To be a better soccer player, you have to do more than the average soccer player. I’ve been playing soccer since I was a kid, and practicing off the field was crucial to improving my soccer skills.
Practice soccer at home to improve your footwork, passing, and shooting skills. There are key training drills to perform that will work on each aspect of playing soccer. Most professional soccer players spend many hours practicing off the field in their spare time.
What You’ll need: Most of these training drills can be done with a soccer ball and yourself. Some require cones or something you can put on the ground as a marker. You will definitely benefit from having a soccer goal or training net of some kind (Here Are My Favorites), but if you can’t afford those, you can still get better at soccer using these drills.
1. T-Cone Weave
You will need a soccer ball and some cones or other markers to do this. Setup by placing the cones about 5 yards apart in a ‘T’ pattern. The base of the ‘T’ will be your starting point. You will dribble the ball throughout the cones in this drill. Here the steps to perform the T-Cone weave drill:
- Move to the top center cone and around it to the left
- Move to the bottom of the left cone and around the top
- Sprint clear across the top of the ‘T’ while dribbling
- Circle around the far right cone
- Move above the top middle cone
- Sprint while dribbling back to the bottom starting cone
Those steps make one loop through the T-Cone drill, you can continue through 10 iterations of this. Try working on sprinting between cones and slowing down to focus on footwork as you round the cones.
2. Ball Trapping
You can do this drill with just yourself and a soccer ball. Trapping the ball is when you receive a pass or a fly ball and you bring the soccer ball down into your control. Start by throwing the ball into the air, running to get under it, and using your body to get the ball in your control.
Use your chest, knees, and legs to slow the ball. Bring your foot up to the ball and lower your leg as your foot makes contact to slow the ball to the ground. The point is to prevent the soccer ball from bouncing too much so you can gain control faster.
For some variation, you could also use a wall or soccer trainer equipment to bounce the ball off of. This will give you different incoming angles of the soccer ball, allowing you to practice more real life scenarios.
3. Cone Slalom
You can do this drill with a soccer ball and some cones. Place the cones on the ground in a straight line about 5 yards apart. Start on the left side of the first cone and dribble towards the right side of the second cone. Alternate which side of the cone you move with ball on as you advance through the rest of the cones. Turn around at the end and do the same on your way back through to the start.
As a variation, move the cones further apart to start with and then move them closer together as your skills improve. This drill is all about ball handling at speed while moving down the field.
4. Wall Pass
The wall pass drill will require a soccer trainer or a wall to bounce the soccer ball off of. You will practice you passing skills by kicking the ball at the wall with the inside of your foot. To practice harder passes, try to kick the ball with the inside of the laces on your soccer cleats or shoes.
As a variation, try passing to the wall at an angle and running to trap the ball after the bounce off the wall. Move back and forth to practice passing on the move and trapping the ball. Aim for the same spot on the wall every time, and you will have to run to catch the ball after your pass.
5. Wall Juggle
To do the wall juggle you will need a soccer ball and a wall or trainer. The goal is to keep the ball from touching the ground while using the wall to juggle with. To juggle the ball you are kicking the ball into the air and keeping it in the air by kicking the ball again before it hits the ground.
For beginners I suggest letting the ball hit the wall, then the ground, then kick it again. As you get more advanced, try juggling the ball a couple times yourself before kicking towards the wall again. Change up between kicking with your laces and the inside of your foot.
Here’s a good video showing you the different ways you can practice a wall juggle.
Every few juggles, kick the ball at the trainer or the wall and then return to a juggle before the ball hits the ground. Many players find this drill helps them improve their juggling skills which is always a nice trick to show off, but also improves your ball handling on the field.
6. Wall Hammer Catch
This drill is similar to the wall pass, but you want to focus more on your trapping skills rather than your passing skills. Hammer the ball at a wall or trainer and be prepared for the rebound. Catch the ball with your legs and feet after it rebounds from the wall.
This will help train your trapping or catching abilities. If you can, stand far enough away from the wall to practice this drill at a bit of an angle. Being able to react and quickly trap a fast moving ball is a key skill in soccer.
