10 Best Soccer Drills to Improve Your Game

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Only the best soccer drills can help you become an elite player. To become this player it requires sacrifice and discipline to reach new milestones in the game. Regardless of where your skill levels at these 10 soccer drills will improve your game. 

As a collegiate soccer player in the United States, I use these drills every single week to better my game. Most times I don’t have other players to practice with outside of team practices so after years of solo practicing, I have discovered creative ways to improve my skills in the key aspects of the game. 

Soccer has four main aspects that players need to master to become elite. This includes dribbling and ball control, passing, shooting, and defense. 

These drills are simple to learn and beginner-friendly. To increase the difficulty of the drills simply increase speed, shorten the rest periods in between, and add some flare to the drill in creative ways.

Topics Covered:
Equipment Needed
Zig Zag Cone Dribble
Touch and Shoot
Wall Passing With Cones
Freestyle Cone Dribble
Placement Shooting
Heading
Juggling
Turn and Shoot
Defensive Slides, Agility
Skill Move and Shoot
Coaching Tips

Equipment Needed

You will need the following equipment for the drills:

  • Cones
  • Rebounder or wall
  • Goal or mini-goal
  • Ball

This equipment will allow you to practice anywhere at any time to gain an edge on your opponents. 

If you don’t have the required equipment feel free to get creative and think outside the box to perform each drill. 

If you’re looking to purchase new equipment but don’t know where to start, we have equipment-buying guides that can help you find what you’re looking for. 

Zig Zag Cone Dribble

  • Type: Dribbling and ball control
  • Equipment: Cones, Ball
  • Description and setup: Place 8 cones 5-7 yards apart in a zig-zag shape as shown in the graphic. With the ball, dribble to the outside of each cone and focus on making sharp and controlled cuts at each cone. Be sure to use both feet while dribbling and when changing direction use the outside of your foot.
  • Duration: Repeat this drill 6 times, and rest for one minute in between. This drill takes 10 minutes to complete.
  • Benefits: Replicates real game scenarios, and improves your change of direction and speed while dribbling.

Touch and Shoot

  • Type: Shooting
  • Equipment: Cones (Ladder), Goal, Rebounder or Wall, Ball
  • Description and setup: Set up a makeshift agility ladder with cones by placing 6 cones a foot and a half apart facing the goal. Then place your rebounder or wall 10 yards diagonally in front of your line of cones. Make sure to place the ball after the line of cones. The drill consists of you side shuffling through the cones without the ball at a quick speed and then passing the ball into the rebounder. Using one touch, control the ball and take the shot. Focus on using that first touch to prepare your shot (it should be a few yards in front of you). Remember that hitting the target is the goal, make sure your technique is correct, and then add power. 
  • Duration: Repeat 6 times for left and right-footed shots, rest 45 seconds in between. This drill takes 15-20 minutes to complete.
  • Benefits: Improves first touch, shooting motion at game speed, and agility.

Wall Passing With Cones

  • Type: Passing
  • Equipment: Wall, Cone, Ball
  • Description and setup: This drill is a simple passing drill that is designed to improve your short passing. Place one cone 5 yards away from the rebounder/wall. Start on the right side of the cone and pass the ball into the rebounder with your right foot. With your left foot control the ball to the left side of the cone and make a left-footed pass back into the rebounder followed by a right-foot touch to the right side of the cone. This drill has many different variations. Increasing the distance of the pass and the type of touch can diversify this drill. 
  • Duration: Complete for 3 sets of 2 minutes each. Rest for 2 minutes in between. Takes 12 minutes to complete.
  • Benefits: Improves short passing and touch in tight spaces

Freestyle Cone Dribble

  • Type: Dribbling and ball control
  • Equipment: Cones, Ball
  • Description and setup: Place 12 cones a yard apart scattered in a circle. Set a timer for 2 minutes, and start dribbling the ball through the cones. Roll the ball, step over the ball, make sharp cuts, and use the skills you have to weave through the cones. This drill is all about getting creative and getting comfortable dribbling in tight spaces so focus on speed and control throughout this drill. 
  • Duration: Complete 3 sets of 2 minutes. Rest for 2 minutes in between. Takes 12 minutes to complete. 
  • Benefits: Improves dribbling in tight spaces, ball mastery, and agility.

Placement Shooting

  • Type: Shooting
  • Equipment: Cones, Goal, Ball
  • Description and setup: Set up four cones, 1 yard apart, 25 yards out, in a straight line, and centered with the goal. Place one cone 50 yards away from the goal line. Place a cone 2 yards in from each goal post on the goal line. Place a ball in front of the four cones. Without the ball and starting at the four cones, jog to the goal line. Sprint back to the cone 50 yards away and then jog to the ball. With the ball, weave through the cones and then shoot the ball into the sides of the goal. Focus on placing the ball into the sides of the net with 50% accuracy. Set the shot up by taking a good touch out of the cones. 
  • Duration: Repeat this 8 times, 4 each foot. Rest for 2 minutes in between. Takes 25 minutes to complete. 
  • Benefits: Improves shot placement, shooting at game speed, and maintaining quality during high cardio.

