balance of nutrition, training, recovery mechanisms and sleeping patterns to gain a competitive advantage.
Football players mostly engage in functional training whereby their workouts mostly involve molding their bodies to adapt to the sport by focusing on specific parts and muscles of the body.
Eventually, the players’ performance and development are improved by strengthening their bodies, enhancing their movements at the same time improving injury reduction and recovery.
Incorporating functional training along with other workouts in your training schedule is, therefore, essential to achieve an overall increased game performance in so many ways. They include:
Functional training can be done by any soccer player regardless of your level of experience or age. Most of the exercises don't need additional equipment or access to the gym to be done; however, you will need ample space and a yoga mat.
Depending on your soccer schedule, goals, fitness level and age, it’s recommended that you do functional training two to three times a week and try to ensure that your workout lasts between 30 minutes to an hour.
You should also ensure that you allocate enough recovery time between intense functional workouts and team training or soccer games and your standard training. After light workouts, allocate a lesser amount of time for recovery as compared to after intense workouts.
Below are some of the functional soccer training workouts that are safe and effective when increasing your body's strength and performance on the pitch and have a low impact. They include:
Before starting a run, workout or getting into the football pitch, warming up first, aids in reducing the risk of injury at the same time maximize your performance.
A warm-up should be done 15-30 minutes before a game and 5-15 minutes before a workout and should include stretching and dynamic exercises and light cardiovascular activities.
Importance of Soccer Warm-ups
Functional training is meant for all football players regardless of their age or experience level. Below is a breakdown of various warm-up exercises along with instructions categorized under levels of experience and activity:
Advanced or Intermediate Warm-up
This warm-up is ideal for more experienced soccer players. It focuses on balance, agility, flexibility, and endurance. The workout includes:
This workout is meant for soccer players going for long runs. It involves cardio and stretching exercises ideal for everyone. The exercises include:
This warm-up is suitable for football players to be done before starting a game or when coming in as a substitute. They are highly energized, dynamic and focused on agility. They include:
Dynamic Mobility Warm-up
This warm-up is meant to be slow and controlled and is supposed to be felt. It increases the range of movement especially in the hips, back, and legs. The exercises include:
When warming up, you are not supposed to push yourself too hard, and you should still feel fresh without stiffness after a warm-up. Additionally, static stretching is suitable when cooling down after physical activity; otherwise, it will drain your power.
Dynamic stretching is a sequence of movements that are sport specific (soccer) that are meant to prepare your muscles for the physical activity ahead. Incorporating dynamic stretches into your warm-up or warm-down is essential in maintaining your peak level performance.
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic stretching has several benefits that have a significant impact on your body and performance. They include:
Dynamic stretches should be executed in a slow and controlled manner, flexing your feet in the process and focusing on your breath. Dynamic stretches include:
Soccer is a 90 minute or more game. To be able to last a full match running an average of eight miles, sprinting, jogging and winning battles, you need to work on your endurance. Endurance workouts will enable you to have the ability to kick the ball, jog, run and maneuver around other players never stopping till the final whistle.
Benefits of Endurance Training
Endurance Training Workouts
Along with functional training for endurance, there are some workouts that soccer players incorporate into their training routine to increase their stamina. They include:
Functional training: To play the longest and hardest, functional training is essential. Isometric exercises are perfect for enhancing your endurance as your target muscle fibers become denser and stronger. The perfect exercise, in this case, is a two-point classic plank that focuses on toughening and strengthening your abs, legs, glutes, and balance- the ideal combination for improving your endurance.
Cardiovascular exercises: Soccer players need to use large amounts of cardiovascular energy. To develop the endurance required for a full match, you need to perform intensive and regular cardiovascular exercises. Because soccer players don’t run non-stop during a match, when carrying out cardiovascular exercises- running or jogging- they should last between 30 and 60 minutes whereby you will develop the necessary stamina to jog or run throughout the game
A heart rate monitor is also necessary when trying to ensure you expend the right amount of energy from a workout. For endurance development, your heart rate should fall between 65 to 85% for maximum HR, and most exercises should maintain your HR between 65 to 70% — this range aids in increasing blood volume, oxygen transportation, and capillary density.
Repeated fast runs with brief breaks: Cardiovascular exercises may be important in building endurance. However, fast workouts with short breaks in between are essential too. Practicing sprinting, for instance, will keep you prepared for about 10-15% of a game. You may practice sprinting by making 10-15 sets of 20-yard sprints with a 30-second rest between sets adjusting your body to quickly starting and stopping. You can also run around the pitch changing speeds as you run to help work on your reflexes of quickly changing your actions and also adapt to the ever-changing physical demands of a game.
Interval training: this form of training improves soccer skills significantly. When training, you change between various activity levels at the same time giving your heart time to recover periodically. You may start with a low-intensity exercise like jogging before bursting into a high-intensity exercise. This trains your muscles without straining them improving your speed and strength without unnecessary wear and tear. Most professional footballers follow the 80/20 rule whereby their workout consists of 20% high and medium impact exercising and 80% low impact.
During a soccer game you will mostly be jogging, sprinting, pacing, dribbling or standing still; hence this training helps your body to quickly jump between various activities with ease.
Power and Speed
Football is a fast game. Building your speed on and off the ball and also being able to fire explosive shots from any angle can be achieved through power and speed workouts. Below are some of the benefits:
Benefits of Speed and Power Training
Power and Speed Training Workouts
Sprint training: in this training, you make long, medium and short sprints over straight distances. You should also incorporate diagonal, forward, backward and side-to-side sprints to mimic movements during a match
Flexibility and mobility training: it's paramount to recover with dynamic movements and to stretch to keep your body mobile, loose and light. When your body is rigid, stiff or tight, it becomes difficult for you to effectively unleash your power and speed without creating strain to your body.
