The impact of soccer training drills on player’s skills is well documented. These exercises have helped turn many players from being inexperienced amateurs to being some of the best professional soccer stars.
Any coach that wants to produce a top-notch soccer team has to use soccer training drills to impact his players with the necessary skills.
These exercises create a fun and competitive environment that allow coaches to prepare the players for the real matches. Proper performance of soccer training drills is crucial for success.
Appropriate planning of the drills ensures that the players reap maximum benefits for their efforts. When performed properly, soccer drills contribute a lot to the skill development of the participants.
The exercises excite, challenge and encourage players to be the best in this beautiful game. It is through the repetition of these soccer drills that the players improve their soccer skills.
Different soccer training drills perform, develop, perfect and maintain different soccer skills, techniques and tactics.
There are soccer drills that improve dribbling, shooting, passing or trapping skills. Some other soccer training skills are comprehensive, and they work on a set of skills.
Coaches should ensure that the practice sessions incorporate soccer drills that teach and develop vital soccer skills. Practice sessions should also encourage and promote teamwork among teammates.
Soccer training drills should be selected based on the players’ capabilities and the team’s goals. The ability to choose drills appropriately will determine how good the training outcome will be.
Plausibly planning your soccer practice sessions goes a long way in increasing the odds of success for your team. In this article, we will look at some of the best soccer training drills that players can engage in.
Hot-box Passing and Receiving Drill
This drill trains players on individual and small group passing and receiving skills.
For this drill, create a 3 by 3 yards box using cones and then place two cones about 5-7 yards on either side of the box. One player starts in the box while two other players start at the two cones outside of the box.
One of the players outside of the box passes to the player inside the box, who at the time makes a check run to the ball.
The working player (player that started at the box) then receives the pass, goes around one of the cones while dribbling and back into the middle of the box.
The working player then makes a pass between two of the cones to the player on the opposite side of the box. The working player follows the ball with a check run outside of the box.
The side player then returns the ball to the working player, who dribbles around a different cone and returns to the middle of the box.
They then pass to the first player and the pattern repeats. Players switch every one minute so that they can train at full pace.
The coach can make this drill more challenging by tightening the grid and limiting the number of touches to receive and turn. Making the area larger conversely makes the exercise easier.
3v3 Plus 3
This drill focuses on passing, receiving, movement and general ball possession.
The setup for the drill involves creating a 20 by 20-yard grid and splitting the players into three teams of 3 each. Each team should have a different color of kit.
One of the teams becomes the defending team. The other two teams aim at keeping ball possession among themselves.
If the defending team acquires ball possession the team that made a mistake becomes the defending team, and the former defenders join the other team in maintaining possession.
If the ball is played out of the grid, that is considered as loss of possession, and the group that made a mistake becomes the defense team.
The coach can instruct young or inexperienced players to rotate the defenders every 3 minutes rather than waiting for loss of possession.
The coach can also adjust the size of the grid to make the drill more or less challenging. They could also restrict the number of touches per player.
Catch Me If you Can
This fun and competitive drill focuses on dribbling with speed.
The setup for this drill is a 10 by 10-yard grid. Two players start on two diagonal corners of the grid, each with a ball.
When the coach blows the whistle, each player dribbles around the outside of the box with the aim of catching the other player.
When the coach says ‘STOP’ the players must immediately stop the ball. When the coach says ‘TURN’ the players should switch the dribbling direction.
The coach can also give commands on the use of the left or right feet, or the use of the bottom of the foot.
Three Person Passing Combination
This drill involves three players at a time and aims at improving skills such as perfect passing, combination play, and movement off the ball. This drill also helps improve the fitness levels of the players.
The setup is a 10 by 20-yard grid with two players starting on the corner cone opposite each other. One of the players starts at the center of the grid.
One of the corner players passes to the central player. The corner player then moves to the other cone to his side and receives the ball back from the central player.
After returning the ball to the corner player, the central player moves to the cone where the corner player originally started.
Player 1 (the player who made the first pass) then passes to player 3 (the other player that starts at the other corner) and moves to the center of the grid thereby becoming the new central player.
Player 3 then passes to the central player who returns the ball to player 3 at the cone that is 10 yards away.
The central player then takes position where player 3 started while player 3 passes to their starting position and moves to become the central player. The pattern is repeated.
