The best soccer training drills for kids & adults (70+ drills)

Contents

Soccer coaching isn’t always the easiest of tasks, and if you’ve just taken on your first coaching assignment then you may be struggling to come up with new training ideas, or maybe you’re looking for a training method that can hone a skill your side is currently lacking.

In order to help you in your coaching tasks we’ve come up with a list of 70+ soccer drills that will hopefully help you to become an A+ coach and get your side firing on all cylinders.

We’ve divided the drills into sections, the first three sections deal with age specific drills then we provide drills for the four main areas of a soccer team, namely the goalkeeper, the defense, the midfield and the attack.

It isn’t always easy to describe a soccer drill using words but we’ve tried to make everything as clear and as easy to understand as possible. We’d love to know what you think of our drills, so if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments at the bottom.

Drills that can be used for under 8s

These drills have all been designed with fun in mind so they would be ideal for use with younger players, but they could all also easily be used for older players.

Goalkeeping drills

Zig-Zag-Catch

Target Area: Footwork/Ball handling
Description:This drill is goalkeeper specific designed for at least two goal keepers.

  • Set up 3 cones in a straight line, each one step apart, then a ~3m gap followed by another 3 cones each one step apart.
  • To start this drill have keeper (1) have a ball in his/her hands and stand at one end of the 3m gap, with the three cones behind him/her; Have keeper (2) stand behind the opposite three cones.
  • Keeper (2) will weave through the three cones and once at the end of the 3 cones keeper (1) will kick a ball the length of the gap into his/her hands.
  • After kicking the ball the keeper (1) will jog backwards to the start of the three cones, the drill then repeats

Coaching Tips:Once they get comfortable with this you can add more cones to weave through, have them start in press up position or have them leap the cones. It’s important to keep the drill fresh and exciting so don’t be afraid to get creative!

Head High Shuffle

Target Area: Hand positioning/Footwork
Description:This drill is goalkeeper specific and designed for at least two goal keepers.
children train for indoor soccer

  • Set up two cones about the same length as the goal keepers wingspan, this acts as a goal line.
  • Have one keeper on the make shift goal line and one standing 1m off the goal line.
  • The keeper who is off the goal line will have a ball in each hand
  • To start this drill the keeper off the goal line will raise out a hand (containing a ball) sideways, the keeper on the goal line will then shuffle over, getting his/her body behind the ball and then put their hands on the ball as if they were going to catch it. The keeper raising their hands can raise either hand, making sure the other keeper is on their toes.

Coaching Tips:Make sure the keeper grabbing the ball is starting in a ready position and that they correctly use their footwork when shuffling before they put their hands on the ball to mimic the catch. Also check their hand positioning. This drill is good because you can breakdown each movement as well as hand position without having to kick a ball, allowing for an easy analysis of technique.

Defender drills

Odd one out

Target Area: Possession/defense
Description:This drill is for the entire squad and aims to improve the ability to hold onto the ball as well as defending.

  • Split your group into 3 teams using bibs (ideally groups of 4, 5 or 6 players)
  • Mark out a ~20m x 20m square with cones (size may vary according to your group size)
  • Nominate one team to be “the odd one out” this team will be the defending squad, the other two teams will be the possession squad
  • The aim of the game is for the two teams in possession to string together 10 passes, once complete the defending squad has to do a ‘punishment’ (5-10 press-ups). However, the defensive team will be putting pressure on the teams with the ball. If a defender intercepts a pass, makes a tackle or the ball goes out of bounds then the player who gave away possession (and his team) now switches roles with the defensive team.

Coaching Tips:

  • Tips to give the possession teams; utilize the full area of the pitch, pass and move.
  • Tips for the defensive team; defend as a unit, try cut down the angles in which the passes can be played, either forcing them to play the ball where you want them to or forcing them to play a long ball.
1v1 Showdown

Target Area: One on One Defense/Offence
Description:This drill is for 8-12 players, and is designed to help defenders in the manipulation of a striker.

  • Set up a small field ~8x10m with two small goals along the by-line of one end.
  • Have the players lined up evenly behind two cones (one on the by-line and one on the cone located diagonally from the first cone)
  • On the coaches whistle the person at the front of each line will sprint to the cone directly in front of them, you will then play a ball from the by-line towards the other end of the pitch. When the players reach the cones they sprinted towards they will turn around with the player closest to the goal becoming the defender and the player closest to the ball you played being the attacker. The attacker will claim the ball and try to attack either goal, the defender will try and stop them.

 

Coaching Tips: Remind players that the faster they make it around the cone the more positional advantage they will gain; simulating a turnover in a game where a defender has to sprint to regain position. Tell the defenders to cut off parts of the pitch with their body position, forcing the attacker in a certain direction, making it easier for them to control where the attacker travels and in return easier to make a tackle.

Midfielder drills

Midfield Box

Target Area: Develop positioning and distribution.
Description:This drill is for 12 squad members, preferably you should have 4 midfielders in this group.

  • Mark out a small pitch, roughly 20x15m but size can vary, have four small goals (two at each end) set up so each team can score. Inside this pitch mark out a “Midfield box” roughly 5-7×5-7m in size.
  • Divide the 12 members into two teams of 6, having two midfielders in each group.
  • This game plays out like regular soccer however; The midfield box can only be occupied by each team’s midfielders; to score you have to first complete at least one pass into the ‘midfield box’, this complete pass resets each time you lose possession.

Coaching Tips: You may begin to see the midfielders group along the edge closest to the ball, take them aside after some time and explain it can be good to use the full amount of space in the midfield box. Encourage them to work as a duo, a midfielder can move not just to receive the ball, but also to create space for his partner to receive the ball. Also by having two goals to score in you can encourage your players to switch the ball from one side to the other if the defensive team is guarding one goal.

Four Gates

Target Area: Passing/Movement/Defense
Description:This drill is for the entire team and is aimed at passing and movement.

  • Set up a large area roughly 30x30m depending on squad size.
  • A few meters in from each corner set up a “gate” which just consists of two cones spaced 2m apart. The gate should be facing into the centre of the square, and have some space between the corner of the pitch and the gate because we will be passing and receiving the ball through each gate.
  • Divide your squad into two teams
  • The aim of this game is to pass the ball through a gate and have someone from your own team receive the ball. After completing a pass through a gate the opposing team has to drop down immediately and do 5-10 press-ups. During the time the opponents are down doing press-ups the team in possession immediately starts trying to complete another pass through a gate, you cannot pass the ball through the same gate twice in a row.
  • This encourages the attacking team to make a quick transition from one area of a pitch to another, mimicking a ‘switching’ scenario.
  • When one team losses possession they instantly switch roles, becoming the defending team.

Coaching Tips:If you see the attacking team trying to ‘force’ an attack against a gate that is well defended tell them to give up that attack and open the game up. You’ll find that with four gates the defense will struggle to defend each gate simultaneously, by encouraging the attacking team to use quick passes through the midfield you will open up all four gates for the opportunity to attack.

Attacking drills

Four Corners

Target Area:Finishing/Goal keeping/Ball delivery
Description: The drill is for the entire squad and focuses on finishing.

  • Set up a square with two cones along the goal line, with one cone 2m left of the goal and another 2m right of the goal. Complete the square by putting a further two cones on the 18yard box in line with the first two cones.
  • Divide your squad into four groups and make one group line up behind one cone. Give the two groups along the goal-line a set of balls each.
  • In turns, the groups with the balls will play a ball either in the air or along the ground diagonally to a group on the on the 18yard box, they will control the ball and attempt to score a goal.
  • After passing/shooting the player should rotate clockwise, thus giving everyone a turn at both roles

Coaching Tips:If your team is struggling, make them only play the ball along the ground and tell them to take two touches before finishing. If your team is excelling make them play the ball in the air, limiting their controlling touches to one and encouraging them to finish with their weaker foot.

