Maximize Your Performance: Exciting Soccer Drills for Young Athletes

September 03 2023 – Power Rich

Maximize Your Performance: Exciting Soccer Drills for Young Athletes
Maximize Your Performance: Exciting Soccer Drills for Young Athletes

Whether you're just starting on your coaching journey or have years of experience under your belt, creating engaging and dynamic soccer workouts is a universal struggle. As mentors, we know that the best soccer training drills foster skill development and nurture your team’s passion for the game. In this blog post, we are going to walk through a diverse range of exercises that will captivate your players' hearts. From creative passing and shooting soccer drills for precision to small-sided games that simulate match situations, you'll find an assortment of activities to take your practice sessions to new heights. Let’s get started!


Benefits of Doing Soccer Drills

Whether you're setting up soccer drills for individuals or the whole team, the advantages they offer are undeniable. Not only do these activities help stamina, coordination, and balance, but they also enhance cognitive skills such as decision-making, problem-solving, and spatial awareness. As players continuously practice their skills, they start to develop muscle memory, helping lead to quicker decision-making and improved on-field performance. 

While focusing on improving individual soccer techniques, these drills also play a crucial role in developing teamwork. As they go through group exercises, communicating effectively and adapting to each other's styles, they’ll learn valuable skills that will help them both on and off the field.


 Essential Soccer Drill Equipment 

Before diving in, let's talk about some of the equipment you should have on hand.


  1. First and foremost, soccer balls are a must! However, not just any will do. Make sure to consider your team’s age group before deciding on which size you will buy. Wondering which one is right for you? Check out Nike’s recommendations here.
  2. Cones or markers are also essential for setting boundaries, creating targets, or marking different stations. They provide a visual guide, ensuring players stay within designated zones enhancing focus and discipline.
  3. During your practice sessions, consider utilizing bibs or pinnies like these. They’re accommodating for players to identify teammates and opponents during small-sided soccer drills and help coaches quickly analyze the game.
  4. While not mandatory, optional equipment like agility ladders and mini-hurdles can add variety and excitement.


Warm-up Activities 

Practice sessions should always start with a warm-up. Making time for these exercises will prepare players by increasing their blood flow, improving flexibility, and reducing the risk of injuries. Remember, the warm-up should gradually increase in intensity, starting with

low-intensity exercises and progressing to more dynamic movements. Here are some examples:

  1. Dynamic stretching: Some examples include arm & leg swings, hip circles, high knees, butt kickers, walking lunges, and more.
  2. Cardio: Incorporate running variations like shuttle runs. This one, in particular, requires you to set up cones at varying distances and ask players to sprint back and forth between them, always returning to the starting point before going to the next one.
  3. Balance: Challenge your players to work on their credit. Ask them to stand on one leg and maintain their balance for 15-30 seconds before switching legs. Make it more challenging by asking them to close their eyes!


Dribbling Drills 

Dribbling is a fundamental exercise, helping players develop close ball control to maneuver their plays around the field effectively. Let’s break down two circuits that target developing soccer foot skills:

Cone Weave:

  1.  Objective: Let’s start with one of our favorite soccer cone drills. The cone weave is a simple yet effective way to clean up your players’ technique.
  2. Players: 6
  3. Equipment: 8 cones (number will depend on the player's skill level and the available space) & 1 soccer ball.
  4. Set-up: Position a marker 5 yards from the initial cone to mark the designated starting point. Place a series of cones in a straight line, approximately 1-2 yards apart from each other. Use your last marker to identify the finish line 5 yards from the dribbling weave.
  5. Execution: Ask everyone to line up at one end, with the first player starting with a ball at their feet. Have them assume a ready stance with their knees slightly bent and their body balanced. Once ready, it's time to dribble through the cones in a zig-zag pattern. Once P1 has completed it from both sides, tell them to pass it on to P2 and go to the back of the line. Once they’ve mastered the basic technique, work on increasing the speed. Get them to complete the cone weave quickly without sacrificing precision.

Shark & Minnows:

  1. Objective: This one falls under both the defensive and offensive soccer drills category, depending on each individual's role. The goal is to enhance players' evasion and teamwork skills while having fun in a competitive environment.
  2. Players: Flexible
  3. Equipment: 4-8 cones to mark the grid, 1-2 pinnies, and a few soccer balls (this will depend on how many players you have; each individual should have one).
  4. Set-up: Create a playing area that is 20 x 25 yards, but feel free to adjust the size as needed.
  5. Execution: Select one or two players to be the "Sharks” and have them wear the pinnies. The rest of the players will be the "Minnows." Start the game with the Sharks standing in the center while the Minnows spread out at the grid's edges. Once a Minnow is tagged, it becomes a Shark joining in pursuing the remaining Minnows. The game continues until all Minnows are ranked and one player is left. Once one round is complete, rotate the roles so that different players have the opportunity to be Sharks and Minnows.


Passing and Receiving Drills

Passing and receiving soccer exercises are essential for developing crucial skills for maintaining possession, building effective attacks, and enhancing overall teamwork on the field. These drills improve players' passing accuracy, technique, and first touch, fundamental gameplay elements.


