It takes a lot of time on the field to get good at every part of the game, from your first touch to your free kicks.
Even great soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have spent hours practicing with a ball at their feet.
With soccer becoming more popular in the US and stars like David Beckham setting up a new soccer team in Miami, there’s no better time than now to start training, join a team, and start playing.
So, we’ve put together a guide to the best individual soccer workouts for kids and adults who want to improve their skills.
From passing to shooting, this book will show you the best workouts and techniques for improving your game at the individual level.
Also, in the section below called “Frequently Asked Questions,” we’ll clear up some training myths.
But let’s warm up and start with what you’ll need to get started with your training.
Equipment For Individual Drills
For these soccer drills, you only need a few things.
First of all, you really need at least one soccer ball. If you’re serious about your training, you should get more than one football.
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You will also need some cones, and if you want to play soccer, you should also get some nets.
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Last but not least, you’ll need a wall to play against and a soccer goal to shoot for. These can be hard to get, and you don’t have to have them for your training, but they will come in handy when we do the next workouts. A rebounder is one thing you could do.
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Individual Ball Control And First Touch Drills
Without a good first touch, you won’t be able to control the ball and will quickly lose it in a game.
That’s why it’s so important to put a lot of work into developing a good first touch, and to keep doing so even after you’ve mastered the skill.
We’ve put together a list of five exercises you can do anywhere to help you get a better grip on the soccer ball.
This is a simple but effective way to improve your control of the ball. It’s a great activity for kids who are just starting out in the game.
You can do this exercise on grass or on a hard surface, but if you want to play 11-a-side soccer, you should train in your boots so you can feel the ball better.
Get the soccer ball and do 10 “keepy-uppys” on both your left and right feet four times.
Technically, you want to keep your foot level under the ball so that when it bounces off your laces and into the air about a foot, it doesn’t go off in strange directions.
After you’ve done 10 juggles on each foot, you might want to make it harder by doing 20 juggles on each foot and then doing that four times. Then, as you juggle, think about switching which foot you’re using and make sure to use both your strong and weak feet equally.
I think you should move on to mini-juggling when you’re ready. Here, we’ll use many light touches to gently lift the ball up from our laces. Train your weak foot as much as your strong foot by doing about 20 mini-juggles on each foot and then switching.
One-Touch Wall Passes
Wall passes are a great way for players to improve their passing skills and get better at handling a ball that is coming at them fast.
For the one-touch passing drill, all you need is a wall and a football. To start, hit the ball gently into the wall with your right foot. Then, keep passing the ball back to the wall with the inside of your left foot, without touching the ball.
After ten rotations with one foot, switch to the other foot and do another ten rotations the same way. After you’ve done this for four sets of ten, you should speed up your passes to force the ball into the wall and keep up the pace.
As your speed goes up, you’ll need to change the shape of your foot to keep the ball moving straight toward the wall so you can pass with more accuracy.
Advice from a professional: be ready for anything. You’ll be able to keep track of the ball better and respond faster to shots from behind the net.
Two-Touches Wall Passes
Similar to the one-touch wall pass, but this time we’ll add another touch and focus a bit more on passing accurately. The first step is to mark a striking zone on the wall, which is where you will play the ball. Set up two cones about half a meter apart in front of the ball, and use your right foot to hit the ball between the cones.
When the ball hits the wall again, trap it with your left foot and pass it back to your striking zone with your right. After ten times, switch feet so you can practice control with your right foot and passing with your left.
Tip: Use the inside of your foot to control the ball and to pass it. This will let you catch the pass gently when it comes to your feet and give you better accuracy when you pass the ball.
Wall Volleys (With Added Variations)
This time, instead of passing the ball along the ground, we’ll chip it into the air.
With this drill, you can try out different variations.
The first is to hit the ball off the wall and volley it back to the wall without touching it. Again, this may be a little hard, and you’ll need to stay on your toes and use your instep to handle the ball coming down on you.
Once you’ve worked on the no-touch wall volley with both feet, you can start to touch the wall.
When the ball bounces off the wall and lands at your feet, touch it. Try to use your juggling skills to bounce the ball back into the air with one foot and then volley it back into the wall with the other.
Throw the ball against the wall one last time, but this time throw it lower so that it comes back to you at chest height. You can easily control the ball if you touch it with your chest and then use your foot to hit it back at the wall.
The first touch should be light and soft. When catching a pass in the air, it’s best to soften the impact of the ball hitting your foot by giving it a light touch.
The High Ball
Everyone in a game hates having to deal with a high ball. But the best players, like Luis Suarez, can catch a ball that comes from more than 35 meters in the air!