The coach can instruct the players to switch directions so that they become comfortable playing from different angles.
Circle Passing Overlap Combination
This soccer drill focuses on passing, combination play, playing with speed and overlapping. It is a fantastic warm-up drill that combines passing practice and overlapping.
For this drill, players form a circle while standing 5-7 yards from each other. Two players start at the center of the circle, each with a soccer ball.
The two central players begin this exercise at the same time by making passes to outside players standing on the opposite sides of the circle.
The outside player that receives the ball passes to a player adjacent to them on their right or left. The central players are required to maintain their central position.
When the outside player passes to an adjacent player, they immediately run to overlap the player they have passed to.
The player being overlapped swiftly passes to the central player, who then passes to the space where the overlapping player is headed.
The overlapping player then switches roles with the central player, and the exercise continues. This drill requires players to play with their heads up for proper coordination.
The Numbers Game
This is a 1v1 situational drill that is ideal for younger players. It is an all-encompassing drill focusing on vital skills such as dribbling, shooting, shielding, turning and beating an opponent.
The setup for this exercise is a field measuring 15 by 20 yards with two small goals on each end. The coach divides the players into two teams, and a number is assigned to each player in each team.
For instance, numbers 1 through 6, if you have six players in each team. The two sides should wear different colors.
The game starts with the coach playing a ball into the field and then calling out a number. The two players assigned to that number sprint into the field, try to establish possession and score a goal.
The drill continues until one of the players scores a goal, or the soccer ball goes out of the designated field.
The coach can have more than 1v1 competitions happening at the same time. In this drill, the coach can call two or more numbers thereby creating a 2v2 or a 3v3 competition.
2v2 Quick Attacking Soccer Drill
This soccer drill works on great attacking and defending skills. It is a fast-paced and dynamic drill, and younger players enjoy this game a lot.
The setup involves creating a 25 by 40-yard grid. That grid size is definitely large for a 2v2 competition, but the aim is to create more breakaway situations that encourage the players to attack while heading towards the goal.
A small goal is placed on each end line. The coach splits the players into two equal groups. It is recommended that the groups wear different colors.
The coach then assigns each player a partner from their team, and they will play as teammates until the drill ends.
Each team is also assigned a goal to defend. While two players from each team set out for a 2v2 competition, the other players line up across their end line with a number of soccer balls.
If a team of 2 gets scored on, they leave the field, and two new team members get in and continue the game against the scoring team.
The scoring team does not leave the field until they get scored on. Players only switch when their group gets scored on. Should the ball leave the designated area, the game restarts by a teammate from the end line throwing in another soccer ball.
The first team to score 20 wins. The coach can modify the size of the grid and create 3v3 or 4v4 competitions.
Quick transition to defense after scoring is fundamental in this drill. Fast attack and playing with speed are also crucial skills for success in this drill.
Triangle Goal Game
This exercise works on a wide array of soccer skills including passing, moving, and finishing. The players work together trying to outdo the defender and score.
This soccer training drill is played on a 35 by 35-yard grid, but the dimensions can be adjusted appropriately based on the age and skill level of the participants.
At the central area of the grid, create a triangle, with flags, measuring approximately 5 yards on each side.
One player starts as a goalkeeper inside the triangle. Divide the players into two equal groups. A 4v4 or 5v5 is most suitable.
The coach then instructs the players to try and score at the three-sided goal, while the goalkeeper defends all the three sides of the goal.
If the goalkeeper makes a save, he/she kicks/throws the ball into open space away from the players. A goal only counts if the ball crosses through the goal at a height that is no higher than the height of the flags.
The coach can introduce variations such as only allowing a shot on goal after a certain number of passes. Players can also be instructed to play in 1 or 2 touches.
As we have outlined above, different soccer training drills address different skills. The setups and instructions for each soccer drill should be adhered to for maximum effectiveness.
It is up to the coach to ensure that they select the most appropriate drills for what they want their teams to achieve.
It is therefore essential to first define what they want to accomplish before picking any of the soccer training drills.
We have also mentioned that soccer practice sessions need to be well planned in order to achieve the desired results.
A poorly structured practice session will only leave the players tired with little to show for it.
The soccer drills discussed in this guide will help coaches train their players in the core skills of this beautiful game. We wish you all the best in your training.