One-Two-Finish

Target Area:Finishing/Goalkeeping
Description: This drill is for the entire team.

  • Set up a cone in line with the centre of the goal, 5m outside the 18yard box and another 2m outside the 18yard box.
  • On the 5m line up the entire team (attackers), giving them a ball each. On the 2m cone have a single person (Play-maker) with good passing ability.
  • An attacker will pass their ball into the play maker who, with one touch, will play the ball square in either direction. The attacker will then run onto the ball, completing a simple ‘One-Two’ pass, take a touch and finish the ball into the goal.
  • This is best done with a goalie present

Coaching Tips: Once your team is comfortable you can order the play maker to lift the ball off the ground when he/she plays it square, this will allow the attacker to hit the ball on a half volley. Encourage attackers to experiment striking the ball with their non-dominant foot.

General drills

Snake

Target Area:Ball control/General
Description: This exercise is for the entire squad as a warm up/fun activity

  • Set an area roughly 15x15m large (size will vary on squad numbers)
  • Give everyone a ball and get them to dribble the ball within the boundaries set, then nominate someone to be the “Snake”
  • The aim of this drill is for the “Snake” to tackle the members trying to dribble their ball. If the Snake manages to tackle someone then the player tackled joins the Snake, linking arms or holding hands. Now with two people as the Snake they try and tackle someone as a pair. This process is repeated and you should have at the end a giant Snake of kids all linked together trying to get the ball off the remaining members.

Coaching Tips: This is just a fun drill; However, you should notice that the kids with the best ball control/special awareness are the normally the last to be added to the Snake

Cats and Dogs

Target Area: Ball Control/General
Description: This exercise is for the entire squad as a warm up/fun activity

  • Set an area roughly 15x15m large (size will vary on squad numbers)
  • Give everyone a ball and get them to dribble the ball within the boundaries set, then nominate two people to be tacklers. The tacklers are referred to as “dogs” and the dribblers are referred to as “cats”.
  • The aim is for the dogs to tackle the cats, if a cat is tackled they take their ball and wait on the outside of the area for the round to end.

Coaching Tips: If the game is ending too quickly you can reduce the number of dogs to one. To make the game more competitive you can have the first two ‘cats’ who are eliminated from each round become the ‘dogs’ for the next round.

Drills that can be used for under 10s

As players begin to get a bit older you can afford to add a little bit more complexity into the drills you use. The drills below should be ideal for using with groups of 10 years and above.

Goalkeeper Drills

Blind Reaction Drill

Why do this drill?

In order to be a successful goalkeeper, your reactions have to be on point. During a match, you can never be entirely sure when the opposition are going to take a shot at goal or when the ball is going to get deflected and suddenly change direction. Therefore, this blind reaction drill really works on your fast twitch reaction times

How to do the drill

  • Have an outfielder line up about 15 yards away from the goal
  • Face away from the outfielder on your goal line
  • Have the outfielder take a shot at the goal, shouting just before the shot.
  • When you hear the shout, turn, react and adjust to the ball that has already been kicked
  • Do this for 20 shots

Variations

  • You can tweak this drill in many different ways to change the difficulty level. For example, you can have the goalkeeper start on different areas of the goal line, have the outfielder in different segments of the field and vary the position of the goalkeeper (i.e. lying on your stomach, kneeling, on your side)
Meet and Retreat Drill

Why do this drill?

children playing footballWhen a goalkeeper is doing drills to improve certain aspects of their game, they need to re-enact real life game situations, rather than simply doing one dimensional drills all of the time. With the meet and retreat drill, they are reacting to a ball that is coming in from the wing, whether it is a cross or a corner.

They use their handling and agility to deal with the ball that is coming in and immediately reset for a shot on goal that is inbound, which works on their agility and reflexes. Often in a game, the goalkeeper will be unable to catch a cross, so they will punch it away. Therefore, they need to be prepared straight away for an incoming shot.

How to do this drill

  • One player is positioned on the wing and they play a cross into the box, near to the goalkeeper, while another player takes a shot from approximately 15 yards away from the goal
  • The keeper has to come to meet the cross by either catching it or punching it out of the danger zone.
  • They then retreat straight away back to their goal line and get ready for the incoming shot on goal from the edge of the box.
  • This drill should be repeated for a total of 8 reps on each side of the field, while the shooter remains in the same position.

Variations

  • In order to increase the difficulty of this drill, you can bring a fourth player into the drill. This player is supposed to put the goalkeeper under pressure when the crosses are coming into the box.
  • You can also change the type of shots on goal that are being taken and the crosses. This could mean hitting volleys, driving shots and chip shots.

Defender Drills

Defending the dribble 1 vs 1 drill

Position: Defenders and attackers

Why do this drill?

As kids start to develop their soccer game, it is important to ingrain in them the fundamentals of defending from an early age. This will set them up with a firm foundation for the rest of their time playing soccer. This drill gets defenders used to having players run at them and learning how to properly stop and dispossess the attacker.

A lot of the focus on this drill comes down to footwork and how the body is positioned. The defenders need to have bent knees and have their weight on the balls of their feet, ready to change direction. The lower centre of gravity allows the defender to quickly explode to change direction.

How to do this drill

  • Set up a grid that is 10×10, with a cone on each of the four sides, 10 yards away from the grid.
  • Split into two teams with different jerseys and have each time line up evenly opposite one another.
  • One defender starts in the middle of the grid, while an attacker has to try dribble the ball past them to the other side.
  • If the defender manages to dispossess the attacker, the team that lost the ball becomes the defenders.
  • You need to ensure that the drill is done at pace so it’s like a real match situation.
Team scoring competition 1vs 1

Positon: All players

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill to keep your training sessions lively. While it increases the competition between players in a healthy way, it is also a very enjoyable drill to partake in.

When the players are in a match, they will constantly be in these types of situation where there is a 50/50 ball coming their way, so this is great practice on how to adapt to different scenarios.

How to do this drill

  • The teams should be split evenly on each side of the goals, with a goalkeeper on the goal line.
  • When you blow your whistle, one player on each side runs out to the edge of the penalty box and turns towards goal.
  • You play a 50/50 ball between the two players, with each of them battling for the possession and attacking the goal.
  • The team that scores ten goals first is the winner.

Variations

  • The main variations for this drill involve what type of ball you kick out to the two competing players. It could be a lofted ball, a low and hard play or even a soft pass. This mimics real game situations.

Midfielder Drills

Rotating Defenders Drill 5 vs 2

Position: All outfield players

Why do this drill?

This drill helps the players to understand how to properly keep possession. They should be focusing on making good passes that are well positioned for the receiver. It also helps their decision making under pressure, appreciation and movement of space and encourages strong levels of communication between one another.

How this drill works

  • Set up a grid that is 15 x 15 yards. Have five attackers in the grid and two defenders.
  • To start the drill, the two defenders pass a pall to an attacker and step into the grid. The attackers have a goal number of passes to achieve. If they reach this number, the defenders have to do pushups.
  • The drill continues until the attackers have been dispossessed or the ball leaves the grid.
  • Another two defenders then step in to play against the same attackers.
Passing under pressure drill

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

Most players will be able to hit an accurate pass when they have loads of space and time. It is a different story however when they are under pressure from the opposition. This drill helps to improve a player’s passing accuracy while under pressure, as well as working on their fitness and agility.

