Resources for Coaches: Soccer Drills

Not everyone can become a Pele or Beckham, but with tenacity and practice you can become a viable contributor to one of the most played sport in the world. Soccer is both a physical and a mental game requiring quick stops and starts, oral or nonverbal communication, and confidence to play your best With over 77 percent of shots on goal missing its target, and over 80 percent of finishing kicks volleying high over the goal, it is imperative that young, mid-level, and professional players drill diligently in order to become stronger, coordinated, communicative players. Practice is the key to skill improvement as is learning to take the proper cues from your teammates. For help with your soccer skills and to study the expert players, use the following links and up your game. You may not bend it like Beckham or play like Pele, but you will find your best form.

Aggressiveness Exercises

Shielding: Get your player to work harder on legally winning a shielded ball.

Man Marking: Drill to build confidence in man for man marking.

Individual Attack and Defense: Drills include numbers dribbling, knock out, one vs. one basics, and keeping possession of the ball.

Biography of Juan Roman Riquelme- Read the biography of Juan Riquelme, Argentina's famous attack midfielder, who has the "fake" down to an art form. Then study the video and practice.

Cruyff's Move- video demonstrations and skills training to help players master the Cruyff.


A Balanced Attack: The 4-4-2 system has four defensemen, four midfielders, and two strikers for a balanced pattern of attack.

Tactics of the Attack: Short passing, overlapping, distributing the ball, creating pass angles, chipping over the defense, and crossing are covered.

Offensive Drills: Practicing offensive drills and skills such as switching play and basic turns will help win games.

Attack Drills with Ratings: Drills like the 2 vs. 2 + target attacker include formation.

The Midfield Linkup: Unbalance the defense by overlapping runs.

Ball Control and Trapping

Ball Control Videos: Control and trapping drills featuring Major League Soccer player Dwayne De Rosario. There are some free videos, but full access requires paid subscription.

Trapping Techniques: Manipulating the ball, cushioning it with your body to completely stop the ball.

Ball Control Lesson: Control is maneuvering and preparing the soccer ball for follow-up.

Thigh Trapping: Beginner's video on how to trap a soccer ball using your thigh.

Control Drills: Circuit drills that aid control when faced with obstacles.

Coaching Manuals

Basic Coaching Youth Manual: Principles, resources, practical guidelines and practice plans and how to deal with very young players on game day.

Goalkeeper Coaching: The gatekeeper of soccer, goaltenders are the last line of defense against scoring and the first line of attack.

TIPS: Team selection comes down to the acronym for technique, insight, personality and speed.

Drills and Practices: Pre-game warm-ups and a large database of drills and practice management techniques. Quite a bit of the content is free.

Coaching Guides: Practice and training plan .pdfs, plus a general soccer coaching guide.

Coaching Tips

Coaching Soccer 101: Tips include how to keep soccer fun and how to have a coaching plan so that there is no downtime searching for things to do.

Smoke-Free Teams: Tips for coaching a team that has players who smoke.

Choosing Pregame Goalie Drills: The goalie who simply waits for the soccer ball to be kicked to him during drills is not getting warmed up.

Evaluation Form: Coaches, gives this form out to your parents and older players for valuable feedback.

Articles: Tips to be a better coach through articles that cover integration of new players, teaching listening techniques, managing parents, choosing your team captain, and many more.

NSCAA Tip Archive: Tips on being an effective coach, defending, goalkeeping, passing, performance, young players, shooting, small-sided games, training, and trapping the ball.

Communication Exercises

Communication Basics: How to alleviate extraneous chatter on the field of play.

Player Support: How players need to back up teammates and communicate with each other in groups and individually while playing.

Indoor Soccer Drills: Playing indoors can help players learn to read other players' movements.

Oral Communication Glossary: You can't drill if you don't know the lingo. How to communicate orally on-field to your teammates.

Body Language in Soccer: What kind of non-verbal communication is used on the field of play.

Corner Kicks, Free Kicks, Throw-Ins, and Other Set Plays

Corner Kick Law 17: What is a corner kick? How is it taken; and, why is it taken.

Free Kick Law 13: What are free kicks and when do you take a direct kick or an indirect kick?

Law 15 Throw In: Procedure and how to throw the soccer ball into play.

Free Kicks and Corners: Advantages to attacking from the set play.

Pre-planned Set Plays: How to agree on the set plays from the locker room and facilitate them on the field.

Defensive Exercises

Skill Building Games: Why use skill games instead of drills? Lists games to use to build skills including defense.

Defense Wins Games: Get the best performance out of your defense by practicing these six defensive drills.

Video Drills: Defensive, keeping it away from your opponent, trapping, and much more.

Defending Your Fortress: How to effectively defend your field position.

Formations and Tactics: Clogging the middle of the field of play will force the other team to go toward the sidelines where it is near impossible to score.

Dribbling and Shielding

Shielding Basics: Prevent the opposition from getting the ball with these shielding techniques.

The Mole: Dribbling and passing drill that utilizes two teams and an 8 x 8 grid.

Dribbling Instruction: Covers the motor skill, specific objectives, observation and focus points of each phase of soccer instruction. Includes more than just dribbling the ball.

Stage One Soccer Skills: Includes all the basic skills: dribbling, passing, trapping, the throw-in and drills to practice those skills.

Timing is Everything: Five things that you need to know about shielding before passing the ball.

Fitness and Nutrition

Tournament Energy: The nature of supply and demand, playing multiple games and its taxing effect on the body and its energy reserves.

Making Every Calorie Count: How to eat like a soccer star.

Soccer Nutrition: Before, during, and after training and games.