Plyometric training: this form of training includes hopping, jumping or similar exercises that focus on expending maximum force in a short time. Regardless of the technique, you decide to use so long as it's safe and adequate, your explosiveness will improve.
Joint strengthening training: performing exercises that strengthen your hip, ankle, and knee joint not only do you improve your balance and stability but also gives you the ability to quickly change direction or jump. It also reduces the chances of injuring yourself.
Fast footwork and coordination training: the smoother and faster your feet are, the higher your movements will be. Practice with a partner, cones, ladders or use skipping ropes to perfect this part of your game.
Functional training: functional training increases muscle strength of your body. While improving your power and speed through functional training, your core strength, balance, coordination and mobility and more also improves-aspects that will refine your power and speed.
Mobility training is a big part of being a soccer players, especially when having a busy soccer schedule. It enables you to lose and reduce soreness, stay flexible and keep moving fluidly. It has some benefits to players which include:
Importance of Mobility Training
Mobility Training Workouts
Mobility exercises are gentle but effective, low impact, work your coordination and flexibility and maintain perfect alignment of your entire body. Functional dynamic exercises are good for increasing mobility and ideal during warm-ups and warm-downs. They include:
Coordination and control of your body is a major contributor to your soccer skills. Lack of coordination means poor passing techniques, weak skills, poor body-to-body performances and slow change of direction.
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Benefits of Coordination Training
Coordination Training Workouts
Coordination workouts are meant to improve your control, balance, swiftness and more. Below are some coordination workouts to help you improve your soccer skills:
Knee tuck classic plank: When doing this exercise, you must keep your body's trunk still and engaged at the same time moving your raise head and leg, flexing your raised leg, synchronizing your movement and focusing on your breath. This improves your strength, balance, and control.
Skip rope: Skipping a rope improves your coordination in that you have to time your jumps with how fast you are swinging the rope. Do this exercise jumping with both feet first then with one foot as you increase speeds.
Balance on one leg: This exercise enables you to work on your balance and coordinating as you try to prevent yourself from falling. To do this exercise, stand on an unstable surface like a pillow with your hands on your waist, lift one foot, bend the other foot at the knee and hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs.
Ball Soccer Workout
All best soccer players have one thing in common; they are fast in most aspects like feet, ball control, and decision making. However, all this is not from talent but instead training. Ball work training enables your movement to become smoother and efficient at the same time increasing your agility and coordination.
Benefits of Ball Work Training
Ball Work Training Workouts
Ball work exercises are focused on balance, coordination, and agility which are the basis to fast movements and footwork. Some of the footwork exercises include:
Push-up burpee: This exercise improves your endurance, control, and power of explosive movements. The exercise engages your entire body as you change directions and also adjusts and strengthens your joints as you land on the floor.
Reverse lunge knee-up: This workout improves your coordination and balance while adding different movement intensities (power and explosive and slow and controlled)
Jumping lunges: This exercise enhances power, coordination, balance and quick movements of the body. It also improves ankle strength.
Some teams and players find it difficult to go an entire season without injuries. There many external forces beyond our control but there are some contributing factors that we can control. Below is a quick peek into some common injuries in soccer:
Some of these injuries may be caused by external factors like a dangerous tackle from an opponent. However, most of them can be prevented through simple and consistent prevention exercises.
Benefits of Injury Prevention Training
Injury Prevention Workouts
Injury prevention workouts are meant to reduce injuries and rehabilitate injuries successfully. The aim is to keep your joints stable, strengthen your entire body and allow more fluid movement.
The exercises themselves are low impact whereby we challenge our bodies physically at the same time reducing the likelihood of injuring ourselves while doing these exercises. The exercises include:
Maintaining a healthy mix of the various soccer workouts discussed will significantly improve your soccer skills and performance. You should also remember to warm-down after a workout to restore your muscles to their optimal length-tension relationship and reduce your breathing and heart rates. Keep in mind it's training that makes world-class players.
Soccer conditioning drills usually play one of the most significant roles in the game of a player regardless of how quick or talented a player is. Without being fit a player will lose breath, leading to mistakes with even the simplest skills in the soccer game.
Among the essential parts when it comes to soccer, is the ability to endure changes of speed, constant running, and direction to fill the empty spaces on the field. That's impossible to achieve without being in good shape, which can only be accomplished with soccer conditioning drills.
Nowadays, conditioning soccer exercises are a significant part of the game because of all the technology and research that has enabled us to learn some new and better techniques to get into great shape.
Doing soccer conditioning exercises can bring lots of discomforts, and can sometimes feel like the torture section of soccer, but it usually brings good results on the field where it matters the most.
Soccer conditioning drills will typically bring your players on their knees, sometimes loathing the training periods, but they will later thank the coaches once they get out on the soccer field, and play the game more effectively.
At times, players will need to be pushed and a lot of encouragement will be needed because all the time spent running around during training will also pass, and they will get rewarded with a fit and strong body later.
Soccer conditioning exercises are disliked by most players, particularly at a young age, because it is physically demanding. Conditioning for soccer can delay gratification, and although training might be challenging, these kinds of soccer exercises become incredibly rewarding much later in the sport, when your players are not easily tired and are strong to go the entire game with the same pace they began with. Here are some conditioning drills for soccer to enhance your team's performance.
Motion in soccer requires agility, speed, deceleration, acceleration, and multi-directional running. When you are using shuttle runs as one of your conditioning tools, you'll require five cones usually set ten yards apart.
Direct your players to run from the first cone to the second one and then back to the first one as fast as possible. This movement should be repeated from the first one to the third one, then cone one to four and later one to five. The players can run sideways or backward for a variation.
To boost power in the legs of a soccer player, have your players stand with their feet aligned beneath their hips. Direct the players to bring their arms right behind their bodies, bend both their knees into a squatting position, and instantly jump up and forward.
