The 5 Best Soccer Drills for Beginners:
I hope you’re having a great week so far, and you’re staying safe and healthy and you’re training hard.
I’m guessing you’re reading this article because you’re a beginner and you want to have fun playing the beautiful game or you’re the parent of a beginner and you want your son or daughter to have a smile on their face while they play the beautiful game.
My goal within this article is to breakdown the 5 Best Soccer Drills for beginners in the simplest terms possible so you can take the information you got out of this article to go ahead and execute on these drills.
Why do Beginner Drills ?
As a beginner, doing specific drills will help you become more familiar with the ball at your feet, you will gain confidence and comfort on the ball, and ultimately, improve your overall playing ability.
More importantly, when you become more confident and more comfortable on the ball, you will enjoy the game more.
And that’s why we all play, right? Because we love it.
If you can feel comfortable and confident with the ball at your feet and play a major role in your team winning games, you’ll have even more fun.
Trust me, winning is not everything, but it’s definitely important!
Let’s give you a simple analogy: was riding a bike fun the first time you tried it out?
Did your first introduction of vegetables taste good?
I’m sure Cheetos taste better, but I hope by now you ditched the Cheetos, and you’re eating more veg 🙂
You get my point, don’t you?
Everything gets more fun once you become “semi-good” at it and you focus on the mastery of the basics.
Whether you’re 7 years old and just starting out with soccer, 12 years old and joining your local club, or even an adult just curious about learning more about this beautiful game, you are more than welcome here!
If you are reading this article, you’re most likely serious about improving your own level and enjoying the game and I applaud you for that !
At the end of the day, what I want is for you to have a smile on your face every time you step on and off that pitch 🙂
Anyways, enough beating around the bush.
Make yourself comfortable, maybe grab yourself a coffee or tea?
And let’s get into 5 of the best soccer drills for beginners!
Before we hop into the 5 best drills for beginners, I just want to preface them with these couple of points because I want to make everything as easy as possible and easily as implementable for you.
Video Guides/ Walkthroughs
Each drill below has video tutorials along with it and I will also coach you through the entire movement, so you can master that movement.
Just make sure you turn the volume on and listen to me coach you 🙂
Technique > Speed:
As always, please don’t rush through these drills. Master the technique first, before adding speed or complexity.
Use Your Weak Foot:
Please please please make sure you use your weak foot as much as your strong foot. You don’t want the gap between your strong foot and weak foot to get too big overtime…
5 Best Soccer Drills for Beginners
5. Small-Sided Games
Drill 1- Juggling:
Why Should You Do it ?
- Juggling is an essential and fun skill to master for any beginner in soccer.
- It involves keeping the ball in the air without using your hands and requires focus, coordination, and balance.
- Juggling helps improve your touch on the ball, which is crucial in soccer to control the ball better.
Control the ball, control the game !
My Coaching Tips:
a) Start by dropping the ball from your hands towards the ground and trying to kick the ball accurately back into your hands.
b) Go for 1-3 sets of 20 reps with each foot or 1-3 sets x 1-2 minutes on each foot.
Once you get comfortable with this, try this same drill with different surfaces of your foot and try to make more touches without having to catch the ball:
Then you start walking with the ball in the air:
And your end goal is to get to here, Where You Can Run with the Ball While in the Air:
Drill 2- Passing & First Touch
Why Should You Do it ?
- Passing drills will help you learn to pass the ball accurately to help your team make progress up the pitch. I’m sure you’ve heard your coach say: “the ball moves faster than the man.” If you don’t understand that, he is trying to say that the speed of the ball (a pass) can move faster than the speed of the ball carrier (if you dribble).
- Passing the ball will help your team get closer to the oppositions goal with the obvious aim of scoring goals, winning games and securing those 3 points!
- Mastering passing will help you develop your overall vision and awareness of the field which is one of the most important aspects of the game.
When you want to improve your first touch and passing, the wall is your best friend!
Wall passing is an excellent soccer drill for beginners and even advanced players. I’m 28 years old, and still use the wall if I don’t have anyone to pass with.