How this drill works

  • Have a grid that is 20 x 20 yards. Have one player at each of the four corners and two players in the middle of the grid. There should be two balls, at opposite corners of the grid.
  • One of the players is resting and keeps their hands on their knees in the middle of the grid. The other player is working for 60 seconds.
  • To start the drill, the ball is played towards the resting player. The working player needs to jump over the resting player, get the ball and pass it to the person on the right.
  • As soon as the pass has left the boot of the working player, another ball is played from the opposite side and the working player has to once again jump over the resting player and play the pass to the person to their right.

Variations

  • You can change this drill by allowing only a certain amount of touches or using different types of passing style, whether it is outside or inside of the boot.

Attacking Drills

Go and return dribbling drill

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill for those players how are just starting out or have a lower skill level. It teaches the basics of dribbling when there is a lot of traffic and when under pressure. It is important that soccer players remain in control of the ball as much as possible, so this is a great way to train just that.

How to do this drill

  • Create a grid that is 20 x 20 yards. Have two even groups and every player has a ball.
  • Divide the group in two and have one of the teams line up along one side of the grid, while the others line up on one of the adjacent sides.
  • When you blow the whistle, the players dribble towards the opposite side and back to the starting position.
  • If you want to make it competitive, the first player to get back wins a point. The first one to get to five points wins.
Soccer tennis drill

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

This is both a fun game and a way in which players can increase their ability to deal with balls through the air and to develop their volley technique. It can also be played anywhere.

How to do this drill

  • Have a ‘court’ that is 12 x 24 yards, i.e. two 12 yard squares. Have three players on each side with cones placed down the middle. You can change the dimensions depending on how many players are partaking.
  • One team starts the game by serving. This is a volley or half volley that has to go into the opposing side of the court. The team that receives can only allow the ball to bounce once and can only take two touches before they play the ball back to the other side of the court.
  • If the ball bounces twice or the ball goes out of bounds, the opposition team scores a point.

Variations

  • It all depends on the skill level of the participating players. If the skill level is not particularly high, you may decide to increase the amount of touches or bounces allowed.
  • Alternatively, if it is an advanced group you may decide to lower the amount allowed.

General Drills

Heading to catch circle game

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

This is a very fun game that allows players to work on their heading technique at the same time as enjoying the drill. This is a great exercise to do as a break from more intensive drills or if you want to reward their hard effort during the session. The main things that are worked on in this drill are the player’s reaction skills and their listening.

How to do this drill

  • The coach stands in the middle of a circle and is surrounded by the players, all of whom face the coach who has the only ball.
  • The coach will throw the ball towards the head region of a player.
  • When the coach lets go of their pass, they will shot either “Head” or “Catch.” The player has to respond accordingly and then deliver the ball back to the coach. If a player does the wrong thing, or they do not successfully return the ball to the coach,  they are knocked out and have to sit on the ground. Whoever is the last player standing wins the game.

Variations

  • A great way to keep the players on their toes is to have them do whatever the opposite of your command is. So if you say to head the ball, they must catch it and vice versa. You can also do this drill using another body part, whether it is volleying etc.
Transitioning drill

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

This is a drill that needs to be performed at a good pace in order to get a benefit out of it. This is an ever changing game which helps to develop the team’s ability to transition between defence and offence.

How to do this drill

  • Make a grid that’s 15 x 15 yards with goals on opposite ends that are only one yard apart. Make two teams.
  • A single player from each team play 1 versus 1 in the grid until either a goal has been scored or the ball goes out of bounds. When this happens, the defender drops out and whoever is in line nearest where the ball left the play enters as the new attacker.
  • The game will continue until somebody scores a total of five goals.

Variations

  • You can change up the game by having 2 vs 2 or 3 vs 3 players.

Drills that can be used for under 12s

These drills, which cover all positions on the soccer field should be ideal for using with players of 12 years and above.

Support Angle Drill

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

When children are young and developing their foundation of skills, learning proper angles of support and effective spacing is one of the most important things to teach them. This changes how they think about the game and a whole new world of possibilities will be opened up to them.

How to do the drill

  • Create a grid that is 10 x 10 yards. Have three players per grid, with each player being positioned at one of the four corner cones, with one ball between them.
  • The main premise of the drill is to never have the cone adjacent to the player with the ball empty. For example, players 1 and 2 start at cones adjacent to player 3 who has the ball. Player 3 can pass the ball to either of the other two players, with the spare player immediately making their way to the cone that is now empty and adjacent to the player in possession.
  • There is no defensive pressure applied during the drill so passes can be made to either supporting player at all times
  • While this drill is simple on paper, it requires the players to always pay attention to the movement of the ball and anticipate what the next move will be in order to get to the space faster.

Variations

  • You can make the drill harder by only allowing one or two touches
  • You can add in a defender to make it more pressurised and like a real game situation.
Splitting the defenders drill

Position: All outfield players

Why do this drill?

This drill is targeted at more advanced and skilful players. The main focus of the drill is to practice passing in between two defenders. This is something that is needed constantly in matches and is a great way to execute the skill under pressure while in a training environment and make the players used to this type of pressure.

How to do the drill

  • Create a grid that is 18 x 18 yards. For each grid, have three teams of two players.
  • Two of the teams will work together outside of the grid and the two defenders work inside of the grid.
  • The four players that are on the outside will keep possession of the ball, away from the defenders. Each time the ball has been passed between the two defenders to their teammate, the outsiders get a point.
  • If the defenders get split by a pass, they have to win the ball an additional time.

Variations

  • You can limit the number of touches to make the drill tougher.
  • You can use the same rules but expand the grid another 3 or 4 yards and play inside of the grid instead of outside of it.
Midfield attacking drill

Position: Midfielders

Why do this drill?

This is a great attacking drill to do in order to focus on building the attack from your midfield, allowing those players to get forward into the attacking portion of the pitch. This encourages good movement and proper passing.

How to do the drill

  • Have the field divided into three sections using some cones. In the defending third, have the goalkeeper and two defenders playing against two attackers. In the middle, have four attacking midfielders and three defensive midfielders. All defensive players should have different colour jerseys.
  • The coach begins with the ball on the sideline, passing it to one of the attacking midfielders. Once they have gained possession, they should attack straight away. When the midfielder passes to a teammate in the attacking third of the field, they step in and make it a three versus two situation.
  • If the defenders win the ball, they play keep away from the attackers.

Variations

  • Don’t have the passer stepping into the attacking third; instead have the farthest player from the play step in.
  • Change the number of players in the drill.
  • To focus more on attack or defence, alter the balance of the teams.
Trapping and control drill

Position: All outfield players

Why do this drill?

This is a superb drill for focusing on ball control and trapping. This helps players to understand where and when they need to be receiving and passing the ball.

How to do the drill

  • Set up a grid that is about 40 x 60 yards, with goals positioned on each end. Have two teams of six players with a goalkeeper in each of the goals.
  • This game is actually played with the hands.
  • A player throws the ball to a teammate who needs to control the ball to the ground using their feet. If a player successfully controls a ball they may pick the ball up with their hands and throw it to another teammate or take a shot at goal. If a player mis-controls a ball then the first player to recover the ball using their hands gets to makethe next pass.
  • A goal can be scored anywhere in the grid at any time, once the shot is taken from a controlled position on the ground.