Once they land on the ground, they should reduce contact with the ground and then jump again. This activity can be accomplished across the width of a playing field.
Soccer needs strong legs and a strong core. To boost all these areas, put a cone or a ball on the ground and let a player stand right next to the soccer ball.
Instruct your players to keep their knees and feet together as they jump over the soccer ball to set down on the opposite side. Next, quickly run back to the start position. The players should repeat this activity for around 30 to 60 seconds.
Traditional pushups are helpful when it comes to developing upper body and core strength. Players should kneel on the ground with both hands beneath their shoulders.
If they have got the strength, instruct your players to straighten both legs and press their toes on the ground, else they should stay on their knees.
Players should bend their elbows on an inhale, lowering their chests towards the ground. Utilizing an exhale, the players should straighten their arms going back to the start position. This activity can be repeated depending on the comfort level of the players.
Interval or circuit training utilizes a combination of strength exercises and movement. Players alternate a strength drill with a speed drill at different increments of time, like, three minutes of pushups followed by three minutes of shuttle runs. This routine can be followed by another grouping like ball jumps and pendulum swings or repeated.
The objective of this exercise is to capture the runner before they get to the end of a set tunnel. You will require enough cones to set your tunnel. Split the soccer team into two separate groups and give every group a color.
To begin the game, one athlete stands at the first bend, while the other player who acts as the chasing partner begins at the beginning.
Both players should start sprinting through the tunnel on the whistle. The objective of this soccer conditioning drill is for the pursuer to get hold of the other player before they get to the end of the set tunnel. Once all your players have gone, it's time to switch the roles.
4v4 Conditioned SSG
Four v four soccer drill refers to a conditioned Small-Sided Game (SSG). You should begin with four v 4 and utilize two goalkeepers in the activity, if possible.
If you don't have them, use targets or small gates in the goal. This game begins with every player having one partner from the opposite team. Players will only be allowed to tackle and defend the individual they have been partnered with.
When one group loses possession, they should sprint back to your goal line before they win the soccer ball back. Everybody on the opposing team should touch the soccer ball at least once before shooting on goal.
This soccer drill involves a total of four goals for the attacking players to score in as well as a centered box located off area. Have one set of goals for every team.
Every colored cone will represent a channel that the attackers get through to score. The attacking players can attack either side or straight through the center. The defender should remain in the boxed off section and mirror the attacker's movements.
The attackers can go across this part as many times as they want to try and disguise their movements to defeat the defender. If an attacker scores in the goal, the next soccer player on the opposing side starts.
Back and Forth
This conditioning drill needs two balls and some training partners. Begin halfway between the goal-line and the middle spot, with one of your players positioned around ten yards behind the middle spot, a soccer ball on the middle part and the other in the center of the goal having a soccer ball.
The players should fall in a straight line. From the start position, begin sprinting to the center spot and pass the soccer ball to your training partner, sprint back again past your original position to the goal-line where the other partner must throw the soccer ball to you for a header, shortly before sprinting back the starting point.
Take your time to recover through swapping with one of the training partners, and taking up the task of throwing up or passing the soccer ball for a strong header. You can repeat this cycle until you each complete six separate runs.
Dribble and Run
In this drill, you begin on the touchline with a soccer ball at right your feet and get ready to run through the width of the soccer pitch.
Dribble the soccer ball as quickly as you can until you're parallel to the center spot, leave the soccer ball there, and run at a speed of 80 per cent to the opposition touchline, run back again to the soccer ball using the same pace and then dribble it back to the starting position as quickly as you can.
Take your rest. The rest period should be exactly the time it takes you to finish this cycle. Therefore, if it takes you 60 seconds to get there and come back, take a 60-second break and then repeat this routine six times
Conditioning plays an incredibly more significant role in soccer nowadays, so if you are planning to become a professional, you should start working on your endurance and fitness levels early. Unlike common belief, conditioning drills for soccer are not short-term, in that you cannot forget how to remain fit.
If you stay away from sports for some time and gain weight, or lose touch with your conditioning, you will not be able to run for long like before, and your muscles will be a bit weaker.
However, you won't have to begin from scratch again, because once you have trained with soccer conditioning drills before, it will be pretty easy to step up and also get to that fitness level again. Your players' fitness level will play a vital role in their chances of becoming a successful team.
Soccer coaches should use soccer conditioning exercises that keep all their players' fitness at a high level if they want to maximize their group's potential. To keep your team focused on the end of a tough game, they should be well conditioned.
These last few minutes usually decide on a competition where players can make silly mistakes or poor decisions due to fatigue. The soccer conditioning exercises discussed above include some soccer drills that specifically concentrate on fitness and some others that combine skill and conditioning to work efficiently.
If you would like to coach a fantastic team this season, then you should not overlook including these soccer conditioning drills into your training sessions.
Soccer shooting skills are essential for advancement in this beautiful game. Shooting is a core skill that every soccer player should endeavor to have.
Performing soccer shooting drills will enhance your ability to score from many different positions. In this article, we will look into some of the top soccer shooting drills.
Soccer Shooting Agility Drill
1v1 Diamond Shooting Drill
In this drill, focus is placed on passing and shooting techniques and finishes with a 1v1 on-goal shot. The players that fail to score become the goalkeeper and the game proceeds. This is a fun and very competitive drill.
Combination Soccer Shooting Drills
This drill trains the players for combination play techniques and building up for on-goal shots. Different combination ideas can be applied to make the training more challenging.
Combination Shooting with A Dummy Run
This is a soccer shooting drill that starts with a dummy run stepping over the ball, proceeds to a combination play and ends with a shot on goal. This exercise focuses on shooting and finishing within the 18.
Diagonal Shooting Drill
This drill is most appropriate pre-game and is excellent for warm-up.
