Practice is the key to success in soccer and if you look at most of the top players in today’s game, they’re people who work hard for the skills they show on the pitch, often taking training to levels beyond the team’s sessions.
David Beckham said that he spent (and probably still spends) several hours per week beyond training, practicing his brilliant free kicks. Juninho Pernambucano, one of today’s best long range snipers practices shots after hours, from various ranges. And don’t think that Ronaldinho or Cristiano Ronaldo’s superb dribbling skills were all obtained during team practice, they’re also the result of long hours spent with the ball outside of the normal program.
So if you’re striving to better yourself and become a quality soccer player, it’s mandatory that you practice using soccer drills, either individually, pairing up with a teammate, or with a group of friends or teammates. I’ve prepared 3 fun soccer practice drills for each of these setups, hopefully you’ll find them useful in your training plan.
1. Soccer Drill for Individual Practice – Juggling
Juggling the ball may not have any accurate use in a match, because you’ll rarely (if ever) find yourself the space, time and need to juggle a ball more than twice during a game. However, soccer juggling affects a lot of other base soccer skills and it’s also one of the easiest and fun soccer practice drills to try out individually.
Soccer juggling affects your ball control ability, since by constantly keeping the ball in the air, you get to naturally understand how hard or soft the ball needs to be hit in order to control it. In-game, this affects your ability to stop and receive balls, as well as your dribbling skills, which often rely on how well you judge the strength and timing of your touch.
Other skills that soccer juggling has a positive effect on include balance, concentration and the ability to control the ball with both feet. Of all soccer drills for individual practice, juggling has the most benefic effects, so it’s well worth saving up a few minutes every day to juggle, either after practice, or even in your back yard.
2. Soccer Practice Drills for Pairs – One on One Dribbling
One on one dribbles work especially well when practiced in a pair. During a match, there will be countless occasions where you’ll need to take on an opponent one by one and the only way to practice this is with the help of a friend or a teammate.
It’s best if your training pair plays on a complementary position, as in someone that you would usually have to dribble against in a match. If you’re an attacker or offensive midfielder, you’ll want to practice one on ones with a defender, or defensive midfielder. Same concept goes the other way around.
It could also be a good idea to switch sides every now and then. After you play the attacker and try to get the ball past your pair, switch positions so that you’re the defender and he has the ball. This allows you to develop your attacking and defensive skills as you practice.
Also, in order to make this soccer practice drills more fun, you could keep a score. Whenever the attacker passes the ball past the defender, he gets a point. If the defender takes the ball away or stops the attack, he gets a point. Whoever reaches 10 points wins and you get to switch sides and start over.
3. Soccer Practice Drills for Groups – One Touch Passing
If you can find 3 or more teammates to get this soccer practice drill going, it will soon work out wonders to your passing, ball control and agility skills during matches. Here’s how it works (I’ll assume you have 5 more teammates to work with):
Split yourselves into 2 groups of 3, aligned face to face at a distance of a few yards. Group A starts, with the first player in the line passing the ball to the first player in Group B. After delivering the pass, the first player in Group A moves to the back of the line. The player in Group B receives the ball and one-touches it back to what should now be the second player in Group A and then moves to the back of his own line.
Do this as fast as possible and as accurate as possible, without needing more than one touch. You can play with different distances between the groups and once you get accustomed to the system, you can try passing the ball in mid-air, without allowing it to touch the ball and without the need for a stop. This is harder, as the passes need to be more accurate in order for the soccer practice drill to work.