7. High Speed Dribble
You will need some open space and a soccer ball for the high speed dribble drill. You want to sprint while maintaining control of the ball. Start off slowly if you need to, and increase speed as your skills improve. As a variation, practice slowing down and speeding back up while maintaining control of the ball.
8. Shuttle Run Dribble
You may have heard of this basic shuttle run drill before, it’s used in most sports. Lay down four markers or cones in a straight line. Give yourself a starting point about 5-10 yards from the first cone, you will need to return to this point multiple times throughout the drill. Perform the shuttle run dribble steps while controlling the ball.
Start by moving to the first cone, around it, and back to the starting point. Do the same to the second cone, then the third, and forth. This will help you work on speed at different distance while handling the ball.
9. Quick Shooting
This quick shooting drill requires a soccer net and a soccer ball. You will start by moving with the ball while controlling the soccer ball. Shoot at the goal while you are still moving with the ball at a good speed. Being able to shoot at the net while moving with a soccer ball is key to playing soccer.
As a variation, start with slow movement until your skill improves, then speed up little by little. You want to be able to actually make the goal. Once you’r making most of the shots you take, start running this drill with more speed.
10. Ball Push Pull
You can do this drill with just yourself and a soccer ball. You can ever perform the ball push pull inside, you won’t need to move around much or even kick the ball for that matter. Start by standing with one foot on the ball with the ball at the center of your foot. Move your foot forward and backward while remaining in contact with the ball.
Your foot should move so that your heel, then the center of your foot, and lastly your toes are making contact with the ball. This drill just gets you more familiar with the soccer ball, and helps you work on control.
11. Side Shooting
This drill requires a soccer ball and a soccer net. You want to start by positioning your self to the side of the net. Take shots at the net from extreme angles that you could find yourself in on the soccer field. Try starting at a 45 degree angle and increasing the angle difficulty with each shot you take.
12. Toe Taps
Start by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and the ball about a foot away in front of you. Sometimes this drill is referred to as the stair stepper, because you simply move one foot up and tap the top of the ball with your toe. Alternate between left right as fast you can.
This drill seems really easy, but the goal is that the ball shouldn’t move. So as your tapping, you are also slightly hitting the ball back into it’s starting position. The ball will move slightly with each tap, but keep trying to tap the ball only enough to get it to stay in place.
13. Inside Outside Dribble
This drill only requires a soccer ball, but you can setup a cone to mark your turn around point if you’d like. You will start by dribbling the ball using the inside and outside of only one foot. After you turn around and move back to the starting position, use the inside and outside of only your other foot.
The goal here is to practice your footwork. Don’t worry about speed or trying to get to the turn around and back as fast as possible. Instead focus on number of touches. Only move the ball a short distance with each touch to force your self to use both inside and outside of your foot.
14. Circle Drill
For this drill you will need a soccer ball and cones. Place the cones in a big circle about 10 yards in diameter. Move around the circle at speed while maintaining control of the ball. Try not to let the ball cross the imaginary circle created by the cones, but keep it as close as possible. This forces you to remain close to the circle to improve your speed.
15. Sideways Box Move
You will need cones or ground markers and a soccer ball for the sideways box move drill. Place cones to make two boxes on the grass about 5-10 yards apart. Start in one box and move to the other in a sideways motion. Once you have entered the box and stopped the ball, move back to the other box while controlling the ball in a sideways motion.
You will need to use the inside of one foot and the outside of the other to move correctly in a sideways dribble. This drill helps improve your ball handling skills, as well as starting and stopping a dribble.
16. Attacking Move
This drill works best with at least three cones set up in a straight line about 5 yards apart. You start at the first cone and move towards the last cone while avoiding the cone in the middle. Think of the middle cone as an opponent and maneuver around them appropriately.
Practice by slowing down as you approach the middle cone, keep control of the ball around the cone, and then explode away from the cone to the end point. This drill is all about quick movements to avoid players. This will help you get better at avoiding opponents on the field while maintaining control of the ball.