This is a shooting drill that allows players to enhance the team’s shooting tactics. This exercise is done in a realistic training situation, and it aims at improving the team’s problem-solving skills in the full-sided game. It is most appropriate at the end of the training sessions.
We have discussed in detail some of the best soccer shooting drills that you can perform with your players. These drills will enhance your players’ ability to make amazing shots from various positions. The shooting drills are appropriate for a wide range of player age groups.
The way soccer players make passes in a match dictates a lot about the outcome of the game. Uncoordinated passes lead to messy movement of the ball and can create unworthy goal chances for the team’s opponents. However, the ability of players to make sharp and accurate passes gives them high chances of scoring.
Besides, this makes the games more interesting for soccer fans to watch. Below are 9 soccer passing drills that can improve the quality of passes in great measures.
The main purpose of this drill is to help the players with accurate heading skills and ball control during throw-ins. During the drill, the receiver has to return the ball using his or her forehead in a precise manner. The instructions are as shown below:
Shark In The Middle
Shark in the middle is one of the major soccer passing drills aimed at improving the concentration of the players when faced with a tough situation from the opposition. The drill is carried out as follows:
The Main Emphases Are
Several variations can be made to the drill. They include; enlarging the circle, adding a second shark, and using the right or left feet only.
Off limits is comprised in the group of soccer passing drills that require high accuracy in passing the ball. The purpose is to enhance speed and accuracy when players are making long passes. It involves the use of two players, ten cones and one ball. The steps below show how the drill is done.
One Touch Pairs Passing
This drill aims at improving the accuracy of the players when making one-touch passes. It’s one of the common soccer passing drills employed to sharpen the one-touch pass.
It involves two players passing the ball to each other at varying distances from each other. The players have to remain focused since they have to control the force they impact on the ball.
The coach can make variations accordingly. He can advise the players to use their weak feet only. In addition, the players can use two touch pass instead of one-touch pass.
Zig & Zag
Zig & Zag is one of the basic soccer passing drills. It equips beginner players with the right mindset when passing the ball to each other. In addition, it enhances the trapping and shooting skills of the players. The drill is performed as follows:
As the drill progresses, defenders may be added to add pressure to the players. In addition, the drill can be done in two directions simultaneously. This requires the use of two balls and participation of more players.
Guard the Castle Drill
Referring to this drill as one of the greatest and most involving soccer passing drills can’t be far from the truth. In addition, it’s more fun. A ball is placed on a cone at the center of a prescribed area.
This is known as the “castle”. Then a player is instructed to defend the castle to prevent other players from hitting it with a ball. The drill sharpens passing, accuracy and movements of the players. Below is the procedure of carrying out the drill.
This drill involves setting up a square on which three players are placed on each side. The offensive players have to pass the ball through the center of the grid where defenders try to intercept the ball.
It requires the player to make quick movements while at the same time improving their accuracy when passing the ball. Instructions are:
1 in 1 Out
Among the several soccer passing drills, 1 in 1 out greatly improves on turning when making passes. The players are arranged in four lines of the same length. This forms a perfect square.
One player is placed in the middle of the square. Players have to pass the ball to the middle player who turns 180 degrees and passes it to another player. Below is the set of instructions for the drill.
This drill involves making groups of 5 to 10 players and assigning each group a playing square. Each player is assigned a certain number. The players have to ensure that they pass the ball in respective numbers.
The drill helps to enhance awareness, communication among players and pass accuracy. The process of undertaking the drill as shown below:
Accurate, timely and sharp passes not only make the game more captivating, but also increases the chances of a team to win the game. Such passes also increase the team’s possession of the ball.
The soccer passing drills outlined above include the off limit, protect the castle, and numbering passes drill among others are great ways to sharpen focus, concentration, judgment, and vision of players when making passes.
Furthermore, they will help the players bring the ball under their control in a precise manner. Generally, the above soccer passing drills certainly improve the quality of passing.
What many of the best soccer players in the world have in common is expert level dribbling skills. Their mastery of this skill comes as a result of years of hard work, including plenty of training outside of team practices.
Excellent ball handlers must be able to keep the ball close and under control throughout any change of speed and direction.They must also be able to dribble with both feet and with all areas of the feet. In addition, a player’s ball handling skills must be applicable to real game scenarios.
This means the player needs to be able to maintain ball control in spite of an opponent’s best defensive efforts. To help you or your team develop better dribbling skills, here are seven of the most effective soccer dribbling drills:
This drill is great for warming up the feet and perfecting technique. All that is needed to do this drill is a soccer ball and a wall. To perform the drill, start by bouncing the ball off the wall and then passing it off the wall with the inside of the foot.
Players should try to keep the ball from hitting the ground for as many repetitions in a row as possible. Work on one foot for 60-90 seconds then switch the other foot.
Once the inside of both feet have been used, perform 60-90 seconds on each foot while using the top of your shoes or were your laces are.
This is a great drill players can do by themselves or in groups. The drill requires three cones on the ground forming a triangle and one soccer ball. Space the cones approximately two feet apart. Perform the drill by dribbling the ball around each cone using the different surfaces of the foot.
The confined space and short proximity between each cone forces players to use quick and deliberate touches to maintain control of the ball. Work through the cones 15-20 times. This is a great drill to start practice with or incorporate into a pre-game warmup routine.
1 on 1 Dribbling
This drill requires a partner, four cones, and one soccer ball. The four cones should be arranged in a box roughly five yards apart. Both players start within the cones, with one on offense and the other on defense.
The player on offense must dribble within the confines of the box while the defensive player attempts to steal the ball or kick the ball out of the box.
The presence of a defensive player makes this drill translate better to live game scenarios and the confined space forces offensive player to use skillful ball control to evade the defensive player.
