5 Drills for Youth Soccer Skills

Drills for Youth Soccer

Soccer is a sport that requires a blend of individual skills and team coordination. For young players, mastering the basics can be a stepping stone to advanced play and a deeper understanding of the game. The drills outlined in this article are designed to enhance the fundamental soccer skills of youth players across various age groups, from U4 to U21. These drills focus on ball control, passing accuracy, peripheral vision, set-piece execution, and 1v1 encounters, essential for developing well-rounded soccer athletes.

Key Takeaways

  • Ball Drive drills improve individual ball control and encourage players to navigate tight spaces.
  • Tunnel Pass exercises enhance passing accuracy and teach players to anticipate their teammates’ movements.
  • Peripheral Vision Warm-Up drills develop players’ awareness of their surroundings while controlling the ball.
  • Three-player corner Kick Combination drills focus on set-piece strategy and execution, which are vital for scoring opportunities.
  • 1v1 Positioning and Dribbling drills teach players to outmaneuver opponents and protect the ball in one-on-one scenarios.

1. Ball Drive

The Ball Drive drill is all about getting comfortable with the ball at your feet. It’s a fundamental exercise that sets the stage for more complex moves and techniques. Start by setting up a series of cones in a straight line, each about a yard apart. Players dribble the ball through the cones, focusing on close control and quick touches.

The key here is to promote 1 v 1 play and technical gestures. Encourage players to use both feet and to look up frequently, enhancing their peripheral vision and overall awareness on the field.

Remember, the goal isn’t just getting through the cones quickly. It’s about developing balance, control, and agility. Here’s a quick rundown of what players should focus on:

  • Close ball control
  • Quick, precise touches
  • Using both feet
  • Looking up to improve peripheral vision

Incorporate this drill into your regular practice sessions to see a marked improvement in your players’ dribbling skills and confidence on the pitch.

Drills for Youth Soccer 1
Foto de Alliance Football Club na Unsplash

2. Tunnel Pass

The Tunnel Pass drill is a fantastic way to get young players comfortable with passing accuracy and timing. Players form two lines facing each other, creating a ‘tunnel’ to pass the ball back and forth. This exercise hones their passing skills and encourages communication and teamwork.

The key to this drill is maintaining a rhythm and ensuring that each pass is well-timed and precise.

Here’s how to set it up:

  • Position two lines of players approximately 10 yards apart.
  • Players at the front of each line pass the ball to the opposite line and then follow their pass.
  • The receiving player controls the ball and quickly passes it back before moving to the back of the opposite line.

This drill can be made more difficult by increasing the distance between lines or adding a one-touch rule to challenge the players’ control and quick thinking.

3. Peripheral Vision Warm-Up

Enhancing a player’s peripheral vision is crucial for better awareness on the field. This drill focuses on improving the ability to perceive movements and teammates without directly looking at them. Players learn to make quicker decisions and react to the game’s dynamic nature.

  • Start without the ball, focusing on mobility and awareness.
  • Progress to cognitive challenges, like the AFC Ajax drill, which combines competitive exercises with goal finalization.
  • Introduce ball possession drills emphasizing width and depth, such as the 4 v 2 exercise.

This warm-up not only primes players physically but also sharpens their cognitive skills, laying a foundation for more complex soccer tactics.

Remember, the goal is to integrate perception training seamlessly into the warm-up routine. By doing so, players will naturally develop their peripheral vision, which is essential for receiving with oriented control and unmarking effectively, as emphasized by coaching methods like Marcelo Bielsa’s.

4. Three-Player Corner Kick Combination

Mastering the art of the corner kick can be a game-changer in youth soccer. The three-player corner kick combination is a strategic play designed to outsmart the defense and create scoring opportunities. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Position one player at the corner flag to deliver the kick.
  • Have a second player positioned near the penalty area to act as a decoy.
  • The third player should be ready to run into the box to meet the ball.

The key is to execute the play with speed and precision, making it difficult for the opposing team to react.

Remember, the goal is to free a player for a shot in the penalty area. It’s not just about the kick but also the players’ movement and communication. Practice this drill in a half-field setup with at least 10 players and a goalkeeper, simulating match conditions. Aim for 6 corner kicks during a 10-minute session to get the most out of this exercise.

5. 1v1 Positioning and Dribbling

Mastering the art of 1v1 encounters is crucial for any young soccer player. It’s not just about fancy footwork; it’s about understanding how to create and use space effectively. Dribbling is a critical skill, as it allows players to maintain control while navigating tight defenses.

Creating space is essential in 1v1 situations. Players should practice with limited ball touches to enhance their decision-making speed. Here’s a simple drill to get started:

  • Start with a quick 1v1, including a shot on goal.
  • Alternate between attacking and defending roles.
  • Focus on fastball driving and accurate shooting.

Remember, the goal is to simulate real-game pressure, so keep the intensity high and encourage players to take risks.

By incorporating these drills into regular practice, young players will develop the confidence and skills needed to excel in 1v1 scenarios. And that’s a game-changer on the pitch.


Alright, soccer superstars and coaches, that’s a wrap on our rundown of the 5 essential drills to level up the young guns’ soccer skills! Whether you’re guiding the tiny tots or the almost adults, these drills are your golden ticket to a more dynamic, skilled, and confident squad. Remember, practice makes perfect, but fun keeps them returning for more. So keep it lively, mix it up, and watch those kiddos transform into the soccer sensations of tomorrow. Lace-up those cleats, set up those cones, and let’s turn those drills into real on-field thrills!

Frequently Asked Questions

What age groups are these soccer drills suitable for?

These drills suit a wide range of age groups, from U4 to U21, including first-team soccer drills.

How does the 1v1 Ball Drive drill benefit young players?

The 1v1 Ball Drive drill promotes individual skill development and technical gestures in play, focusing on one-on-one situations.

What is the purpose of the Tunnel Pass drill?

The Tunnel Pass drill aims to improve players’ passing technique and encourages the use of peripheral vision.

Can you explain the Peripheral Vision Warm-Up?

This warm-up drill is designed to enhance players’ peripheral vision and improve their passing and ball control skills.

What does the Three-Player Corner Kick Combination drill entail?

The drill involves a set play from a corner kick designed to free a player for a scoring opportunity in the penalty area.

How does the 1v1 Positioning and Dribbling drill help players?

This drill focuses on training players in 1v1 situations to improve their positioning, dribbling, and tackling skills when facing a frontal attack.