I’m not saying you should drop soccer balls from a crane to get better at handling them when they come at you from above, but you should still practice your skills when the ball is coming at you from above.
To start this workout, throw the ball up in the air and try to catch it with a light touch anywhere on your foot, from the bottom of your foot to your shoelaces. The goal is to soften the impact so that the ball rises about a foot before bouncing off your boot and falling gracefully to the ground.
When you feel comfortable, try kicking or throwing the ball higher in the air and then passing it to make the game more difficult and exciting.
Don’t take your eyes off the ball, that’s some advice. If you let the high ball fall at your foot instead of trying to catch it, you’ll have better control of it and feel less pain.
Individual Passing Drills
Passing the ball is one of the most important soccer skills to learn. Without being able to pass, it will be hard for your team to score goals.
Whether you’re training for a long or short pass, it can be hard to do it on your own. You may need a training partner.
But we’ve come up with a few passing exercises you can do on your own to improve your skills.
Short Passing Gate Drill
Soccer drills like one-touch and two-touch wall passing, which we talked about earlier in this article, are great ways to get better at passing.
During this exercise, the wall is available for use once more.
Just lean two cones against the wall, one meter apart, and the ball will be able to roll through. Set up a second target one meter along the wall from your first gate, and a third gate one meter from that.
Set up three gates against the wall and try to pass the ball into each one to work on your one-touch and two-touch wall passing.
Pass with both feet and change which gates the ball goes through.
Also, if you have space behind you and a lot of footballs, you could set up a bunch of gates or targets behind you and place them at different angles.
Then, you can practice by throwing the ball at the wall, picking it up, and throwing it back to one of the back targets.
You might get better at moving your feet and passing the ball to a teammate after receiving a pass if you do this.
Expert Advice: Keep your head up. Before you get the ball during a game, look around the field and make a note of where your teammates are. This will make it much easier to get the ball to them.
Long Passing Target Practice
If you can throw great passes like Frank Lampard or David Beckham, you can use long passes to break down defenses.
If you want to be able to hit your winger from sixty meters away, you can practice at home with this long passing target exercise.
First, you’ll need to set up a target zone.
Here is where you should try to pass the ball. Make a square with five steps between each side.
Then move away from the square about 20 meters. This is where you will start.
Then, you must play ground, ground aerial, and air passes into that square with the goal of stopping at least one pass in the target, rolling at least one pass through the target, and bouncing at least one aerial pass through the target.
When you’re ready to switch feet, move your starting point back ten more meters and keep doing the workout until you can no longer reach the goal.
The most powerful way to make a long pass is to lean into it, keep your head above the ball, and hit it through with your shoelaces. Do not lean back, or you will lose control of the shot and send the ball into the air.
Individual Dribbling Drills
Now, don’t think that wingers and forwards are the only ones who need to work on dribbling.
Every soccer player who wants to keep the ball needs to be able to dribble well.
To keep control of the ball and keep it from getting stolen, they need to be good at dribbling, be able to change directions, and be able to hold on to it. While forwards have to pick up the ball and get through the defense to score.
Try these two great dribbling activities for individuals in the backyard to learn how to handle the ball better while running.
Figure Of Eights
The figure of eight is the first thing that all junior players will learn.
Participants just set up two cones 10 meters apart in a straight line for this easy game. Get the ball and start running as fast as you can between the two markers.
When you get to the first cone, dribble around it in a circle and then move on to the next one.
Then, you can change how you dribble around the circuit, like using only your left foot or only your instep or outstep. As you go from one cone to the next, run quickly and switch your feet.
Tip: When you dribble, keep your head up. This lets you see where your teammates are and pass the ball between you and them.
This is a great exercise for people who want to get better at moving their feet.
Slaloms test how well a competitor can use their whole foot to get through a maze of cones. You should leave at least 0.5 meters between your cones.
As you get better at weaving around these cones, you’ll be able to move them closer together. For now, put them a meter apart and work on getting them closer together.
Now it’s time to pick up the football and move around the cones.
Try to finish the course as quickly as possible without knocking any of the cones over.
For beginners just starting out, try to use both feet and all parts of each foot.
Try rolling the ball between the cones with the bottom of your foot and then pushing the ball away from your feet with the outside of your foot.
You can make this workout harder by putting the slalom in a circle. This will move your body’s center of gravity away from the ball, making it harder to keep your balance.
If you want to, you can move one foot at a time. Feel free to try different things. Try only stepping out with your left foot and only stepping in with your right foot.