Variations

  • You can mix up the rules by letting players to pass along the ground for every second or third passage of possession.
End line attacking and crossing drill

Position: All outfield players

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill that will focus on attacking the goals from the end line, to the flanks and finally crossing the ball in. This works on isolating players on the flank and allowing them to get quick balls into the box.

How to do the drill

  • Use half of the pitch and move one of the goals to the halfway line facing the endline goal. Use a few cones to make a channel that is 10 yards wide down each of the touchlines.
  • There will be two teams of four players in the middle, while each team will have one player each in the channel. Goalkeepers are in each goal.
  • One of the team starts with the ball in the middle and plays four versus four. When the coach instructs the ball to move to the flanks, it is played as one versus one until one of the players breaks into the attacking side of the channel. This is when the defender must allow them to cross the ball. The middle four players come in offering an option at the far post, near post, supporting run and trail run.

Variations

  • Change the number of players in the middle.
  • You can use a variety of different passes and support options
Flighting balls in drill

Position: All outfield players

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill that allows you to work on your trapping, shooting and chipping inside of the 18 yard box. Many players freeze up when they get inside the box, so this is a useful drill to make them more comfortable.

How to do the drill

  • Have the players split up into three even groups. Group 1 stand at one corner of the box near the corner flag, group 2 stands at the opposite side of the box near the sideline and the group 3 stands at the top of the box by the semi-circle. There is a goalkeeper in the goals.
  • A player from Group 1 flights a ball over the face of the goal to group 2 who will control the ball from the air and pass it to group 3. Group 3 will take a shot on the goal. The players rotate between the three stations.

Variations

  • You can limit the number of touches that are allowed.
Aggressive corners and fitness drill

Position: All outfield players

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill that works on a player’s aggressiveness when attacking those 50/50 balls, as well as improving their fitness levels at the same time.

How to do the drill

  • Set up a grid that is 30 x 30 yards. Have four teams with one at each corner of the grid. The coach sets up just outside the grid with some balls near the middle.
  • The coach throws a ball in to start the drill and one player from each corner needs to sprint and try to be the first to retrieve the ball.
  • When it has been retrieved, they need to keep possession for a total of five seconds before making a pass back to the coach.
  • If a player manages to steal the ball, they must do the same.
  • A point is awarded for each successful pass and the team that reaches five points first, wins.

Variations

  • The coach can change what type of ball is played into the grid, whether it is flighted or bounced etc.
Keeper shooting angle drill

Position: Goalkeepers

Why do this drill?

This is a superb drill that helps goalkeepers to improve their angles and positioning when they are receiving shots on goal. It helps to improve their footwork when setting up their feet for the shot.

How to do the drill

  • At the edge of the penalty box, have six different shooters, each with a ball.
  • They start by pushing the ball to the right, left or straight at the goal and proceed to shoot.
  • The goalkeeper has to adjust their positioning with accordance to the position of the shooter. They then set their feet and get ready to make a save. They quickly reset after each shot, ready for the next one.
Defence overlapping drill

Position: Defenders

Why do this drill?

This drill helps to give the defenders the proper grounding in overlapping their midfielders and breaking into attack. The key to a lot of successful football teams is having a strong counter attack that can flip pressure that has been put on the team by the opponents and get them running on the back foot.

How to do the drill

  • For this drill you should use half of the pitch. Have a goalkeeper in the goals and you will need five other players in the drill. The right full back is positioned on the right hand side of the pitch with a ball on the halfway line. The centre midfielder lines up in the middle of the pitch, the right midfielder lines up a few yards ahead of the right full back and then there are two forwards in their normal positions.
  • The fullback passes to the right midfielder and makes an overlapping run around the outside, along the right flank. The right midfielder passes to one of the forwards who checks back to receive the ball. The forward passes the ball back to the central midfielder who will play the ball towards the right corner flag where the fullback has continued the run. The fullback plays a cross into the middle of the box into the two forwards who shoot on goal.

Variations

  • You can alternate on both sides of the pitch and change up the passing moves.
  • You can put some defensive players into the drill in order to stimulate real match situations.
Circle keep-away drill

Position: All players

Why do this drill?

This is a great passing drill that is also enjoyable to do. It allows players to focus on keeping possession away from the defensive players.

How to do the drill

  • Create a circle and have the players line up barely inside of the circle in order to maximise the space that is available to use. Two players go into the middle holding bibs, playing as defenders.
  • The attackers who are in possession must keep possession away from the two players with bibs. The first pass is free, but after that if the defender wins the ball, they will switch with whoever lost the ball to them.
  • If the ball happens to leave the circle, the player who is at fault, by either not trapping it effectively or giving a bad pass switches with the defender who has been in the middle for the longer amount of time. When the attackers make ten successive passes, the defenders have to do a lap around the circle or some similar fun punishment.

Variations

  • You can change the size of the circle and the number of participants.
  • You can limit the number of touches that player can take.

Goalkeeper Drills

A lot of coaches don’t use specific goalkeeper drills and rely on their keepers getting practice by taking part in drills used for outfield players. But it’s a good idea to ensure your keepers get some specialist coaching, use the drills below to keep your goalies on their toes.

Keeper-Ready

Target Area:Technique
Description:This drill is for a single goalkeeper and is designed to give the keeper correct posture.

  • To set up this drill place 2 cones 2m apart, this will mimic the goal line.
  • Have the keeper stand on the created line and get into a ‘keeper-ready’ position. To do this correctly the keeper should be in a half-squat position, with his/her body square on the line; toes pointed forward; his/her hands should be low, around knee level; their palms should be open facing forwards; the keeper should be on their toes.
  • Have the keeper stand upright and ‘loose’ then get them to drop into the ready position and to bounce off their toes similar to a running on the spot. Have them relax and then drop into the ready position again, repeat this.

Coaching Tips:Focus on getting the correct technique down to a tee, remember that this is the basis of goalkeeping posture and that this will thread into all other areas of keeping so you should always correct posture if there are any deficiencies.

The Active Keeper

Target Area: Technique
Description:
a striker tries to beat a goalkeeperThis drill is for a single goalkeeper and is designed to give the keeper correct posture, building off the “Keeper-Ready” drill.

  • To set up this drill place 2 cones 2m apart, in the centre of the 18yard box line.
  • Have the keeper start on the 6yard box and dash out to the 18yard box, stopping on the line and immediately dropping into the keeper-ready position.
  • Once comfortable with this have the keeper dash out to the 18yard box and get keeper ready. Once set, shuffle to the cone on the left and shuffle back to the cone on the right, maintaining the keeper position when shuffling.

Coaching Tips:When shuffling the keeper should be making quick sidesteps, keeping his/her body square and maintaining the keeper-ready position.

Ground Level Shuffle

Target Area: Positioning/Footwork
Description:This drill is designed for 1 goalkeeper and a coach/second keeper.

  • Set up two cones about the same length as the goal keepers wingspan, this will act as a goal line.
  • Have one keeper on the make shift goal line and one standing 1m off the goal line.
  • The keeper who is off the goal line will place two balls on the ground, in line with the cones.
  • To start this drill the keeper off the goal line will point to either ball, the keeper on the goal line will then shuffle over, crouching down and positioning his hands and body correctly as if to collect the ball. The keeper dictating what ball do go for should mix up the order in which he/she points, making sure the other keeper is on their toes.

Coaching Tips:The keeper doing the action should start in a ready position. Make sure they are using correct technique, spending time practicing bad technique can actually be detrimental to player development. The nature of this drill allows you to easily analyse a keeper’s footwork, body positioning and their crouch, don’t be shy to correct them when necessary.