Twelve Month Soccer Training: Program to enhance power, speed, and agility.

Stretching: Why you need to stretch, the basics, and good and bad stretches.

Goal Keeping

Common Errors: Staying square, catching glove, over-aggression, stick on ice, among other goalie errors are examined.

Warmup Drills: Geared specifically to warm-up and drill the goalkeepers, this drill set includes breakaways, hand and reflex drills, footwork, leaps, punches, smothering and diving, kicking and throwing the ball.

Getting Set Progression Drill: This technique drill is designed for timing work and to keep the goalie moving forward.

Do I Parry?: Is it the only way to keep the ball out of the net?

Goalie Geometry: Professional goalies use math angles to calculate trajectory on the fly.


Headball Placement: How to position your head to receive a soccer ball to prevent injury.

Pros and Cons: Four to 22 percent of all soccer injuries are head injuries. Talks about concussions and the cons of heading a soccer ball. 

Heading to Injury?: A young player discusses the effects of heading the soccer ball.

Importance of Heading: Video teaches proper heading position on the forehead, not the top of the head, and how to keep your body in a straight line while heading.

Passing and Receiving

General Drills: Sets include long distance passing and receiving, shooting, and goalkeeping drills.

Pass and Move Drill: Teach young players when to pass and move to a different area to support teammates.

Drills and More Drills: Passing, receiving, heading, and many, many more drills. Click the link for the .pdf.

Pass and Control Drills: The procedures for the Blockade, Conditioned, and Keep-Ball, and Breakaway drills.

Jeff Pill's Online Drills: For youth leagues U6 to U18, drills utilizing the 4 x 4 system use lots of stepping, passing, receiving, team and individual offense and defense drills.

Penalty Kicks

Mixed Strategy: Interesting math concept emanating from a Vanderbilt professor's class project where penalty kicks were calculated for mixed strategy equilibrium.

Penalty Kick Game: Game theory, mathematicians, and gaming programmers have developed a game where the user can take a penalty is up to the user how to determine the right angle to kick it into the goal.

Eye Movement Study: Why can't the University of Exeter execute a good penalty kick? It's all in the eye movement and anxiety level of the kicker.

Shooting and Finishing Drills

Shooting Technique: Improve your shot by locking that ankle, toes down, strike the ball.

Scoring from Crosses: Drill covers change of speed, crossing the ball into the penalty area. The other 300+ drills are available with free registration.

Develop Skills with Drills: Shooting and finishing drills are just some of the many drill links featured on this page from the Bloomington Youth Soccer Club.

Competitive Shooting: These drills will bring out your players competitive spirit and teach them to work for improvement.

Strategy and Team Tactics

Attacking Strategy: Objective one: gain entry into the attack third of the field of play; and secondly, maintain the momentum of that attack.

The 4-4-2: Defensive strategy practice with extensive diagrams to depict position.

The 3-5-2 Formation: How to break down the most recent 3-5-2 formation which is used in collegiate or pro soccer.

Team Strategy: The keys to offensive strategy is poise, patience, and control, while defense: pressure and support.

Indoor Soccer: Fielding strategies for indoor soccer defense.


Tackling Progressions: Videos show real players teaching the fundamentals of tackling.

Block and Slide Tackles: To safely complete a soccer tackle, your head must be in the game and you must be committed to the timing or risk injury or foul.

Photos Tackling Results: CAVEAT: not for the squeamish. See photos of professional players on the receiving end of tackles.


Soccer Warm Ups: Various stretching and warm up exercises to get physically and mentally ready for the game.

Stretching, Warm Ups and Cool Down Benefits: The importance and benefit to taking the time to get your body into condition before playing sports to prevent injury.

How to Warm Up: Article describes in diagram form the structure of a warm up session and its components.


Soccer Injury: The abrupt start and stop motions of soccer can easily lead to injury.

Preventing Common Soccer Injury: Ligament and muscle strain injuries are the most common depending on the level of play.

Podiatric Treatment Solution: Growth plate disorders is a growing trend in youth soccer. Plus, how to properly evaluate a soccer shoe.

Common Soccer Injuries: Over 150,000 reports of soccer injuries in the U.S., nearly half occurring in players under 15 years old.

Head Injury: Study asks the question if heading the ball may contribute to a fatal motor neuron disease.


Tournament Directory: Lists tournament links for the 2010 and 2011 soccer tournaments as well as adult, international, holiday, indoor and special event tournaments. Searchable by state and by month.

Terms of Play: Basic and advanced soccer position, field, and action terms.

America Scores: Soccer non-profit programs for urban kids.

ESPN SoccerNet: Live scores, clubs, worldwide league games and information.

Soccer America: Online magazine covering United States, international, MLS, college, youth, and World Cup Soccer.

United States Adult Soccer Association: National organization with a mission to make "Soccer-your game for life."

History and Statistics: International Federation of Football History and Statistics available in German, English, French, and Spanish.

Recreational Sports Soccer Stat Page: Worldwide statistics from the Recreational Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation. Also lists member names.

Soccer Stats International: Detailed statistics from around the world.

World Stadiums: See where your favorite soccer team plays.

Player History: Everything you wanted to know about any soccer player both in free and subscription format.

Soccer Facts: Amaze your friends with your soccer knowledge.

World Cup History: The Jules Rimet and FIFA World Cups since 1930 are covered.

Offensive Drills: Practicing offensive drills and skills such as switching play and basic turns will help win games.

Attack Drills with Ratings: Drills like the 2 vs. 2 + target attacker include formation.

The Midfield Linkup: Unbalance the defense by overlapping runs.