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Soccer Drills for Beginners

When you are teaching soccer to beginners, you need to expand your players skill set by exposing them to basic defensive and offensive drills

It is best that you focus on the very basic techniques, such as the right form of dribbling and kicking, rather than starting with more advanced concepts. 

Teaching your students dribbling, kicking, passing and defensive drills will prepare them for more advanced training. Best of all, everyone will have fun in the process. 

Soccer Drills for Beginners: Dribbling

Dribbling the ball essentially means using your feet to move the ball where you need to around the field. It's an essential skill in soccer, and absolutely critical for learning how to keep and move the ball. 

You will want to begin with basic dribbling, which will require the player to jog slowly while tapping the ball with their foot. 

Begin by lining the players up and position them in a circle while dribbling around the field. You will need to concentrate on teaching them to kick in only tiny amounts when they are running while keeping the ball close to them. 

As their skills become more advanced, teach the players to speed up and then slow down to keep off defenders. 

Learning to Dribble Using Speed Under Pressure

In this exercise, you will teach your players to quickly run while being pursued by a defender and yet still maintaining close possession and control of the ball. 

This will help players learn how to keep the ball within a proper distance while playing, use both the inside and outside of their feet, keep a defender at bay while maintaining control of the ball and learn to take small and quick steps. 

Eventually this exercise will also help players become more confident with dribbling while keeping their heads up. 

In order to practice this, you need to have a series of ten-yard-long spaces that have one ball and two players. 

Have the first player kick the ball in front of them and chase after it. The goal is for the player to keep the ball under their control and reach the opposite end before the second player can pass them. Once player one touches the ball, player two can start to give chase. 

Once this is mastered, extend the space to twenty yards. Now have player one pass to player two while making an overlapping run behind him. 

Now the goal of player one is to reach the opposite end before player two dribbles there. 

Soccer Drills for Beginners: Kicking

One of the first lessons players need to learn is that soccer balls aren't meant to be kicked with the toe. 

For the best control and most powerful kick, the players need to use the part of their feet that is covered by lace on their shoes. 

One good way to practice this is by having the players sit on the grass and remove their equipment (shin guards, socks and shoes). 

Have them hold the ball with their hands and then point their toes in order to kick the ball straight into the air. 

This is excellent practice to learn where the ball should be contacting their feet. 

Once the player can hit the ball at least twice in the air with their bare foot, have the player stand up and get in line and allow them to kick towards the goal. 

This will allow them to practice both the accuracy and power needed to make goals. 

Teach Players To Score With Both Of Their Feet

This simple practice can help players learn to become great strikers with both of their feet. 

This will also teach your players to use their weaker foot when trying to make a goal instead of twisting themselves into weird positions in order to score. 

Learning to control the ball and pass it with both of their feet will give your players more options on the field and make them less predictable to compete against. 

When mastered, this exercise will give your players more control instantly, improve their familiarity with the touch of the ball, help them pass accurately, and with the first receiving touch get the ball ready and set for a pass. 

Players will want to stay balanced and light on their toes while keeping their eyes on the ball. 

Teach players to use the inside of their foot when they want to pass and receive. 

For passing, players will want to keep the foot they are not kicking with alongside the ball, pass their foot at a right angle to the ball, and finally follow through the ball's horizontal mid-line. 

For receiving, teach players to cushion the ball on impact while out of their feet in order to make the angle to pass. 

Position your players so they are standing a few yards apart while opposite each other. Everyone should have a ball at their right foot while passing the ball to the other player's left. 

Continue this drill by having the ball they receive (which should be at their left foot) to their right. 

Once the players get comfortable with this exercise, get them to practice faster and only use two touches when receiving the ball. 

One touch is to control the ball, the other to pass it. Repeat in the opposite direction, except now both players are going to start with their left foot. For best results, have players rotate with new partners. 

Soccer Drills for Beginners: Passing

Keeping possession is essential to winning because the teams who pass the best dictate play and score the most goals while conserving their energy. It is all about vision, technique and judgment. 

Drills enable the beginning players to get the ball to their teammates without losing possession of the ball. 

First pair your players and give each pair one ball on the field. Send them down the field while practicing passing to each other. 

Once they are midfield, send down the next pair. Continue until everyone is at the opposite end. 

As players become more advanced, send the pairs down while following the first pair, essentially playing follow the leader. 