Diamond or W

Target Area: Catching
Description:This drill is for one keeper. It’s important that a keeper has correct hand positioning, a keeper should make either a ‘w’ or diamond shape with their hands when catching a ball.

  • To start this drill off get the keeper to bounce the ball off the ground, catching it on its way back up.
  • The keeper’s hands should come over top of the ball making either the ‘W’ or diamond shape.

Coaching Tips:This is an entry level drill, so it’s important to make sure the keeper is using correct hand positioning. If the keepers are getting comfortable with this have them try to swing the ball around like a windmill, in one hand, before throwing the ball into the ground this will help with overall ball control.

360 Catch

Target Area: Footwork/Catching
Description:This drill is for one keeper and a coach/second keeper.

  • To set up this drill place 4 cones into a small diamond, each cone about 1 step apart. Roughly 3m away from the head of the diamond place another cone.
  • The keeper will stand with his feet either side of the front cone. The coach will stand on the cone 3m away with a ball.
  • When the coach signals the keeper will get ‘keeper-ready’, being square with the front cone, then rotate so he/she is square with the one to the left, back, right and then the front cone again. When completed a full rotation the coach will kick a ball for the keeper to catch.
  • Once comfortable the coach can call out specific cones for the keeper to rotate to (for example ‘left, right’ or ‘back, left, right’) so the keeper has to think about his/her rotations.

Coaching Tips:Make sure at each stage the keeper maintains the keeper ready position. If the keeper is getting comfortable you can start kicking the ball to either side or high/low so the keeper has to make a variety of catches.

Leap Frog

Target Area:Movement
Description:This is a fun drill designed for 3 goal keepers, but could be for any player.

  • Have the 3 players laying on their stomachs facing in the same direction, spaced about half a meter apart.
  • To start this drill off have the player on the right side press off their stomach and ‘leap’ over the player in the middle. After completing the leap, the player should immediately roll towards the player on the left. The player on the left will then push off and leap the player rolling towards them, then roll towards the player on the right, who will then leap over them.

This creates a never ending loop of player leaping from a downed position and rolling.
Coaching Tips:By having players leaping and rolling you get comfortable on the ground. It’s important a goal keeper knows how to roll after a jump as to avoid injury after a dive save, as well as to gain the confidence to dive. If the players are getting comfortable with this, you can encourage them to spread out more to allow for a larger leap-roll.

Post to Post

Target Area: Diving
Description:This drill is for 2 goalkeepers.

  • To start this drill have one player in the goal mouth who will be the goalie, the other player will be at the penalty spot with a bag of balls.
  • The player in the goal mouth will then shuffle in the ready position to the goalpost to their left and back towards the middle, when they are roughly in the middle the player with the balls will kick a ball towards goal post the goalie is running towards.
  • Have the player feeding the balls start by just playing the ball around the ground, then after you can have them lay the ball in the air.
  • Make sure that after 5-10 repetitions that the goalie swaps what goal post they run to as to work both their diving to the left and right.

Coaching Tips:Watch that they hold form in their shuffle, at pace it’s easy to lose technique.

Rolling-Dive

Target Area: Movement
Description:
This drill is for any number of keepers.

  • Set one cone up and then place a ball ~4-6m away.
  • Get the keepers to line up behind the cone and face the ball. From here they will start in a standing position and complete a forwards roll, then a dive to the ball. They will then put the ball back and the next keeper can have a turn.
  • This is designed to simulate a loose ball scenario where a keeper has made a save and needs to pounce on the ball.

Coaching Tips:Make sure the ball isn’t too close to the keepers, you want them to be at a full stretch when they’re making their dive. Also, keep things fun, feel free to make the keepers start from a downed position, or do a backwards roll, you have creative license.

Double Dive

Target Area: Diving
Description:
This drill is for one keeper and a coach/second keeper.

  • Start this drill with the keeper in the goal and the coach on the penalty spot with at least 2 balls.
  • The coach will roll a ball towards the goal, the goal keeper will dive forward to meet it around the 6yard box. The keeper will then ‘pop’ back up into the ready position and the coach will play a ball to either corner of the goal, the keeper will make another dive to meet the ball.

Coaching Tips:
The coach should start by playing the balls softly so the keeper can focus on technique. Once comfortable the balls should be played with more pace. If the keeper is excelling in this task you can start to play the second ball in the air. Also, mix up what side you play the ball to so the keeper develops moving in both directions.

Superman

Target Area:Diving/Jump Height
Description:
This drill is for upwards of 3 goalkeepers.

  • To set this drill up you’ll need to place 2 corner flags 1-2m either side of the penalty spot so they’re parallel with the goal line; now tie a rope/string between the poles about a foot above the ground and you’re good to start.
  • One person will start in the goal, he/she will play the goalie role as normal; One will start as feeding the balls, he/she will stand to the left of the goal on the 6 yard box, from there they will toss a ball high in the air towards the two poles/rope; the third person will start behind the rope and to the right, when the ball is fed this player will approach the rope, leap over it and punch the ball towards the goal. The person in the goal will then make a save. Everyone will rotate positions in this triangle so they get an even turn at each role.

Coaching Tips:Make sure the players are fully extending on the jump-punch. If the players are finding it difficult you can lower the rope, if it is too easy you can raise the rope.

Defender Drills

Coaching defense shouldn’t just be about stopping shots and tackling you also need to work on teamwork and getting your defense working as a unit. The drills below will hopefully get your defense performing like a well oiled machine.

Defensive Shuffle

Target Area: Stance
Description:This drill is for the entire squad, but more aimed towards defenders

  • Get your entire squad to line up along the goal line.
  • To start this drill you will get the players to run to the 18yard box, when they approach the 18yard line they will drop into a defensive stance shuffle the last few steps forwards and touch the line. Keeping in the defensive stance they will begin to shuffle backwards all the way back to the goal line. Have the players do this to get comfortable with the correct stance to defend in.

Coaching Tips:
This is the basis of defending so make sure you teach them how to stand defensively. A correct defensive posture should include the following: Side on approach, one foot in front of the other; Be low to the ground, have bent knees with a straight back; Have their feet at roughly shoulder width; When moving backwards or forwards use side steps and never cross the legs over, this will prevent tripping over.

One on One Shuffle

Target Area: Positioning/Posture
Description:This drill is for the entire squad.

  • Create a parallel line to the side line with cones, the distance between the side-line and your parallel line should be 10m.
  • Get your squad to pair up, with one defensive player pairing with one more attacking player. Have the defensive players stand on the side-line with a ball at their feet, have the attacking players stand facing their defensive partner along the parallel line.
  • To start this drill the defenders will play the ball firmly to their partners. As soon they play the ball they will run to the attacking player and get into the defensive position. The aim isn’t to tackle the attacker, just to get comfortable with the stance. The attacker should be encouraged to go around the defender if they are standing too square or have their legs too far apart.

Coaching Tips:Make sure the defenders have the right stance. Having their legs too far open will allow the attacker to nutmeg them, being too square will allow the attacker to turn them.  Have the defenders out stretch an arm and stand at that distance to the attacker, this will allow them to gauge distance; being too close will allow the attacker to turn around them and being too far away will let them run at them at pace.

Two in the Middle

Target Area: Defensive Positioning/Coordination
Description:This drill is for 7-12 players and is a good warm up.