Don’t believe me? Listen to Dr. Berbatov:
The Importance of Your First Touch:
-Confident control with the ball at your feet lets you become tactically aware because we’re not focusing on the touch, so you can focus more on the external environment and stimuli (the field and your teammates around you).
-The goal is to get so good with your touch that you don’t need to think about receiving the ball, and you can have your head up at all times to see your next pass and/or next action.
The Goals of Your First Touch:
-Improve speed of play, play quicker.
-More dynamic transition
-Move body off the ball to create better angles
Body Position: make sure you’re balanced and comfortable as we receive the ball.
Weight of the touch: you want to properly weight your first touch to set up your next pass.
My Tips :
a) Start working off a wall as soon as possible. This will help you develop your passing ability and first touch better than any other gadget!
b) Stand about 6-20 feet away (closer if you’re a beginner) from a wall with a ball.
c) Pass the Ball Against the wall using a variety of surfaces.
d) Use the inside, outside, laces, soles, mix it up!
e) Take 2 touches, 1 touch, experiment with the distance.
f) Once you you get more comfortable, add more complex variations such as one-touch passes or volleys.
As always though, step by step ! Master the basics and then progress 🙂
Here are a couple of drills you can try out:
Drill 3- Dribbling:
Why Should You Do it ?
- Dribbling drills will help you move around with the ball to create space for yourself and your team.
If you can’t play a “safe pass” to a teammate higher up the pitch than you, dribbling the ball is the next best option.
The goal with your dribble should be to progress the game forward in a positive direction.
If you are a winger or an attacking center midfielder, I would highly recommend working on your 1 v 1 abilities, and your ability to beat a player.
If you can beat players 1 v 1 and create goal scoring opportunities for your team, I promise you that you will standout on any pitch you play on.
- Mix in a variety of dribbling drills to your training. They will help improve your overall agility, balance, and coordination with and without the ball at your feet.
My tips :
a) The best dribbling drills for beginners is the classic cone weave and some simple ball mastery to work on all surfaces of your feet and the weight of your touch and the manipulation of the ball and working all surfaces of your foot at different speeds and angles.
b) The cone line is simple:
Set up a line of 5-10 cones in a straight line, about 1-3 steps apart from each other.
c) Dribble the ball through the cones using a variety of patterns in a weaving motion while maintaining control of the ball.
d) As always, you want to work slowly, get your pattern, rhythm and movement down and then work to get to full speed.
e) Go for 5-15 consecutive reps with each foot or for time. As always the most important thing is your technique!
f) This drill will develop your ability to control the ball at different speeds and angles while improving your footwork and coordination.
As this gets easier, you can increase the speed or distance between cones to make it more challenging. Also, try to use both feet in the drill once you’re comfortable using both feet individually.
Here are a couple of cone line variations:
I would also recommend some ball mastery drills to get comfortable with all surfaces of your foot and the feel of the ball:
Drill 4- Shooting:
Before we get into the drills, you need to make sure you are well warm before getting into shooting drills!
Shooting can be very taxing on the body, so make sure to go through a proper warmup before getting into it!
If you don’t know how to warmup before a session, try this:
Why Should You Do it ?
- The objective of the game is to score more goals than the other team.
Without goals, your team cannot win.
-It’s important for you to work on it as and individual to give your team a better chance of winning games.
- When you practice shooting drills regularly, you will improve your ability to strike the ball with precision. This will also help your overall striking of the ball which will also help with your long range and short range passing.
My tips :
a) As usual, start simple before moving onto more complexity and intesnity. You can work with a stationary shooting drill.
b) Stand at the 5-yard line, PK Spot or the 18 Yard Line with the ball (depending on your level and training experience):
Work to Mix a First Touch In:
Go for 1-3 sets of 5-10 quality reps with each foot or work for 1-2 minutes.
The goal of this drill is quality and precision. You want to hit the corner and side netting every time.
Once you have the accuracy down, you can start to hit he ball with more pace.
With shooting, quality is always more important than quantity!
It’s better to hit 10-20 quality shots than 60 random ones, where only one in five of the reps are actually decent!
Once you master the simple, you can start to add more complexity, speed and intensity into the drill.
