Playing soccer is an art and must be practiced like anything else to be mastered. When you’re new to soccer kick-ups and passing are great, but there are so many skills in the game. Advance your game with some structured lessons that give you the core skills to improve.
So, what are some soccer workouts/drills for beginners?
- Improve your passing technique with wall passing
- Dribble fast and straight with dribbling in lanes
- Strike like a pro with turning and shooting
- Critical Box Play – dribble, pass, and shoot
- Defensive Challenge – defense vs attack
- Possession Retention – possession circle
- Individual Soccer Drills
- Passing Drill: Wall Passing
- Dribble Drill: Lane Dribbling
- Dribbling Lane – Drill Steps:
- Drill Extensions
- Shooting Drill: Turn and Shoot
- Team Workouts
- Attack vs Defense
- Possession Circles
- Secrets to Success
Players can practice these drills to advance from beginner to intermediate levels. You can perform the following beginner workouts to improve the different areas of your game.
Individual Soccer Drills
Soccer is a team game, but we as players need the right skills to perform well within the team. Having these basic skills will make a team play effectively. A striker is a player that depends on individual skills – mostly they will have no players in front of them and will have to perform well on their own. Often strikers are criticized for not being selfish – they need to take the opportunity when it comes.
Passing Drill: Wall Passing
A simple yet effective solo drill that has many variations, concentrating on different techniques and skills. All that’s needed is a ball and a wall.
Wall Passing – Drill Steps:
- The player should stand around 6 feet from a wall, gradually extending to 15 feet.
- The player picks a spot on the wall (mark it with chalk if possible) and passes the ball to that point.
- When the ball is rebounded, the player passes the ball back against the wall first time. This is repeated.
- Passes in a row targets or a timer should be set. A good target is 10 passes up to 30+, or 30 seconds up to 2 mins.
- The player should practice using either foot.
2-touch wall passing has the same concept as above but it involves 2 touches instead of one: 1 touch to control the ball, 1 touch to pass it.
There are variations to this drill:
- All right foot. Use only your right foot to complete the drill.
- All left foot. Use only your left foot to complete the drill.
- Both feet. Use a combination of the left and right feet to control and pass the ball.
- Set out a cone or marker. The player passes the ball from behind the marker. When the ball is rebounded back, the player waits for it to pass the marker/cone, then uses their first touch to shift the ball from one side of the cone/marker to the other, before playing the pass with their second touch. It’s important to use both feet in this variation.
Dribble Drill: Lane Dribbling
This is a great workout for practicing in-game type dribbling. It improves quickness, balance, and helps develop better ball control while running at speed.
Dribbling Lane – Drill Steps:
- Make running gates using markers. The markers should be around 4 feet apart. Set out 4 gates, 15 feet from each other.
- Starting at the first gate, the player dribbles at speed through each gate until they reach the end. Return to the starting point and go again.
- Speed is the focus but it has to be controlled. The player must have the ball under complete control at all times.
- It’s important for the player to keep their head up, making sure they run through each gate.
- He/she should start out slow and gradually build up speed, eventually dribbling as fast as they can.
Tips: Mix of long and short touches, utilizing the space while maintaining control of the ball – keep the ball under control.
- Shoot on goal or a cross after running through the final gate
- Make the lane narrower every 5 sessions
For a variation and a full drill to practice that will improve your dribbling in directions. Follow the video below which will increase your;
Shooting Drill: Turn and Shoot
This is a useful shooting drill that also involves a quick turn, requires good ball control and relies on a player’s positional awareness. A goalkeeper is good to have for advanced players but is not necessary.
Turn and Shoot – Drill Steps:
- The player stands 18 yards from a goal with their back to it and with the ball at their feet.
- To start the drill, the player takes a touch to turn goalward. The player can take one more touch before shooting, or shoot with their second touch.
- After shooting, the player returns to the starting point and repeats the drill.
- The player should practice going both directions and using either foot.
- It’s important to set targets for scoring or hitting a shot on target. Once these are met, a player can change the starting position of the drill.
The following workouts require at least 2 people but can be done with large groups. For the ones that involve shooting, a goalkeeper will come in handy. Each of these workouts incorporates a combination of the 4 core skills mentioned earlier.
Dribble, Give, Go, and Shoot
Main skill areas focused on:
- Controlled dribbling
- One-touch passing/shooting
3 main roles:
- Lay-off Passer
- The dribbler(s)/passer(s)/shooter(s) (player 1) line up on the goal-line, at the edge of the penalty box.
- The lay-off passer (player 2) stands with their back to goal at the edge of the box.
- The goalkeeper takes their place in goal.
- A marker is placed 20 yards from the dribbler(s), upfield.
Dribble, Give, Go, Shoot – Drill Steps:
- The first dribbler/passer/shooter dribbles from the start point to a marker 20 yards away.
- Once they have reached the marker, the player rounds it and is now facing the goal.
