It’s no secret why the best soccer players in the world are so successful. They love the game and have dedicated their lives to becoming the best possible athletes that they can be. This means constantly working on improving their technique, building their physique, and thinking the game at a high level. Not only do soccer players need to be strong and powerful, they need to have agility, balance, and coordination, as well as speed and stamina.
Since practice is what’s needed for a good soccer player to become a great one, we’ve created a 60-minute practice plan that will focus on the game’s technical skills such as ball handling, passing, and shooting. These drills will also enhance your overall fitness, while improving your vision, reaction time, and awareness. They’ll not only develop your technical and physical skills, but also your mental ones. All of these drills can be done in small groups with five players or less.
Before you begin the drills, do some dynamic stretches to increase your range of motion and improve your agility. Then do a light jog around the field to increase your heart rate and cardio vascular endurance. By warming up properly prior to practice you will reduce the risk of any injuries.
After your jog, you may choose to do a few static leg stretches before getting going. Try and set aside at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to practice for stretching and jogging. And if you feel like you could use some extra energy and focus, there are sports nutrition supplements like Six Star’s Pre-Workout Explosion that accomplish just that with a scientifically researched dose of caffeine.
BALL CONTROL DRILLS (30 Minutes)
Ball control is one of the essential skills that all soccer players must possess. Solid ball handling and first touch technique will prevent opposing players from taking the ball off you quickly and easily. By having solid ball control and first touch skills, you and your team will be able to dictate play.
Drill 1 (5 Minutes): Straight Cone Dribble Drill
The Straight Cone Dribble Drill is designed to help you with your touch and control of the ball. It can either be done alone or with a teammate. Set up 10 cones in a straight line with around 3 feet in between each cone. If you have a friend that you’re practicing with, have them kick the ball to you at the first cone. Then control the ball and start dribbling through the cones with the inside of both feet, outside of both feet; inside and outside of the right foot; inside and outside of the left foot. When you’re at the last cone, make quick touches with the ball and get back to the first cone as quickly as possible. Make sure to concentrate as you execute this drill.
Drill 2 (10 Minutes): One On One Controlled Dribble Drill
For those of you practicing with a friend, this One On One Controlled Dribble Drill will get your competitive juices flowing and also help both of you improve your ball control and handling. Use cones to make a 50-foot by 50-foot field with 10-foot goals on each side. Then place the soccer ball in the middle of the field. Either you or your friend can start with the ball, or you may choose to start on the goal line and race up to the ball with the winner getting possession first. In order for a player to score, you must dribble around the other player before attempting to shoot the ball through the goal cones. After a player scores a goal, the other player starts with the ball from their end line where the other player just scored. Decide how many goals you and your friend want to play to (maybe three to five goals) and then the player who scores those three to five goals first wins.
Drill 3 (15 Minutes): Dribble Attack Dribbling Drill
Four players are needed for the Dribble Attack Dribbling Drill, which develops 1-on-1 confidence, dribbling skills, vision, speed, and change of direction ability. It’ll also help you work on your finishing technique. For this drill, you’ll need a goal (you can make one with cones if you don’t have a full size one available), a goalie, two defenders, and an attacker. The offensive player will dribble the ball toward Defender 1 and will try to dribble past that defender. If the offensive player is successful, the attacker will then try to dribble past Defender 2 with Defender 1 maintaining the area that they’re in. Defender 1 is not allowed to chase the attacker from behind, but is able to defend if the attacker decides to back away from Defender 2 and goes back into Defender 1’s space. If the offensive player is able to dribble past both defenders, then the attacker will take a shot on goal. After the shot, the offensive player will retrieve the ball and then become the goalie. The goalie will then play defense and one of the defensive players will play offense. Continue switching out until everyone has had a turn. The winner of this drill will be the player who has the most goals after two or three rounds.