Passing Under Pressure

Create a circle by setting up cones around ten meters in diameter in order to use the center. 

Have one player stand in the center of the circle and have the rest of your players spread around the edge in an equal proportion. 

Have the center player receive a ball from a player on the edge. Make sure the player controls it before having them turn and pass it to another player. 

Once the ball is out, have another ball passed to them by another player on the edge. Once this ball is played, send in the first one. 

This will make the player in the middle run quickly forwards and backwards to send passes to everyone else. Repeat until a minute has passed, and then change players. 

Emphasize the importance of accurate and crisp passing. Ensure that the central player keeps their head up and focuses on the target. 

Soccer Drills for Beginners: Defensive Drills

Defense is the most important way to keep the other team from scoring. A classic drill is the old game keepaway. Keep it simple, but make sure everyone has a turn. 

To play, mark out one player for whom the rest have to keep the ball away from. 

Have everyone stand in a circle, and then have each player pass the ball while trying to keep the ball away from the marked player. 

If your group is too large, divide it into smaller groups so that everyone has the chance to have the ball kept away from them. 

As confidence and mastery grows, divide the group into two and practice keeping the ball away from the opposite side, just like a real game. 

2 On 2 Defense Drill

In this exercise, there are two defenders and two attackers. The two defenders will pass the ball to the two attackers and try to stop them from scoring a goal. 

One defender will run directly to the attacker who is receiving the ball while the second defender is supporting them and ready to apply pressure to the second attacker in case the ball gets passed. 

This drill will help develop players individual defending skills as well as practice defensive supportive positioning. 

The defenders get the chance to improve timing and footwork as well as their defensive angles. Attackers get to practice one on one dribbling, finishing and decision making. 

To practice, set up two goalposts and goalkeepers. Position two cones ten to fifteen yards beyond the penalty area. 

The cones need to line up with the goalposts because these will be the offensive cones. Then set up two cones two to three yards beyond each goalpost at the end line, and these will act as the defensive cones. 

Divide the players evenly between all the cones and create lines behind every cone. All soccer balls need to be divided between the defensive lines at the end lines. 

Have the first players in the defensive lines cooperate. One of them will start with the ball in front of them. The first players playing offense cooperate as well. 

You will need to decide on the amount of time and number of rounds played. Two six to eight-minute rounds are suggested. 

To begin, the defender with the ball at their feet passes the ball to an attacker. Then, the defenders run towards the attackers, and the defender that is closest to the player receiving the pass needs to apply more pressure than his partner. 

The attackers will then try to dribble and pass around the defenders to try and make a goal. 

The defender who is not applying the most pressure to the player with the ball is called the supporting defender and needs to move into a position just off the shoulder of the main defender. 

This player needs to be in between to help the main defender just in case they get beat as well as the second attacker to prevent a pass being made to them. 

The supporting defender will turn into the main defender and it will be their turn to apply pressure in case the second attacker gets the ball. 

The main defender will then fall into the supporting role. The turn will be over once the attackers score or the defenders block the shot or win the ball. 

The next four players then begin their turn after the field is cleared. Players return to the back of their lines after they are done. 

After the end of the round, switch lines so that the defenders become attackers and vice versa. 

Teach the defenders to stop the attackers as quick as they can, but to be balanced so that the opposition doesn't just push themselves and the ball past them. 

Attackers must be constantly moving their feet and defenders have to shorten their steps when they are close. 

Encourage and give hints to the players while the drill is going on. Teach defenders to practice using their weaker foot and to move the attackers away from the goalpost. Remind the players to defend sideways with their bodies at a 45-degree angle. 

Defenders need to get close enough to attackers to force them to put their heads down. Make sure that all players are properly equipped for all drills and practices. Every player at least needs athletic shoes and shin guards. 

Aim for every player to enjoy themselves while gaining mastery of the game. Ensure that every player gets a turn. Most importantly, plan your training sessions well. The aim should be progression of each player's skills, so stretch each technique to make it a little harder until mastery is achieved. 

Final Thoughts

Good soccer drills for beginners are fun, move quickly, and keep everyone on their toes. Offer lots of praise and lead by example, and you will see your players learning and growing, all while having a great time. 

Follow these drills, and your players will be working their way up in no time. 

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About the author

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. :)

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