- They make a pass to their teammate at the edge of the box, then immediately run goalward, communicating where they want to receive the return pass.
- The lay-off passer gives a first-time pass (if possible), teeing up the player 1 for a shot on goal.
- Player 1 shoots on goal first-time (if possible).
- Once all players in the dribbler/passer/shooter line have taken a shot, a player should switch with the lay-off passer.
- The aim is for this to be a fast, slick, one-touch move. Players should take as few touches as possible. However, if a poor or difficult to control pass has been played, the receiver should not force a difficult first-time pass or shot. They should control the ball first, and then make their pass or shot.
- Communication is important for being accurate with passes.
- The goal shot should be coming from the edge of the penalty box or closer. This is not a long-range shooting drill.
Attack vs Defense
These drills are simple in nature but when performed well, they can be extremely useful to a team’s attack and defense, as well as improving individual skill.
There are 3 attackers versus 2 defenders (and a goalkeeper if there’s one available).
The attacking team starts out in possession around 30 yards from goal. The defense lines up on the edge of the penalty box. Quite simply, the attackers try to score, while the defenders try to stop them.
If possession is turned over, if a goal is scored, or if the ball goes dead, the round ends and the drill can be restarted. If the defense is successful, they should remain for the next round. If the attacking team scores, they should remain for the next round. If there is no structure, organization, or communication between the teams, this workout is wasted. The attackers and defenders must co-ordinate and play as teams.
- Occupy positions that stretch the defense, making the most of the numerical advantage.
- Pass and move quickly to create space and penetrate the defensive line.
- Be patient and wait for a good shooting chance. Avoid shooting from distance and from difficult positions. Space will be available if the above tips are followed.
- Communication is key. The defense is outnumbered so they must work cohesively as a unit. The goalkeeper plays a big role here as they can see the full picture.
- The defense must be well-positioned and occupy central positions. If they are dragged out wide, space will open up in front of the goal for the attackers.
- Defenders should not dive-in or over-commit to tackles, leaving them exposed.
This is the same drill as above, with fewer players. In soccer, endless amounts of scenarios can occur. It’s just as important to drill 2-on-1 scenarios, as well as 3-on-2 scenarios.
This type of workout is completed in training sessions by teams and players every day. When being done by the best players, this drill is a joy to watch. The primary focus is for the attackers (passers) but this is a very useful defensive drill also.
Main skill areas focused on:
- Quick passing
- Quality first touch
- Ball control
- Spatial awareness
- Quick feet
- Attackers line up in a circle formation. It’s best to have a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of attackers to defenders. The circle can start out larger, getting smaller as the drill goes on. However, the circle should not be too big.
- Defenders stand in the center of the circle.
Two examples of possession circle workouts: 1 small group and 1 large group.
Possession Circles – Drill Steps:
- The attackers start with the ball and attempt to keep possession.
- The defenders chase the ball around, tackling and intercepting.
- If an attacker loses possession, they swap positions with the defender who caused the turnover.
- For the first 1 or 2 rounds, don’t count passes.
- After a few runs, set passing targets. Start out with 10 and build your way up to 30+ passes if possible.
- Limit touches to 3 at first, then 2, then to 1 touch for the attackers.
- Make the circle smaller to increase the difficulty for the attackers.
- Pass quickly. This drill’s purpose is to get players faster at passing the ball.
- The key to the attacking team is to move the ball quickly, taking a few touches as possible. The secret to this is to stay on your toes, take a quality first touch, and keep your head up to spot the next available pass.
- Communication is essential (as with most team-based drills).
- Defensively, the players must take up good positions and communicate effectively. Otherwise, they will find themselves wasting energy going for the same ball. Anticipation and being light on your feet will help massively.
Take a look at how Barcelona do a possession circle. They only have one touch per player. It is a fun drill enjoyed by the pros around the world.
Secrets to Success
The keys here are simple:
- Be consistent with your workouts.
- Work on all aspects of your game.
- Concentrate on the specific skills practiced in each workout.
- Repetition! Keep your work rate high and maintain your practice routine. Practice makes perfect so don’t sell yourself short.
Finally, enjoy it. Take joy in your progression. Best of luck on your journey to becoming a better player.
Do you need to practice on a soccer field? Absolutely not! Whether you have a spare room in your house or a full soccer field to practice, there is something that can be done. In a small area, you can practice toe-taps, keepy-uppies, knees, and other footwork drills. It’s an advantage to have a soccer field at your disposal but it’s not a necessity.
Can you practice shooting without a goalkeeper? Yes. When there is no goalkeeper, you need to set accuracy targets. Pick a spot in the goal and shoot there 10 times. Change spot and shoot 10 times again. Repeat this, shooting to different areas of the goal. Take note of how many times you hit your target. Try to beat this score the next time. When there is no goalkeeper, it’s the perfect time to practice using your weaker foot also.