The player on offense will stay on offense for 30-60 seconds before switching to defense. This drill can be made more challenging by making the box smaller.
This is a fun and competitive drill that works best in a team practice setting. In this drill, each player must control his or her own ball within a designated area.
The twist is that each player is also attempting to kick another’s ball out of the designated area. If a player’s ball is kicked out of bounds or if a player dribbles out of bounds, that player is out of the game.
As players lose out of the game, the designated area should get smaller. The last remaining player wins the drill. This game helps players develop their dribbling control, their field awareness and their ability to guard the ball from defenders.
This drill requires six cones of one color, six cones of another color, two soccer balls, and at least two players. For the purposes of this explanation, the different cones will be red and blue. To set up the drill, line up two parallel lines of six cones with eight yards between the lines.
Two of the same colored cones in a row creates a gate, which a player will try to dribble through as fast and controlled as much as possible. Line 1 should consist of two red cones in a row, two blue cones in a row, and two red cones in a row, in that order.
This creates a red gate, a blue gate, and another red gate. Line 2 should consist of two blue cones in a row, two red cones in a row, and two blue cones in a row, in that order. This creates a blue gate, a red gate, and then another blue gate. Player 1 will start in front of Line 1 and Player 2 will start in Line 2.
Player 1 must dribble through all of the red gates and Player 2 must dribble through all of the blue gates. For example, Player 1 must dribble through the first red gate, then cross over into Line 2 to go through the second red gate, then cross back to Line 1 to dribble through the last red gate.
Once a player gets through his or her last gate, the player must dribble back to the starting point as fast as possible. The first player to get back to the starting point wins the drill.
This drill is a fun and competitive way to help players work on their speed, ball control, and ball protection skills. Player 1 and Player 2 are moving at a similar pace, putting them at risk of colliding with the other player when they cross into the other's line.
The players must handle this with good ball control to avoid a collision, while maintaining their speed. This drill can be made more difficult by moving the cones in each line closer together or moving the lines closer together.
This drill works well in a team practice settings or individual training session. For a solo workout, all that is required is four cones and one soccer ball. Cones 1-4 should be set up in a line at least five yards apart.
To perform the drill, the player starts at cone 1, dribbles to cone 2, then dribbles back to cone 1. From there, the player dribbles to cone three and then dribbles back to cone one. The player repeats the same process dribbling to cone 4 and back.
Once the player has dribbled to cones 2, 3, and 4 and back, he or she has performed one repetition. The player should be dribbling and cutting as fast as possible while maintaining control over the ball.
The player should be allotted 60-90 seconds of rest between repetitions. This drill forces players to cut and change direction as efficiently as possible. Maintaining ball control through this change of direction is challenging, so this drill really helps develop ball control.
This drill also helps improve players’ stamina. The extended period of sprinting and changing direction mirrors game-like scenarios.
While these drills can be extremely helpful, one important step many players overlook is developing their speed, agility, and stamina. Without speed and agility, players will not be able to perform their ball handling skills at a tempo that will be helpful in games.
If players do not have the stamina to maintain their dribbling skills throughout the game, then the drills are useless. The point is, being faster, more agile and better conditioned helps players develop their dribbling skills just as much as soccer dribbling drills do.
Two ways players can get faster are by lifting weights and performing sprints. The stronger a player’s ankles, legs, and hips are, the more powerful they can be.
Greater power translates to faster speeds. Sprint workouts and interval workouts also enable players to improve their speed. Here are some weightlifting exercises that can improve speed:
Agility is developed through several of the listed cone workouts, as the cones require quick movements and changes of direction within small spaces. Another great way for players to work on their agility is through the use of an agility ladder. Here are some ladder drills than can improve agility:
One foot per box: In this drill, players will move down the ladder with one foot in each box.
Two feet per box: In this drill, players will move down the ladder touching both feet in each box.
The Cowboy: In this drill, players will touch their right foot outside of the right side of the box, then touch their left foot outside of the left side of the box, then touch their right foot inside the box, and then touch their left foot inside the box. Players will continue through each box with this pattern. Afterward, they will perform the drill starting with the left foot
Ins and Outs: In this drill, players will move down the ladder with an in, in, out, out pattern. Players will touch their right food inside the box, then their left foot inside the box, then the right foot on the outside of the right side of the box, and finally the left food on the outside of the left side of the box. Players will continue this pattern in every box down the ladder. Once they have completed this, they will perform the drill starting with the left foot.
Lateral: In this drill, players will start on the right side of the ladder, facing perpendicular to the ladder. Players will move through the boxes with lateral steps, touching both feet into each box. Once players have completed the right side, they will perform the same movement leading with the left foot.
If players get too tired to perform at full speed throughout the game, then none of their dribbling skills are of any use. To develop a player’s stamina, it is important that they go through drills, practices and conditioning workouts with maximum effort. Adequate stamina and game performance also relies on a player’s diet, hydration and proper rest.
Regardless of a player’s age or skill level, everyone has room to improve their soccer dribbling skills. Ball control is an essential part of the game, so it is important to constantly develop and maintain the skill. Great players have been able to set themselves apart from the mediocre by having excellent ball handling skills.
All coaches appreciate a player who can take care of the ball throughout the game. It is important to note, however, that soccer dribbling drills are not the only way to improve soccer dribbling.
Improving speed, agility and stamina allows players to apply their dribbling skills in live game situations. Players who are serious about taking their game to the next level must be willing to put in the work through soccer dribbling drills, speed and strength workouts, agility drills, and stamina maintenance.
Soccer is a game that requires one to be on point when it comes to their foot movement. Your field movements and your speed on the arena determines your ability to score and pass your opponents.
Well, if you are planning to venture into soccer as a career or just for fun, you can improve your soccer tactics by utilizing some footwork drills.