Heading

  • Type: Defense, Shooting
  • Equipment: Ball
  • Description and setup: For this drill, we will mainly discuss proper heading technique as the drill is simple and requires a lot of repetition to get the technique down. On a hard surface (court, cement, turf) throw the ball up in the air and let it bounce. Off the bounce, head the ball towards a target, this could be a spot on a wall or a chair that you placed. Attack the ball at different angles while aiming for the same target. For proper technique, make connection with the ball just beneath your hairline or where your forehead meets the top of your head. Gain power by engaging your core and neck and don’t forget to use your hands for balance.
  • Duration: Do 20 repetitions. Takes 5 minutes to complete. 
  • Benefits: Better feel for heading the ball and improved heading technique.

Juggling

  • Type: Dribbling and ball control
  • Equipment: Ball
  • Description and setup: Place 4 cones 4 yards apart to make a box. With the ball, flick up using your feet (drop from your hands if that is too difficult) and juggle the ball. Focus on minimizing the spin of the ball and keeping the touches short and soft. If this drill is easy focus on mastering different juggling skills such as around the world, stalling, and switching feet. Get comfortable using all parts of your feet and thighs. This drill will have a great effect on your touch. 
  • Duration: Beginner – 5 sets of 10 repetitions, Moderate – 5 sets of 30 repetitions, Advanced 3 sets of 50-100 repetitions. Takes 5-15 minutes to complete. 
  • Benefits: Improves ball control and first touch.

Turn and Shoot

  • Type: Shooting
  • Equipment: Cones, Rebounder, Goal, Ball
  • Description and setup: This drill is perfect for strikers and beneficial for most players. Place a cone or soccer mannequin 20 yards away from the goal. Place the rebounder 5 yards from the cone or mannequin. With a ball stand next to the mannequin and pass the ball into the rebounder. With your back to the mannequin, turn with the ball to the left or right side using your first touch. Shoot the ball on your second touch. Focus on checking to the ball, receiving with your back to the mannequin, turning with your first touch, and shooting with your second touch. This drill replicates an exact game scenario for strikers. 
  • Duration: Complete 10 times for each foot. No rest needed in between. Takes 5 minutes to complete. 
  • Benefits: Improves first touch and shooting under pressure. 

Defensive Slides, Agility

  • Type: Defense 
  • Equipment: Cones (Ladder)
  • Description and setup: Line up 6 cones in a zig-zag shape. Then place 10 cones a foot and a half apart or place an agility ladder down if you have one. Start at the zig-zag cone set up facing backward shuffle your fight in the zig-zag shape by not letting your feet crossover. After completing this section immediately proceed to the next section by doing high knees, stepovers, and ins and outs through the ladder. Get creative with the agility section by adding your own agility exercises to go through the ladder. To develop a good defensive stance, focus on maintaining a stable core, quick feet, and a low center of gravity.
  • Duration: Go through the circuit 10 times, rest 30 seconds in between. Takes 10 minutes to finish. 
  • Benefits: Quicker feet, improved agility, and defensive stance. 

Skill Move and Shoot

  • Type: Shooting
  • Equipment: Cone, Rebounder or Wall, Goal
  • Description and setup: Place the cone 25 yards away from the center of the goal. Place the rebounder 35 yards away from the goal and 10 yards to the left or right. Pass the ball into the rebounder and receive the ball with a forward touch towards the goal. Complete a skill move to beat the cone as if you were taking on a defender. Once the cone is beaten shoot the ball and place it into the sides of the net. Focus on selling the move to make real-life defenders jump, dive, or get off-balanced. Use your momentum to get past the defender and create space for the shot. 
  • Duration: Do 12 shots total, 6 each foot. Rest for 30 seconds in-between. Takes 10 minutes to complete.
  • Benefits: Improves touch, passing, skill moves, and placement shooting.

Coaching Tips

Refining your skills and becoming a formidable player doesn’t always require a full team or elaborate equipment. In fact, some of the best soccer drills can be practiced solo, with minimal gear. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your dribbling, passing accuracy, shooting, or overall agility, these drills are your ticket to success on the pitch. From the simplicity of juggling a ball to the intricacy of cone dribbling exercises, the beauty of these solo drills lies in their accessibility. 

All you need is a soccer ball, cones, a rebounder, and a goal. If you only have a ball, with some creativity you can still do most of these drills making them ideal for individual practice sessions at home or in your local park. 

We have explored the best soccer drills that cater to every skill level and focus on essential aspects of the game. So, whether you’re a beginner aiming to build a strong foundation or an experienced player looking to fine-tune your abilities, try these drills out to elevate your game.

Remember that each drill is a great starting point but that there are numerous variations of each drill so you can keep your practice sessions diverse and non-repetitive. 

If you aren’t sure what drills you need simply evaluate the four technical aspects of the game: dribbling and ball control, passing, shooting, and defense, and determine which drills fit your needs best.

What to do next?

Soccer drills require equipment in order to become better and at the very minimum require a ball. Check out our recommended soccer equipment that we have tested or researched to enable you to become the best player you can be. 

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Author
Ethan is the owner of Skillful Soccer and has over 20 years of playing experience. He is currently a collegiate soccer player and is thrilled to share his insights for all things related to soccer.

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