17. Zig Zag Weave
The zig zag weave will require some cones and a soccer ball. Lay the cones out in a straight line only a few feet apart. This setup will look similar to the slalom drill above, except the cones should be much closer together. Move through the cones alternating between the left and right side of the cone while also alternating between using only your left or right foot.
Do not worry about speed with this drill. The goal here is to improve you footwork, so just worry about getting the ball to zig zag between the cones and which foot you are using to dribble with.
18. Figure 8 Drill
This drill requires some cones and a soccer ball. Start by setting the cones up in a figure 8 pattern. You will perform this drill much like the circle drill, staying on the outside of the figure 8 as best you can. Move while dribbling the ball around the figure 8, stay as close to the figure 8 as you can without crossing over the cones.
The figure 8 allows you to try different turn maneuvers while maintaining control of the ball. As a variation, make the figure 8 smaller or larger to practice a different turning radius.
To practice headers, you only need yourself and a soccer ball. Throw the ball up into the air, position your self under the ball, and try hitting the ball with your head. Aim for a spot on the ground in front of you that you are trying to hit the ball to.
As a variation, try hitting the ball more than once before hitting towards the spot on the ground. Or throw the ball off a wall and try to bring the ball down into your control using your head. In soccer, the ball will be in the air around you and you will need to be able to gain control of the ball using your head sometimes.
20. Gated Obstacle
You can practice the gated obstacle drill with some cones and a soccer ball. You will place obstacles around the field about 5 yards apart in a diamond shaped pattern. The obstacle will be two cones placed side by side with enough room for a soccer ball to fit through them. You will move from one obstacle to the other, keeping in mind that the soccer ball needs to pass through the obstacle.
As a variation, try some other shapes for the obstacles:
- ‘T’ shape
- Diamond Shape
- Boxed Obstacles
- Zig Zag
21. Juggle Pass/Shoot
This drill works best if you have a soccer net. You start by juggling the soccer ball and ending the juggle with a shot at the net. Practice ball control and foot eye coordination. Try using one leg only, switching between legs after each shot. Also, try some ground passes to end the juggle rather than a shot at the goal.
22. Ground Pass
To practice the ground pass you will need a soccer ball. Having a trainer or a wall will make the best use of your time. Practice your ground pass at a wall or trainer from different angles. I suggest a wall or soccer trainer because then you won’t need to be running after the ball all the time.
A ground pass is pass where the ball doesn’t leave the ground. Try passing with the inside of your foot. Work on giving more power to the kick while maintaining accuracy.
23. Line Shooting
This is one of the most common soccer training drills. You will need a soccer net and multiple soccer balls for this one. Line the soccer balls up to be shot into the net. I found using at least 6 soccer balls works best with this drill. The goal is to practice shooting at the net without the distraction of retrieving the ball after every shot.
Aim for different places in the soccer net and try to improve your accuracy with each shot. Start out close to the net, and move out further with each set of shots you take.
24. Rolling Shot
This drill requires a soccer ball and a net. Roll the soccer ball out in front of you and take a shot at the net. You want to practice taking a shot with a moving ball. You may need to get up a running start before rolling the ball to take the shot at faster speeds.
Try doing this drill at different angles to the net and aiming for different areas of the net. As you get more accurate with your shots, move away from the net a few yards at a time.
25. Below Knee Juggle
You will need a soccer ball to practice the below knee juggle. Start by juggling the soccer ball as you normally would. Then, try only hitting the ball high enough that it doesn’t get above your knees. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but will really help improve your ball control and movement.
26. Seated Juggle
With just a soccer ball, sit on the ground and try to juggle the ball with your feet. This may seem like it has no application to playing soccer on a field but it will help improve your ball control. This is a good one you can do inside while watching TV if you have the space.
Training in soccer takes time and energy. If you can put your best effort in, you’ll see results. If you do decide you want to try some of the drills that require a soccer net or net trainer, I have some suggestions. I’ve spent lots of time and money to find the best gear at a reasonable price, check out my Recommended Soccer Gear Here.