Try these out:
Off the Turn:
Off the Cone Line Dribble:
If you want to go in depth into how to improve your shooting, check out this article from a couple of weeks ago.
Also, you don’t necessarily need a goal for shooting. It’s definitely not as fun as hearing that net swish when you strike a nice ball, but a wall can do the trick as well 🙂
Drill 5- Small-Sided Games/Pick Up Matches:
What is pick up/small sided?
This is a non-official match where you get together with a bunch of friends and or other soccer players and you play competitive soccer.
The level of competitiveness depends on who you play with.
Your goal is to challenge yourself but not play to high above your level where you don’t have fun.
Why Should Play Them?
- These games help you apply the skills you’ve practiced with our 5 best drills for beginners to real-game situations.
You will be able to perform your skills in a smaller environment with more pressure which will improve the quality and speed of your decision making.
- These will help you improve your game understanding and how to work with a team.
- Also, while playing the beautiful game, you will improve your fitness levels, coordination on and off the ball and your defending skills within a soccer context and soccer situation.
My Tips :
Drills are excellent but you and me can both agree that nothing beats actually playing the game to have fun and at the end of the day, improve your ability!
Go to your local park or pitch, get together with some friends and play games. This will be crucial for your development, not only in terms of pure skills but also for developing a winning mindset, playing within a team and verbal and non-verbal communication.
There’s not as much pressure within these small-sided games so you can try things and take risks that you wouldn’t normal do within a competitive team environment.
Make sure you’re using your weak foot during the game and experiment with different 1 v 1 moves and touches.
When you get onto the bigger pitch, you will have already performed this stuff in a smaller setting so it will be easier to execute in a bigger space.
As cliché as this may sound, practice makes perfect.
You’re going to have to put in a lot of work over an extended period of time to master the fundamentals.
Think about the most successful sports figures in the world : Cristiano Ronaldo, Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps… They reached the top of their respective sports through hard, smart and consistent work over 10, 15, 20 years.
Personally, I’ve been playing footy for 24 years and been in the fitness industry for close to 13 years.
I’ve obsessively studied how the body operates in order to optimize myself, my clients and you.
I want to bring as much value as I can to footballers all over the world through my free content, the RicFit Academy App as well as my 1-on-1 program.
I want to be the mentor that I wish I had when I was working to sign my first professional contract.
You’ve got to put in the hard work to achieve anything special, we all know that.
As we’ve spoken about multiple times within the article, I want you to focus on quality over quantity.
Take the drills I’ve presented slowly, groove the movements, feel the ball on your foot and take them in slow motion.
As soon as you feel comfortable, within the drill, you can speed it up and add more complexity.
Though, we never want to sacrifice technique for speed.
The most important thing is to start with the few fundamentals like we’ve spoken about above and do them consistently while ensuring your quality is high.
I’d rather give you these 5 simple drills that you can do on a weekly basis and that are easy to remember, rather than give you 20 and have you be overwhelmed and confused!
Trust me, I’m no artist of any sorts… But I can relate to a good quote when I see one….
Leonardo Da Vinci, arguably one of the most successful artists in history, said:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
I couldn’t agree more. Why overcomplicate everything?
The key is to master fundamentals, and slowly but surely build up and up over the years to achieve special things, I truly believe that.
I can guarantee this will bring results. And once you get those results and reap the benefits of your work, you’ll want more and more !
Enjoy the journey, and good luck !
To sum it all up, I’d like to end this article on a very important note that I think all players and parents need to understand.
It’s essential to have fun and enjoy the game, especially when starting out learning soccer.
It’s important to remember that these 5 best drills for beginners that I’ve laid out are just tools to help you improve your technique and build confidence with the ball.
The drills should be seen as an opportunity for growth, not punishment.
Doing drills can help you become better at soccer. They teach you how to control the ball, and be more comfortable and confident on the which will make it easier to have fun playing.
When done properly, consistently and with quality, soccer training drills will give you an advantage over other players and help you reach higher levels in soccer, I can assure you of that 🙂
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Anyway, have fun with these drills, try them out with some friends or teammates, and let’s get started! Good luck!
Thanks for reading. Until next time my friend. 🙂