  • Get the group to make a rough circle, now select two to be in the middle and give them bibs to hold as distinction.
  • To start this drill off the players on the outside will get a ball and pass it between themselves. They will continue to do this throughout the drill. The aim for the 2 player in the middle is to force the outside players into a mistake by either intercepting a pass, tackling a player or forcing a mistake on the pass.
  • If the players on the outside make a mistake and lose possession, or have a bad pass they immediately switch roles with one of the players in the middle. The drill then continues as normal.

Coaching Tips:To help the players in the middle out tell them to work as a team, get them to crouch into a defensive position and try force the ball in a certain direction. This will allow the second player in the middle to anticipate where the ball is going before it is played. A tackle shouldn’t be the first thing a defender considers, only dive into a tackle if the attacker makes a mistake.

3v1

Target Area: Defensive Positioning
Description:This drill is for 4 players and is a good warm up

  • Set up a 3x3m square.
  • Have 3 players stand outside of the square with one on each side of the square and one side empty. Have the other player inside the square.
  • Give the players on the outside one ball. The aim of this drill is to have the players on the outside pass the ball between each other, only one player can be on each side of the square at a time however they can move into the open side freely.
  • The player in the middle will be the defender and their aim is to intercept or deflect a pass as well as potentially making a tackle.
  • If the player in the middle gets a touch onto a pass, makes a tackle, or forces a mistake then they swap with someone on the outside.

Coaching Tips:This drill is good to warm up. Get the defender to approach in a defensive position and dictate where a pass is played. They should only lunge into a tackle if the player on the outside doesn’t have control of the ball.

Defensive Screen

Target Area: Defensive Coordination
Description:This drill is designed for 12 players, preferably 4 defenders and 8 attackers/midfielders.

  • Set up 3 rectangular zones right next to each other. Each zone should be 3x10m, so the total area covered by the 3 zones is 9x10m.
  • Have the defenders set themselves in the middle of the 3 zones, have the attackers split themselves into two groups and then go in both the outside zones. The aim of this drill is to get the attackers to complete a pass through the defender’s zone to the attackers in the opposite rectangle.
  • No one is allowed to leave their allocated zone.
  • The attackers should make passes within their own zone to stretch the defense before trying to pass it through the middle.
  • The defense will aim to move as a unit to stop the passes through the middle.

Coaching Tips:

  • Get the defenders to be conscious that they are a unit. If one person in the unit doesn’t shuffle across and shutdown the opening there will be a space for the attackers to exploit. Encourage them to communicate often and to get set into a defensive stance while they’re shuffling.
  • You can give points out for every pass the attackers successfully get through the middle as well as every pass stopped by the defenders to make it more competitive. If the game is too hard/easy you can adjust the width of the pitch accordingly.
4v3

Target Area: Defensive Coordination
Description:This drill is for 8 players, preferably you’ll use your back four and a goalie to defend and three attackers to have possession.

  • To set this drill up just have your goalie in goal, your back four set a few meters outside of the 18yard box and your front 3 starting with a ball on the edge of the centre circle.
  • Have the front 3 go towards the goal in a patient attack. Have the 3 attackers switch the ball from side to side, making the back four shift as a unit from one side to the other. If the back four isn’t moving as a team and they’re leaving substantial spaces between each defender, then have the attackers push to exploit that space.

Coaching Tips:Tell the defenders to stay tight as a unit, moving from one side to the other. Don’t get them to lunge into tackles, be patient and force them to play with width rather than letting them penetrate the middle.

The Chase

Target Area: One on One Defending/Dribbling
Description:This drill is for a defender, an attacker and a goalkeeper.

  • Have both the defender and attacker stand next to each other on the half way line, about 3m off the left side-line. The attacker should have a ball at their feet. The goalkeeper should be in the goal.
  • On your whistle the attacker will take off, dribbling the ball towards the goal with the intent to score. A moment or two later blow your whistle again and the defender will take off to tackle the attacker before he has a chance to score.

Coaching Tips:The attacker should always have control of the ball, so no big ‘kick and chase’ styles of running are permitted here. The defender should sprint as fast as possible to get in between the goal and attacker before getting in a defensive position and trying to make a tackle. It’s important the defender doesn’t make any reckless tackles from behind in this drill that would lead to a penalty in a game.

One on One Finishing

Target Area: One on One Defending/Finishing
Description:This drill is for a defender, an attacker and a goalkeeper

  • To get this drill set up have the defender stand on the edge of the 18yard box, the goalkeeper in their goal and the attacker on the edge of the centre circle.
  • To start this drill the attacker will dribble the ball towards the goal with intent to score, while the defender will approach the attacker and get into a defensive stance and try stop him/her.

Coaching Tips:Make sure the defender doesn’t lunge into a tackle, remind them of the other drills they’ve been over and the defensive stance. Primarily they want to delay the attackers advance and show them in a direction to make defending easier, then, if an opportunity arises, make a tackle.

Imbalanced Possession

Target Area: Group Defending
Description:This drill is for 10 players.

  • Set up 10x10m square with cones.
  • Split your players into a team of 6 and a team of 4, give the team of 4 bibs for distinction.
  • To start this drill off give the team of 6 a ball and get them to start passing it around. The team of 4 will defend as a unit to try get possession.
  • To make this competitive you can award points to the possessive team if they complete 10 passes and points to the defending team if they can get the ball, control it, and stop it on one of the outside lines.

Coaching Tips:

  • Reinforce the idea of defending as a unit, trying to dictate where the ball is played. Make sure the defenders are compact and in their defensive stances when approaching the ball.
6v6 2 Man Rush

Target Area: Defending in Pairs
Description:This drill is for 12 players.

  • Set up 2 5x4m rectangles 5-10m apart.
  • Split your 12 players into 2 teams of 6 (red and blue) and have each team stand inside one of the rectangles.
  • To start this drill get the red team to kick a ball to the blue team, immediately when they do this the red team sends two players to try and reclaim the ball making a small 6v2 game.
  • If the blue team, who is in possession, loses the ball in any way be it an intercept, loose pass or tackle, the ball then gets played back to the red team. The 2 ‘defenders’ then return to their team to try hold possession and the blue team sends over 2 defenders to reclaim the ball.
  • If the team in possession completes 10 passes then the opposite team has to do press-ups/sit-ups

Coaching Tips:Get the players to focus on working together in a similar way to the other 2 man defending drills they have practiced, coordinating themselves and trying to force the attackers to play a certain way.

Midfielder Drills

Center Midfielder Passing Combo

Why do this drill?

A center midfielder is the fulcrum for all attacking play, so they need to be very adept at working combination plays and being able to play diagonal balls. This will also work on their touch and awareness of where and how the ball is arriving to them. Make sure that the midfielder is focusing on their touch, timing, movement and type of pass they are giving.

How to do the drill

  • Create a grid that is 20 x 20 yards and have a center midfielder positioned in the middle of the square. The rest of the team can line up in even groups at each of the four corners of the grid
  • One player at one of the corners starts with the ball and plays it to the midfielder. Once they have passed the ball, they run to the group that is directly down the line from them
  • The midfielder plays the ball first time to the player at the second cone
  • The player at the second cone does the same as the player at the first cone, playing the ball to the midfielder and running to the next group down the line
  • After the midfielder has received the ball four times and passed it on, switch the player in the middle of the grid

Variations of this drill

  • You can make the grid bigger depending on the standard of the players
  • You can also mix up the order in which the balls are arriving from certain corners
Combo Shooting Drills

Why do this drill?

This is a great shooting drill that focuses on the combination play of the ball coming through the midfielders and creating a chance for a shot on goal. There are many different progressions and varieties that can be used to make the drill harder. Make sure that players focus on controlling the ball with one touch and keep their movement under control when passing and shooting.