Triangle Passing


  1.  Objective: This drill aims to enhance players' passing and receiving soccer technique, communication, and quick decision-making in a confined space. It also helps them understand the importance of angles and positioning during passing sequences.
  2. Players: This should have a group of 3 players forming a triangle. However, multiple triangles can be set up simultaneously to involve more people in the activity.
  3. Equipment: You will need one soccer ball per group and cones to mark the corners of the triangles.
  4. Set-up: Place three cones on the ground to form a triangle with equal sides. Ensure the distance between each cone is appropriate for the skill level of the players (usually around 5 to 10 yards).
  5. Execution: Assign three players to each triangle, with one player positioned at each cone. The player with the ball initiates the drill by passing it to one of the other players in the triangle. The receiving player then passes the ball to the third player in the triangle, and the sequence continues in this manner.


Wall Pass


  1. Objective: Soccer first touch drills like this one help create quick and effective plays on the field.
  2. Players: 2 players per group.
  3. Equipment: You will need one soccer ball per group and a wall (e.g., a solid wall, rebound board, or flat surface) for players to pass against.
  4. Set-up: Find a suitable wall or rebound board that is flat and sturdy enough to handle repeated ball impacts.
  5. Execution: The first player (P1) begins the drill by passing the ball firmly against the wall. As the ball rebounds, P1 controls it and plays another pass to player 2 (P2). Then, repeat the process with P2 kicking the ball towards the wall, receiving it, and passing it to their teammate. Encourage players to use both their dominant and weaker feet during the drill. This helps them become more comfortable using both sides, making them more versatile players on the field. To challenge them further, ask them to try executing the wall pass and subsequent pass with just one touch each, further improving their speed of play.


Shooting Drills

Shooting soccer drills help players improve their accuracy and confidence in front of the net. Practicing regularly allows players to develop the skills needed to capitalize on scoring opportunities during matches, ultimately contributing to a team's success on the field.


Keep Away

  1. Objective: There are tons of soccer shooting drills out there. This one does it all. Use this exercise to enhance your players’ passing, receiving, and shooting skills in a dynamic and challenging setting.
  2. Players: 9 players. 6 on the defensive & 3 on the offensive.


  1.  Equipment: 1 soccer ball, 4-6 cones, 2 goal posts & 3 pinnies (optional).
  2. Set-up: Create a rectangular playing area using cones, adjusting its size based on the number of players and the available space.
  3. Execution: Begin the game by throwing the ball into the field, where players will rush to gain possession. If an attacker gets it first, their team can attempt to score while the defenders try to win the ball back and prevent them from shooting. If a defender gains control, their team must pass the ball among themselves to maintain possession. Encourage passes between players and rotate often to ensure everyone gets a try.


1- on-1 Shootout:

  1. Objective: This is one of the most effective goal kick drills because it gives players plenty of time to practice their shooting.
  2. Players: 2 players by there can be multiple groups set up
    1. Equipment: 1 soccer ball per group and 4 cones or 2 goalposts.
    2. Set-up: Section of a rectangular space with one goalpost on each side.
  3. Execution: The first player from each pair takes turns shooting for a goal while the other player acts as the goalkeeper. After each shot, the roles switch, providing ample chances for players to practice shooting and goalkeeping skills. Encourage players to focus on proper shooting technique, aiming for accuracy and power, while the goalkeeper works on positioning and shot-stopping abilities.


Small-Sided Games

Small-sided soccer games simulate real match scenarios. They are great soccer drills for communication, promoting team bonding, and improving players' instincts.


Simon Says

  1. Objective: Enjoy a classic 4x4 game that also happens to be one of the most fun soccer foot skill drills out there. Simon Says challenges players to listen and follow instructions while honing their footwork and coordination.
  2. Players: 8 players split into two teams.
  3. Equipment: 1 soccer ball, 4-6 cones, 2 goalposts, and 8 pinnies (optional).
  4. Set-up: Create a rectangular space with cones and a goalpost on each end.
  5. Execution: Engage in a standard 4v4 game with a twist – you instruct the players on their dribbling actions. When a team has the ball, call out commands like "switch feet," "change direction," and "inside foot" to guide the players. If they can’t complete the action or lose possession, one point gets deducted from their score; however, if they get it right, they get a moment, adding an element of challenge and skill development to the game.


The Four-Goal Game

  1. Objective: The four-goal game is a great soccer drill for testing your team’s on-field awareness and improving their ability to build strategic plays.
  2. Players: 12 players split into 4 groups


  1.  Equipment: 1 ball, 8 cones, 12 pinnies (optional)
  2. Set-up: Create a square and mark off four fake nets using the cones, with one positioned on each side.
  3. Execution: This one is nice and straightforward. Throw the ball in and have each team attempt to score a goal in a net that is not their own. If you want to kick it up a notch, try adding in another ball.

Cooldown Activities

After an intense practice session, it's crucial to take steps to gradually lower the heart rate, prevent muscle soreness, and set everyone up for recovery. Some examples include light jogging and stretching to decrease progressively intensity. Yoga-inspired cooldowns with simple poses and stretches promote relaxation and flexibility. Finally, encourage players to reflect on the practice session and provide feedback, promoting self-awareness and soccer team building.


Wrapping it up

You can elevate your players' performance from shooting and passing to receiving with the right equipment and drills. Give these a go, and let us know what you think! Share the training in the comments if you have a favorite that wasn’t listed.