If you are still skeptical as to why you should invest in footwork to better your soccer moves, below are benefits that you reap for using footwork drills.
Enables you to have active movements: Generally, the feet play a huge role in getting your body to move around the ground. Therefore, the feet make the direct contact first with the field before moving your body to the expected directions. So, incorporating footwork in your soccer practice plays a significant role in helping you move in the right direction.
How? The footwork facilitates the feet to absorb the shock coming from the ground thus, enabling them to propel the rest of the body to the expected directions.
Hence, this in return helps the soccer player to move and put the ball in the right place and right time too. Note that the footwork does not only use the feet when practicing as the hips are included to facilitate the movements.
The ability to balance: You need to have a right balance at the center of gravity to be able to move the soccer ball in the right direction, and footwork drill will help you achieve just that.
It is crucial to note that playing soccer is not the same as playing other sports. You need to keep on changing the directions of your movements and motions where sometimes you may be expected to move at a rapid rate, while in others you need to slow down maybe when passing the ball.
To be able to do all these activities on the field, you need to have excellent body balance all through. Learn footwork which facilitates a balance of your entire body to improve your movements.
Prevent injuries: Note that you are not guaranteed to evade getting into accidents while on the field, but footwork drills can help you prevent extreme or many injuries.
With the ability to move on the right directions and employ balance while running around will help one to avoid getting into accidents. The critical point is to ensure that you get the proper footwork since not all are reliable. I believe the above points are reasons enough as to why you should consider practicing some footwork drills.
There are various footwork drills, and they can be grouped in multiple categories based on how they aid the soccer player to up their soccer game. The following are the top best soccer footwork drills based on different types.
Soccer is one of the games or sports which you have to play while the opponents are quite close to you. Therefore, you have to make sure to use tactics and be creative to be able to maneuver around the opponents, and this is the right drill to help you.
The drill aims at supporting the player to utilize various parts of the feet to move the ball around the field when put in a tight spot.
If you need a footwork drill that will enable you to keep the soccer ball close to your feet and away from the defender, then this is the right drill to use. You can used it to trap the ball using both the inside and outside of the foot while keeping it away from the defender.
This drill is also referred to as wall drill, and it is aimed at helping the soccer player learn how to control the ball when received from a teammate. This is the reason it is referred to as partner drill.
Aside from learning how to control and pass the ball from a teammate, the partner drill also helps one to learn how to manage the ball and even move it using both feet which are highly needed in the field considering you will be getting hits from different sides while playing.
If you have no idea of how to dribble around a tight spot or in an area that different opponents surround you, this footwork will guide you. It will help you move in an uncomfortable place and avoid defenders while on the move.
This is one of the most recommended footwork drills that works magic in improving a soccer player’s dribbling moves.
Weave In & Out
When playing the soccer game, there is no time to look back to see the number of defenders behind you or even how close they are, and therefore, this drill will help you maintain a right balance and learn how to move forward when playing soccer.
Follow The Leader
This is a drill that helps you or instead guides you on how to maintain close contact with your teammate in the game. It is essential to learn how to move together in the field as it makes it easy to pass the ball from one player to the other. It also trains the players on how to move closer to the defending team while trying to snatch the ball from them.
Keep in mind that soccer players do not move on a straight motion as they try to change directions to evade the defenders. So, as a player, you need to be able to walk firmly with a defender without losing your balance in case they move in a different direction.
How well do you know the areas that you are supposed to cross on the football field and the areas that you should not? Well, the box drill is designed to aid you in maneuvering to different positions in the field.
Mini-shuttle drill is focused on improving one’s speed while running around the field with a ball.
This is a drill which was created to help the soccer players have a stable form while moving in different directions in the field. Note that this includes when running in a reverse way.
This drill is developed to enable the soccer player to improve on their feet speed. You can opt to practice the training with a ball or without depending on what your coach advises you.
Soccer footwork drills are a must have for those who want to perfect their soccer moves around the field. The above-discussed exercises fit different players based on their experiences and their positions on the field. Your coach can guide you on the best drills that will suit your position or even based on your experience.
Indoor Drills & Practices Sessions
Competition is fierce for anyone who needs to be a successful soccer player and for you to succeed and become one of the best players you will have to put a 100% effort at practicing, learning and developing new soccer drills that will help in raising you to the top. The best soccer player is the one who possesses optimum control of the ball.
Various indoors soccer drills help in sharpening up players with the ability to perform within a small area and have good control over the ball. Furthermore, these skills are also ideal for players when there is inclement weather, and it forces them to perform indoors.
This article features some of the soccer drills that will help players with all the fundamentals they require indoor. These drills are designed to improve players passing skills, coordination improve teamwork, attacking and receiving the ball as well. Some of the top indoor soccer drills include.
Three Player Passing Combinations
For every three players in the team, you can create a rectangular playing space and place one player on the opposite of the rectangle then the third player will be positioned in the middle. After creating the playing area, a player who is at the corner will start the ball and passes it to the middle player.
While the ball is in motion, the first player will have to move with the ball to a different corner and receive it from the player at the middle from his or her new corner. The ball will then go back to the player in the middle who will pass it to the third player.
The basic idea of this soccer drill is to help in keeping two players at the corners of the rectangle moving after making each pass. You can as well stipulate your rules, for instance, making your players use their other foot. Always consider rotating the player who is placed at the center of the rectangle.
Ten yards by 10 yards you can create a square playing area for a group of six players. The team will be made up of three defenders out of the six players while the remaining three will be attackers.
Playing should start at the edge of the playing area whereby the defender will pass the ball to the attacker. Afterward, the attacker will have to move with the ball within the square while passing to each other with only one pass and the speed and strength of the passes should vary while playing.