How to do the drill

  • Have two small triangles that are roughly 15 yards away from one another and roughly 5 yards outside of the penalty box
  • Have a player at each cone, with the rest of the team lined up outside of the area of triangles
  • The player at the cone furthest from the goals starts with a ball and passes it to the nearest player in the triangle who then passes it to the final player in the group
  • The third player lays the ball into space in front of the penalty box and the first player hits a shot on goal first time

Variations of this drill

  • You can change the distance from the goals that the triangles are to make the shots harder
  • You can switch the groups every so often to allow players to work on both feet and from different areas of the pitch
  • There are many different combinations you can create to spice up the drill
Triangle Combo Passing Drill

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill for midfielders to focus on combination play in a confined area. During this drill, you can have players focus on different things such as the angle, pace and weigh of the pass, as well as the players timing their runs prior and post pass, giving one-twos and proper movement.

How to do the drill

  • Make an equal triangle that has sides of 10 yards. Have a player by each cone, standing roughly two yards behind the cone, outside of the triangle
  • There is one ball per triangle so make multiple triangles depending on how many players you have. You don’t want to have too many players standing around at any given moment in time
  • The first player passes to another without the ball entering the triangle. The ball is then returned to the first player in the same fashion
  • The ball is then played into space to the second player at the opposite side of the triangle that they had received the first ball. This time the ball goes through the triangle
  • The second player plays the ball to player three without the ball entering the triangle. They receive the pass back again before playing a ball for player three to the opposite side of the triangle that they had received the ball initially

Variations of this drill

  • You can change the combinations and the directions in which the balls are being played
  • You can increase the size of the triangle to make the players work harder
2 Versus 2 + 4 Passing and Possession Combo

Why do this drill?

This drill is a great way to hone a midfielders passing, possession and combination play. It also gets the heart rate up meaning that it is beneficial to the player’s fitness levels as well. It is a great game to test and perfect the composure of players when they are confined into tight spaces. You need to make sure that the drill is performed at speed and the movement is good so that there are always plenty of options.

How to do the drill

  • Make a grid that is 20 x 20 and have only eight players in a single grid, two teams of four players
  • Two players from each team needs to be lined up directly across the field diagonally from one another at two corners. The rest of the players are to play 2 versus 2 outside of the grid
  • The players outside of the cones get ready to receive the ball, standing stationary until that moment
  • The players play 2 versus 2 in the grid and try to pass the ball to their outlets players on the outside of the grid
  • Whenever a pass is made to one of the outside players, they switch places with the passer, with the player in possession dribbling into the grid or passing to their teammate
  • They then try to combine with the other teammate that is at the opposite corner. If the corner is well defended, the attacking team needs to try and play a ball to another player that is open instead
  • If the defenders win the ball, they become the attackers

Variations of this drill

  • You can make the grid bigger and add more players
  • You can have a limit on the amount of touches a player can take
3 Person Passing Combo

Why do this drill?

This is a drill that works on passing combinations and at any given time there are three players involved. Working on these types of sequencing drills allows your midfielders to improve on the accuracy of their passing, combination playing and their movement when they don’t have the ball. It is also a great drill for improving fitness levels.

How to do the drill

  • Create a grid that is 10 x 20 yards and have two players at opposite diagonal cones with the third player in the middle of the grid
  • One of the cone players starts by playing a ball to the middle player. The first player who played the ball runs to the cone on the side and receives the ball
  • When the middle player has passed the ball back, they go to the cone where the first payer originally started at.
  • The first player passes a long ball to the third player and goes into the middle of the grid. The drill continues in similar fashion

Variations of this drill

  • You can switch the combinations that are used and change directions so players can practice from a variety of different angles
Cleaning Your Room Drill

Why do this drill?

This is a great practice drill that will help midfielders to become more comfortable when under pressure from an opponent. It also allows the defending team to work on defensive pressure.

How to do the drill

  • Make a grid that is 15 x 15 yards
  • One player starts with the role of having to clean the room. The rest of the players need a ball
  • The drill starts with everyone dribbling around the grid and the cleaner is released into the grid and has to dispossess each of the players with a ball
  • When a player is dispossessed, they must try to get it back straight away and get back into the grid
  • When all of the balls are outside of the grid at any given time, the cleaner wins

Variations of this drill

  • If the cleaner is struggling to get enough balls knocked out, add a second one into the mix
  • Have the player do a few pushups or jumping jacks before the drill so they are more tired when dribbling around
Circle Passing Combo Drill

Why do this drill?

This drill is focused on improving passing, playing the game with speed, communication and making sure that the ball is played to a teammate’s feet. It is a good drill to get your midfielders passing warmed up.

How to do the drill

  • Make a circle surrounding two players, having each of the outside players between five and seven yards part
  • The two middle players start with a ball each and start the drill by passing to those in the circle
  • The ball is returned to the central player in the same position who then plays the ball to the person on the direct left or right of where the pass came from
  • The person who received the ball replaces the man in the middle and repeats the drill. Make sure that the middle player splay with their head sup so they don’t play the ball to the same person simultaneously

Variations of this drill

  • Mix it up and try different passing comboIdentify and Find The Target Player

Why do this drill?

This is a great drill that focuses on getting midfielders to get their heads up when they are on the ball in order to identify the correct target player.

How to do the drill

  • Set up a grid that is 40 x 40 yards and have two even teams. There should be a 10 x 10 grid on each attacking end and have a single target player in each of those grids
  • The two teams play against one another and a point is won when one of the team manages to keep possession and pass a flighted ball to the target player inside of the smaller grid. The target player needs to control the ball for it to count as a score

Variations of this drill

  • You can change the size of the grid depending on the number of players involved.
  • You can put in a defender alongside the target player to shadow throughout the drill.
2 Versus 2 Quick Attacking Drill

Why do this drill?

This helps midfielders practice turning defence into attack quickly. The key is to keep the drill fast paced with plenty of movement.

How to do the drill

  • Make a grid that is 25 x 40 yards, intentionally large for just two versus two players as it allows for more breakaways and encourage them to attack the open space
  • Have a small goal at each end and have equal groups
  • Two players from each team start, with the rest standing behind the goals with a supply of balls
  • The team that scores stays on, while the team that concedes is replaced by a team that quickly attacks
  • If the ball happens to go out of side-lines, the ball starts again from the end line. The first team that has 20 wins is deemed the winner

Variations of this drill

  • You can change the size of the grid and the number of players involved
4 Corners Passing Game

Why do this drill?

This is a super drill that helps midfielders to improve their passing, as well as helping them improve their knowledge of when to change the point of attack, as well as the timing of their runs.

How to do the drill

Have four different grids that are 5 x 5 yards wide and have them set up at the corners of a 40 x 40 grid. Have the group split into two teams

The attacking team needs to keep possession and they attempt to score by playing a pass to a teammate that is inside the smaller grid

The team can use any corner to score in, but cannot use the same corner twice in a row

Variations of this drill

  • You don’t allow players to stand in a grid to wait for a pass; they need to time the run into the grid to meet the ball
  • You can change the criteria for a goal, such as having to make ten successive passes first

Attacking Drills

Triple Shot

Target Area: Finishing
Description:
This drill is for the entire squad.

