Playing soccer is an electrifying experience that relies on communication, teamwork, and endurance. Having a shared moment as a team is almost always going to feel more satisfying than practicing alone at home, but that doesn’t mean a player should avoid it or that it can’t be fun! We believe that these drills can be almost as effective and entertaining as team training.
One way a coach can make these solo drills feel like a team activity is to set specific goals or challenges for each activity. Have the team film themselves practicing and encourage them to share these videos with yourself and the team. With the player’s permission, the coach can use the videos to use as teaching tools. Try to rotate the spotlight between players, using praise and gentle constructive criticism.
For some drills, specifically the ball juggling one, coaches can integrate a little bit of friendly competition into the mix. For example, who juggled the most using just their thighs? These tactics engage a soccer player’s competitive nature and provide an opportunity for teammates to encourage and celebrate each other’s successes.
TLL’s Favorite Solo Drills
1. Soccer Ball Juggling
Soccer is a high-contact sport- in the sense that a player’s body will likely come into contact with the ball beyond their feet. Practicing soccer ball juggling is a great way to learn ball control should it need to be intercepted with another body part. To start, juggle the ball with each foot, then back and forth between both feet. The goal is to keep control over the ball for as long as possible. Once comfortable with this technique, incorporate the thighs and chest.
2. Cone Dribbling for Ball Control and Defense
Set the cones in a straight line about three feet apart. Come in from the side and begin to weave through the cones. First, focus on technique. Practice using just the inside feet and then just the outside feet. Next, alternate between the inside of the right foot and the outside of the left foot and vice versa.
3. Cone Dribbling for Ball Control and Endurance
Set 4-5 cones 20-30 feet apart. Begin at the first cone, quickly dribbling to the second. Move around the second, focusing on controlling the ball through the turn, and return to the first cone. Once around the first cone, move to the third, and so on.
4. Agility and Endurance Drills
Soccer isn’t just about speed. Players need to be agile, think on their feet, and have the endurance to sprint for long periods with little to no recoup time. Want to have fun while gaining agility and endurance? It’s time to skip, but not lazily. Each skip should be purposeful, with the player powerfully launching themselves upwards.
Push the ball forward and then catch it with the sole of the same foot. Practice with each foot individually, perfecting control, before pushing the ball forward with one foot and grabbing it with the other foot’s sole.
6. Toe Taps
Similar to the Push-Pull drill, except that the ball will remain stationary with Toe Taps. This exercise can be as complex or as simple as the player wants. Either stay stationary, incorporate patterns, or move around the ball, tapping as they go.
7. Wall Drills
If you don’t have anyone around to practice with, the wall will quickly become a favorite tool. There are a large number of drills to run with a wall, so we’ll only be highlight three here, but there are many more to choose from!
- Direct Touches: Kick the ball at the wall; when it comes back, push back with the inside of the foot.
- Give and Go: The give and go will simulate live passes from one player to the other as they move down the field. The goal is to aim at the wall at an angle, so it bounces and comes out further down than where you started. Continue moving up and down the wall, practicing your aim and control over the ball.
- The Hard-Stop: With strength and precision, kick the ball at the wall. Instead of directing it back to the wall, try to stop the ball on contact and then maneuver it in the opposite direction before doubling back and doing it again.
8. Goal Shots
Who says you need a goalie to practice your goal shots. Take time to practice shooting from all angles and into different parts of the net. The player can start stationary but should also practice running towards the goal and shooting as well. If you don’t have a goal, use another soccer ball or make targets on a wall.
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