PASSING DRILLS (15 Minutes)
Drill 1 (5 Minutes): One Touch, Two Touch Passing Drill
A 30-foot by 30-foot grid, or an area close to those dimensions, is needed for the One Touch, Two Touch Passing Drill. This drill is designed to improve a player’s quick thinking abilities. With two players standing inside the 30-foot by 30-foot grid, the practice begins when one player passes the ball and shouts either “one” or “two” to their partner. When receiving the ball, their partner must take as many touches as the number called. If the number is “one” then they must pass the ball back the first time. However, if the number is “two” then they must control the ball on their first touch and return the pass on their second touch. When returning the pass to their partner, they must also call out a number. To make a game of this drill, players are awarded a point for every mistake that their partner makes. The first player to reach five points will win the game. It’s important to note that the players must call out the number at the same time as they’re passing the ball. Each player must also deliver accurate ground passes.
Drill 2 (10 Minutes): Improving Quick Decisions When Passing Drill
The Improving Quick Decisions When Passing Drill requires four players, two balls, and will improve the speed of each player’s decision making when passing the ball. To set up the field, create a 30-foot by 30-foot grid with a cone in each of the four corners. Then choose three attackers and one defender. The attackers will each go to a cone, while the defender will stand in the center of the grid. The three attackers will try to keep possession from the defender while using two balls. The three offensive players are allowed to move anywhere within the grid. It’s the supporting offensive player’s job (the one without the ball) to work to offer the deepest and widest possible angles for the offensive players in possession of the ball. The defender’s goal is to tag the players in possession. After the defender tags a player, they will switch roles. A goal is scored for every ten passes the attackers can successfully make.
SHOOTING DRILLS (15 Minutes)
Drill 1 (7½ Minutes): Quick Turn And Fire Shooting Drill
Creating space in a packed penalty box is easier said than done. That’s why this Quick Turn And Fire Shooting Drill was designed. It simulates a game situation and teaches strikers to create space, turn, and fire off a shot on net. To do this drill, you’ll need three to four players and at least a 50-foot by 50-foot area with a goal. Place one cone in the corner of the field and another cone in the center of the field. There will be one offensive player, a goalie, and another player passing the ball to the shooter. Player 1 will run from the corner to the cone in the center of the field, checking back to receive a pass from Player 2 who will be stationed by the cone in the corner. Then Player 1 will turn and fire on Player 3 who is the goalie. After the shot, Player 1 will become the goalie, Player 2 will become the shooter, and Player 3 will become the one passing the ball. Keep this drill going in a continuous fashion, taking breaks as needed. If you have more players with you, you can add a defender to this drill, as well.
Drill 2 (7 ½ Minutes): 1v1 Diamond Shooting Drill
This 1v1 Diamond Shooting Drill focuses on a passing combination with movement off the ball and finishes with a one vs. one to the goal. This drill requires five players, a goal, and four cones set in the shape of a diamond about 50 to 60 feet from the goal. Each cone in the diamond should be about 30 to 35 feet apart. Have one player start in goal and the other four players each stand by cones 1 through 4. Player 1 will start with the ball and pass to Player 2. Then Player 1 will follow the pass and move to Player 2’s place. Player 2 will pass to Player 3 and then will move into defensive position. Player 3 passes to Player 4 and takes Player 4’s place. Player 4 will receive the ball and will take on Player 2 in a 1v1 battle to the goal. If Player 4 doesn’t score in the 1v1, Player 4 becomes the goalie. If Player 4 scores, then the goalie can remain in goal. When shooting on goal, remember to practice with both feet.
After the practice session make sure to cool down. Go for a light jog around the field and then stretch your hamstrings and calves, hip flexor, groin, quads, and glutes. By making the time to cool down, you’ll increase and prolong muscle relaxation, decrease the risk of injury during your next session, reduce fatigue, and improve flexibility.
To build muscle and increase strength, while also supporting your recovery, you can add sports nutrition supplements like Six Star 100% Whey Protein Plus to your cool down routine. Six Star 100% Whey Protein Plus was recently named one of the best supplements for 2021 by Men’s Health.