A defender must try to win by possessing the ball, and once he or she has it, the next defender will try to gain possession of the ball in the same way. When all the defenders are through with the task, they will now assume the attacker's role and do it again.
Two Touch Passing
By splitting your team to a group of nine, you can have three teams made up of three players. You will then give each side a colored bib. The primary objective of this drill is to improve the players passing skills whereby two players will have to move the ball to one another without being intercepted by the third player.
Sprint and Dribble
In the spring and dribble drill, you will have to split your group into two different teams then you will divide your indoor pitch into two halves and then create a five-meter end-zone by every goal. After doing this, you will let each side take half of the pitch and then place ten or more balls at the pitch center.
Once you whistle, the players must sprint to go and get a ball then dribble it back to their end-zone without bumping into another player or even letting their ball to stray for more than 12 inches from their feet. For a team to win, they will require to have more balls at their end zone.
Hit the Cone
You will have to split your group into two teams then five meters from the center line you should line up each, and they should be facing each other. The distance between each player should be two feet, and they should have their ball. You will then place a cone at the line center directly between every set of two opponent players.
Once the whistle is blown, every player must pass the ball from a still position and then try to knock down their cone. It means that two players who are opponents will try to knock down the same cone simultaneously.
For a team to win, they will have to knock down most of the cones. Adopting this drill is easy, and it will help in improving their cardiovascular fitness.
Two-line Passing Drill
The two-line passing drill focuses on enhancing the ability of a player to pass in the first-time. You will place two cones with a distance of 10 yards between them, then the first half of the team will stand on one side of the cone then the other team will stand behind the second cone.
Players on one side of the cone will have to pace the ball to a player on the other side of the cone in a chronological sequence. Also, there is no player allowed to touch the ball more than once, and if they fail to do so, they will have to run to a designated point and join the end of a line that is beyond the second cone.
This soccer drill is essential in improving players communication and teamwork as well. Create a circle that is made up of 5 people standing at an equal distance, and 2-3 players will be standing behind the five players.
When a player passes the ball, he or she will be required to run outside the circle and stand behind a line to where he or she had passed the ball, and every player in training should follow this pattern. Thus, every player will be initiating and tracking all the passes they have made.
Give & Go
This drill helps in improving the shooting ability of a player and it is an excellent drill that you can apply in indoor soccer. This drill features two players whereby the first player passes the ball to the second player and runs forward immediately.
In the meantime, the second player will only take a single shot and place the ball on the path of the first player. Consequently, the first player will then shoot for the goal without breaking the stride. This move is mainly observed in many soccer matches.
Figure Eight Dribbling
It is a simple drill, and it requires two cones and a ball plus there needs to be enough space between the two cones which create a figure eight path. Usually, the distance of 4 to 5 yards works perfectly.
In intervals of 60 seconds, dribble the ball between the cones in the figure eight path. Furthermore, make sure your knee is bent, and you are leaning your body appropriately as you dribble.
Consequently, ensure that your turns are short and fast. You can as well make the drill more complicated by trying new things like using the inside of your feet only in dribbling or you can as well use the outside.
Furthermore, you can use the left or right feet to work and put your head upright. It is among the drills that help in sharpening and improving your dribbling skills as well as help you come up with new skills quickly.
There are a lot of soccer drills available that you can devise yourself to adopt some amazing soccer skills. Nonetheless, these drills will help players to build up their stamina regularly irrespective of their age. Furthermore, these drills are known to assist in improving communication, teamwork, agility and even sharpens your techniques.
Through practicing these drills player will benefits in various ways including increasing the aerobic capacity, lower the body fats and improve muscle tone, improve cardiovascular health, building flexibility and endurance as well as strengthens the bones.
You should never let bad weather affects the preparation of your team before a match. By using these indoor drills it will help in improving your players' activities such as fast pace with minimal stoppage and even develop small groups where they will learn more to defend, attack and transition as well.
Since the ball is in constant play in indoors drill, the stoppage time is minimized unlike outdoor training and this continuous play will help in improving fitness level while still having fun. Indoor drills help in sharpening players control as well their ability in performing within a small playing area.
Nonetheless, indoors soccer drills are suitable for use during inclement weather condition whether it is high temperature, snowing or rainfall that will force the players to train indoors.
Due to few players on the field, focus improves on an individual; therefore, basic skills such as dribbling, passing, controlling, first touch and even defending become vital in indoor soccer and this will help in boosting the players' performance.
Defenders are usually the backbone of every soccer team because they possess the grit required to do anything to stop the opponents from scoring. They typically hang back and protect the goalie from any breakaways and also serve as options for the midfielders during the defensive half.
You may have the best strikers in your team, but if you cannot stop the other team from scoring, you are going to lose. Defenders need determination and mental toughness to succeed.
As a soccer coach, you should start using effective and challenging soccer defense drills in your training sessions if you want to develop an incredibly strong defensive team. A strong defensive soccer team is significant if you are aiming for your players and team to have long-term or any short-term success. Here are some of the popular soccer defense drills to help your team succeed in soccer.
No Turn 1-on-1
In this drill, one defender tries to keep only one attacker from passing them and scoring a goal.
It develops the ability of a defender to keep an attacker from the other team from turning and scoring. Defenders enhance their footwork, strength, and positioning. An attacker becomes pretty comfortable with his back to goal and his ability to turn and also shoot.
Some two defenders will pass the soccer ball out to some two attackers and try to stop them from scoring. In this case, one defender will run directly to one of the attackers getting the pass as the other defender supports and gets ready to pressure the other attacker if the soccer ball is passed.
The purpose of this drill is to develop some individual defending skills and defensive supporting positioning as well. Defenders improve their timing, defensive angles, and footwork. Attackers improve their 1-on-1 dribbling, finishing, and decision-making.
Channel the Attacker
In this drill, one player will defend one attacker who tries to dribble via one of the three gates placed behind the defender and beat the defender.
