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.

Proper Equipment Is Important

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.

Warm up

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.

Knee Ups

knees up exercise

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

How to Get Fit For Soccer

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.

  • Warm up by jogging for 10 minutes.
  • Make a 30-second sprint.
  • Jog for 1 minute (jogging is your resting period).
  • Alternate the sprinting and the jogging nine more rounds.
  • Cool down by jogging for 5 minutes.

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.

Endurance Activities

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

  • Agility Drills 

  • Functional Training Drills

  •  Conditioning Drills

  • Shooting Drills

  • Passing Drills

  • Dribbling Drills

  •  Footwork Drills

  • Indoor Drills

  • Defensive Drills

  • Goalkeeper Drills

Warm Up 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.


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Final Thoughts

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.

Last update on 2023-09-29 / This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Lazy Legs

"I learned all about life with a ball at my feet." Soccer allows me to push the limits of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train, I play, and I repeat every single day. I hope you like my site. Feel free to say hey. I don't bite. :)