Running fast with the ball is a hard skill to learn. But once they’ve done that, the best wingers and attackers can use their speed to blow holes in the defenses of their opponents.
Set up a series of gates on a 60-meter-long circuit for this exercise. Below is a picture that shows how these staggered gates will look.
From the starting line, the players will race through each gate while carrying the soccer ball. Due to the different angles of the gates, runners will have to change their path quickly and skillfully as they run through the course.
This shows how players try to get away from defenders who are closing in on them as they move up the field.
If you want to make this exercise harder, try making the distance between the gates shorter. This will force you to change your course at a steeper angle.
When running fast, one tip is to keep the football close to your feet.
Individual Shooting Drills
One of the best things in life is scoring a goal.
Even more so if the shot comes from a long way outside the penalty area.
But you can’t win games without goals, so it’s important to do these soccer drills to improve your shooting skills.
Find a goal, preferably a full-sized one if you’re playing 11-a-side soccer, to do these solo soccer workouts.
Here are the best shooting drills you can do on your own to help you score goals like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The standing shot is a great exercise for soccer players who want to improve their shooting accuracy.
Placements of balls all over the field look like free-kick practice. I would start in the middle, about 20 to 30 yards from the goal, pick a target zone, and take a swing.
This training activity is all about being precise and getting to know the ball better.
Use your laces to hit the ball up and through for the most impact. A lot of young soccer players don’t finish their shots, so make sure your follow-through is as big as your backswing. Just like in golf, your follow-through gives the ball spin and direction.
Here is also a good place to practice adding power and spin to your shot. Try pulling the ball back a little further from where you started and see how much you have left.
Even if you don’t have a goalie, don’t worry. If you’re feeling creative, you can build some goals in the goal you want to shoot at.
For example, you could hang some targets from the crossbar in the corners of the goal or put some water bottles on the floor that you can try to knock over.
Lying Down Shot
This is a fun exercise that makes the athlete quickly change their body position before shooting.
Similar to the standing shot, this one has the player lay facedown five meters from the ball, pick a target, and quickly get up to take the shot.
This technique is meant to help strikers get their feet in the right place before they hit the ball, and it can be very funny to watch strikers trip over their feet before hitting the ball.
It’s meant to be like a game situation where the player has very little time to get their feet in the right place before shooting.
Shoot On The Move
Most of your shots on goal will be taken while you’re moving, so it’s important to know how to shoot while moving.
You can reach this goal if you roll the ball forward first and then shoot it. Start by standing in the middle of the goal, maybe 20 yards away, and shooting with both feet. Aim for both corners and try to hit the ball high into the net and low along the floor.
After getting a feel for the ball with both feet, try going for the goal from different places, like the left and right sides of the field.
Run up to your shots, dribble forward about five to ten yards, and then put your foot on the shot.
Advice: Don’t just focus on making your shot better. When dribbling the ball in this drill, you should try to be as accurate as possible.
The Assault Course
This drill makes strikers get into shooting position after a series of sprints, sidesteps, and dribbles.
The three-stage assault course is meant to look like a striker running in a zigzag pattern and cutting back onside before shooting on goal.
Start the Assault course by sidestepping between the first set of zigzag cones, which are about 30 yards from the goal. Now, he or she will pick up a football and dribble it through a maze of cones. For the slalom and sidestep courses, it’s up to you to decide how many and how far apart the cones should be.
Once the slalom is over, the player should grab the ball and run to a cone in the middle of the field. There, they will do a loop around the cone, take a touch, and try to score a goal.
The last spin should look like a striker getting the ball or dribbling past a defender with his back to the goal, turning, putting his body in position, and shooting.
This is a great drill for strikers who want to improve their hitting.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Be Training My Soccer Skills?
You should try to work on your skills at least twice a week, not counting team practices. As with everything else, the more time and effort you put into something, the better you will get at it.
Are Soccer Players Naturally Talented?
Some players, like Cristiano Ronaldo, have fast feet because they were born with them. However, many others, like Cristiano Ronaldo, have improved their skills through practice and experience. Again, the key to success is to do things over and over.
What Is The Most Important Skill In Soccer?
For me, it’s all about touch.
Your touch determines how well you can handle the ball and do almost everything else, from dribbling to shooting. In the end, the more time you put into getting better at controlling the ball, the better the rest of your game will be.
My best advice for setting up your own soccer training sessions is to make sure you’re always having fun. Soccer is all about having fun and showing off your skills, so make sure you’re having fun whether you’re practicing a hard skill or just getting back into the game.
But put in the time and effort to improve your soccer skills away from the field so that when you step over the white line on game day, you can start racking up some impressive stats.
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