Every gate is worth specified points, and the gate nearest the attacker is worth the least points. Defenders will try to stop the attacker from drooling through the gates carrying the most points or win the ball.
Channel, the attacker, is a competitive 1-on-1 routine that focuses primarily on individual defending, defensive footwork, and closing down speed. The attackers increase their ability to outdo a defending player on the dribble.
Defensive Recovery Runs
In Defensive recovery runs, one defending player competes against an attacker to make a recovery run towards their set goal with an attacking player trying to beat them to the soccer ball and score. The defenders must prevent the attacking player from scoring a goal, or clear the ball.
Defenders engage in a game-like situation every time the opposing group kicks a long soccer ball, to their striker, over their heads for an opportunity on goal.
The purpose of this drill is to help the defenders boost their footwork, recovery run speed, and readiness while preventing the attacking player from a clear opportunity on goal. Attackers work on their finishing, speed and their ability to evade a defending player.
Change sides: When you are halfway through the defensive recovery runs drill, switch sides so that players can work on the other side of the training field.
One attacking player attempts to drool across the penalty box top with one defending player between them and also the goal.
The defender attempts to block the shot attempt of the attacker, or intercept the ball. The attacking player is free to adjust the direction and pace along the line of the penalty box.
This drill develops defensive agility, timing, and footwork when an attacking player is cutting in to create a better chance of scoring. Defenders enhance their ability to remain between the goal and the attacker to prevent any goal scoring attempts. Attacking players improve their ability to beat defenders on their inside shoulder to score.
Change field sides – You can switch sides so that the players can work on scoring and defending from both sides.
Good defending is the backbone of every soccer team that wins most of its games. The defense will certainly take pressure off the opposition having to score and also tends to make it easy to win if a soccer team isn't primarily scoring goals to get closer to the opponent. It‘s also the role of the coach to build a level of pride in his team to enjoy locking out the other team.
The soccer defensive drills listed above will help all players on your team to learn how to appropriately defend including the forwards and midfielders and not only defenders exclusively.
Players that defend well can contribute a great deal to a soccer team, and you might even realize that your team is playing soccer more effectively compared to the past because of all of your dedicated effort and time to master these soccer defensive drills.
A soccer goalkeeper is a unique, tough and vital position in this beautiful game. For success in soccer, the goalkeeper needs to have the essential skills to play the position effectively.
This is why coaches incorporate soccer goalkeeper drills into the training sessions – to enhance the player’s goalkeeping skills. For beginner teams, these soccer goalkeeper drills can be instrumental in identifying who among the players is best suited for the goalkeeper position.
This post outlines some of the most effective soccer goalkeeper drills your team can implement. It is important to note that each drill focuses on a different skill or set of skills. Let’s go into the details.
This drill is meant to enhance the goalkeeper’s footwork and agility skills. It focuses on improving the goalkeeper's catching ability.
How It works
In this drill, the goalkeeper works through multiple cones and then tries to save balls that are shot from short distances.
The coach can instruct the servers to pass the ball on the ground, instead of throwing, and the goalkeepers to pass the ball back by the feet in one-touch. Servers can also toss the soccer ball high so that the goalkeeper has to jump in an attempt to catch the ball. Alternatively, servers can make the goalkeepers dive for the ball by tossing or passing it wide outside the mannequins
Deflect And Dive
This soccer goalkeeper drill focuses on improving the goalkeeper's ability to block shots by moving swiftly and with agility across the goal.
How It works
The goalkeeper tries to block a low shot at one of the goalposts and then quickly gets up and sprints across the goal in an attempt to block a high ball at the other goalpost.
Instead of throwing or making light passes, the coach can instruct the servers to move farther away from the goal and make heavy on-goal shots.
This soccer goalkeeper drill works on developing various goalkeeping skills including footwork, reflexes, and agility. Goalkeepers also train for distribution and confidence.
How it works
This drill involves goalkeepers competing against each other at high speeds while attempting to score at each other’s goals. Every goalkeeper is allowed to throw, kick, or drop kick the soccer ball towards the other goalkeeper with the aim of scoring. The other goalkeeper tries to block the ball.
For younger or less experienced goalkeepers, the coach can form a 2v2 so that two goalkeepers start at each goal. The coach can also change scoring techniques to make each round different. For instance, the coach can allow only kicks from the ground or throws only.
This drill trains goalkeepers for better positioning, fast decision making and shot stopping.
How It works
The goalkeeper attempts to save a shot from two attackers that move behind mannequin defenders ready to receive the ball from the passing player and attempt to score. The goalkeeper doesn’t know which of the two attacking players will receive the ball, and must, therefore, react instantaneously and try a save the ball once the on-goal shot is made.
The coach can create more attacking positions to accommodate more attackers. This will enhance the goalkeepers' skills by making them react to more attacking positions.
The coach can also allow the starting player to take a long-range on-goal shot instead of making a through pass to the other attackers. This will make the goalkeeper stay more alert and in position for any kind of shot.
Goalkeeper skills are vital for the success of any soccer team. The soccer drills outlined above will help improve your players’ goalkeeping skills. Since every goalkeeping drill has a different setup and aims at enhancing different skills, it is important for coaches to implement the drills correctly and for the right expected results.
Training Equipment & Gears
Soccer is a beautiful and thrilling game, but the skills needed for success do not come easy. It takes intense training to become a proficient soccer player. Your workouts should be preceded by an effective warm-up session to get you going. You also need to exercise for improved speeds, especially short sprints.
Attaining full-body strength is instrumental in this game, and you should incorporate a few full-body workouts in your program. Success in soccer also needs balance training. You can acquire different ball skills by performing different soccer drills and playing soccer regularly.
Things You'll Need
Last update on 2023-01-29 / This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API