  • To set up this drill place one cone on the intersection of the by-line to the left of the goal, one on the same intersection on the right of the goal and the last cone on about 5m outside of the 18yard box. Then split your squad into 3 equal groups and have them line up behind each cone with a ball. Have a keeper be in goal.
  • The player outside the 18yard box will start this drill by dribbling the ball towards the goal and then striking the ball before they enter the 18yard box. After striking the ball the person to the right of the goal will play a ball along the ground aiming towards the penalty spot, the player will then strike the ball first time. Finally, the player to the left of the goal will toss the ball in the air towards the attacking player, the attacking player will then finish the ball with a header.
  • After the cycle is done the players that completed an action should rotate clockwise.

Coaching Tips:
Get the players to ask to receive the ball and get their heads up early after making each shot so they can prepare for the next. Focus on getting power onto the long shot and during the close shots focus on composure and accuracy.

3v2 Attacking a Goal

Target Area: Passing/Movement/Finishing
Description:This drill is for the entire squad.

  • Place three cones along the halfway line, one in the centre and one 10m either side of the centre cone.
  • Divide your team into 3 even groups and have each group stand behind a different cone. Pick out 2 defenders and have them stand on the 18yard box, as well as having a keeper in goal.
  • This drill will start with the central attacker having a ball, the three attackers then have creative license to try and score a goal. The defenders will rush off the 18yard box and try nullify the attack.

Coaching Tips:Get the attackers to work as a unit, making the use of the width and space to stretch the defenders before making an attempt on goal.

Brazilian

Target Area: Finishing/Movement
Description:This drill is for 14 players.

  • To set up this drill go onto a full sized pitch and set up one goal in the regular position and one on the half way line.
  • Divide your players into 2 even teams, have a goalkeeper on each team, and get them to play football with normal rules.

Coaching Tips:Because the field is so small the players should be encouraged to make attacking plays.

Static Shooting

Target Area: Striking Diversity
Description:This drill is for at least one striker and a goalkeeper.

  • The Setup 5 balls across the 18yard box spaced evenly.
  • The striker will start on the left side, take a touch on the ball to get it rolling slowly, then strike the ball. He/she will make their way across the 18yard box repeating this with the remaining 4 balls.

Coaching Tips:This is a chance to look at striking technique of your strikers, analyse their form and correct posture accordingly. If your strikers get comfortable get them to practice a variety of techniques such as using the inside of the foot to curl, outside of foot curl, placement, drive.

Dynamic Shooting (I)

Target Area: Footwork/Finishing
Description:This drill is for upwards of 3 players.

  • Place 5 cones 1m apart in a straight line just outside of the centre of the 18yard box.
  • Have players line up a few meters out from the line of cones with a ball at their feet.
  • The players will take turns dribbling the ball, weaving through the cones, and then placing the ball to either corner of the goal.

Coaching Tips:Make sure the dribble section is done to a high standard, if the players are struggling get them to slow down and work on technique before trying to complete it too fast.

Dynamic Shooting (II)

Target Area: Footwork/Finishing
Description:This drill is for upwards of 3 players

  • Get 4 cones, place the first on the centre of the edge of the 18yard box, go at 45degree angle to the left ~3m and place your next cone, then 4m directly square of this cone place another, then at another 45degree angle go 3m to the right. You should end up with a diamond shape.
  • Get the players to line up behind the top of the diamond with a ball at their feet. The player will then weave through the cones, dribbling the ball to the right side of the diamond, then cutting in square to the left side, then to the front of the diamond. After completing this they will strike the ball.

Coaching Tips:Get players to alternate which side of the diamond they approach first, this will make them cut in on their opposite foot and also alternate what foot they shoot with.

Parallel Finishing

Target Area: Finishing
Description:This drill is designed for upwards of 3 players.

  • To set up this drill set up 3 cones along the front of the 18yard box, one on the left corner, right corner and middle.
  • Have one person on each cone, the players on the wide cones should have a ball at their feet.
  • The player on the right side will start this drill off by dribbling a few steps with the ball towards the middle cone and then pass it into the player standing on it. The middle player will then make a one touch lay off in the opposite direction where the pass came from. The player who made the first pass will continue his run, around the middle player, and strike the ball.
  • After this is complete the player who was on the right stays in the middle to receive the pass which will be played in from the left side and the player who was in the middle moves to the right side.

Coaching Tips:Focus on the placement of shots, you can set up two corner flags 1m inside of each side of the goal and get player to aim for the 1m space between the corner flag and goal post. This will help them aim towards the sides of the goal rather than hitting it in towards the middle.

Building a Wide Attack

Target Area: Passing/Crossing/Finishing
Description:This drill is for the entire squad.

  • To set up this drill place 4 cones along the halfway line and one cone on the edge of the centre circle. Have one cone on each of the places the centre circle intersects the halfway line and have a cone 3m away from each side line.
  • Split your team into 5 even groups and have each group stand behind a different cone. Ideally you’ll have your wide players behind the wide cones and your central players on any of the central cones. The central players along the halfway line will have balls at their feet ready to go.
  • This drill will start with the central left player passing the ball into the front players feet. The front player will then lay the ball off to the central right player. The central right player will then play a long ball down the left side of the pitch for the wide left player to run onto. As soon as this long ball is played, all the players (both central, the striker and wide right players) will then make attacking runs into the penalty box. The left wide player will then have the ball at their feet and almost be at the by-line, when he/she is ready he/she will cross the ball into the box for the 4 players who are making their runs. The attacking players will then attempt to score from the cross.

Coaching Tips:This drill is rather simple, but can get confusing, so walk through it slowly with your team. Once they understand what’s happening try get them to time their attacking runs so they’re meeting the ball in the box and not being static waiting for it in the box.

Birds Nest

Target Area: Passing/Movement
Description: This drill is for 12 players.

  • Set up a ~30x20m rectangle with cones for the pitch. On each end of the pitch, where goals would normally, be place 5 cones in a line touching each other to make a ~1m wide line of cones, bring both lines of cones 2m in from the by-lines so players can move behind them while still being in the field of play.
  • Split your players into two even teams.
  • This game is a variety of football, the aim is to capture all your opponent’s cones (or “eggs”) and bring them back to your goal (or “nest”). To capture one of your opponent’s ‘eggs’ you have to kick the ball into your opponent’s ‘nest’. Once one team manages to knock kick the ball into the opposite nest, the player who scored gets to take one of the eggs and run around the outside of the pitch back to their nest and add the egg taken to their line of eggs/nest. The Team who got scored against can begin attacking immediately after they realign their cones/eggs.

Coaching Tips:This is a fun game that should encourage player to be patient and build attacks. It’s quite easy to defend against if the attackers don’t move the ball from one side of the pitch to the other, so get your players to focus on ball movement.

Knock Out Cup

Target Area: Finishing
Description:This drill is for the entire team.

  • Place a cone ~2m outside the centre of the 18yard box and a cone ~2m left of the goal.
  • Have all the players line up behind the cone behind the goal with balls at their feet, then select one person to start in goal.
  • The person at the front of the line will sprint out towards the cone outside the 18yard box, as they’re running the player behind them will play a ball for them to receive. The player will then turn around the cone to face the goal and shoot the ball before they are inside the 18yard box. After shooting the ball, regardless of whether or not they score, they go into goal and become the goalkeeper for the next person.
  • The aim of this drill is to be the winner of ‘the cup’, to do this the player has to be the last person to be knocked out. A player can only be knocked out if they have a goal scored against them when it’s their turn as goalkeeper. The player who starts in goalkeeper can’t be eliminated on the first shot of the game.

Coaching Tips: If the players are playing well you can get them to only take one touch before they shoot. Also this is a fast paced game, as soon as one player shoots the next player should start their run out

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