Football Control Drills

The following football drills are aimed at improving ball control. There is likely to be some cross over between the football skills of the control type soccer drills and the passing or dribbling drills.

Passing Through Hoops

Player receives the ball, controls, and dribbles through two hoops before moving the ball into a small coned area.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U11’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 6 cones, 2 passing hurdles, 5 balls for 2 players

Organisation: In a square, have 1 working player and 1 player serving the balls. The aim of the drill is for the working player to come towards server and command a ball, the player must then dribble and pass the ball through 2 hurdles and then stop the ball in the opposite marked corner area. Continuous practice.

Working player works with 5 balls then swaps with serving player.

Progressions:

  • Working players to concentrate on the quality of 1st touch in the direction of the first hurdle
  • Increase/decrease the size of the area
  • Have a competition between the 2 players to see how long it takes them to transfer the balls across the area to the other corner

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch/soft boot
  • Body shape/movement/Speed of play
  • Player alert and on their toes
  • Player to communicate at all times

Side To Side & Back

Three players receive balls from players in a one-line, control, turn and pass to another player in the opposite line.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U10’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 4 cones, 3 balls for 9 players

Organisation: In a square, 3 teams of 3 work, 2 end players and 1 working player. The aim of the drill is for the working player to exchange passes with his end players, dribble across the area avoiding other players and balls to pass to opposite end player. Continuous practice. Centre player works for 2 minutes then swaps with an end player.

Progressions:

  • End players must take 2 touches, one to control and one to pass
  • Working players to concentrate on the quality of 1st touch in the direction they want to go (into space towards opposite end)
  • Increase/decrease the size of the area
  • Have a competition between the working players to see how many passes they can make to end players

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch/soft boot
  • Body shape/movement/Speed of play
  • Player alert and on their toes
  • Player to communicate at all times

Knock The Ball Off

A mini-game where three players link up to try and knock the ball off a central cone whilst a lone defender attempts to block.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U10’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 8 cones, 2 balls for 4 players

Organisation: In a square, 4 players work 3 v 1. A smaller square with a ball on a cone is placed in the middle of the area. To score a point the team of 3 must pass the ball around until an opportunity to knock the ball off the cone arises. The single defender can not go into the centre box. Continuous practice for 1 minute then swap defender.

Progressions:

  • Limit touches to 2, but encourage 1, with the emphasis on the quality on the 1st touch or pass to create a scoring opportunity
  • Make centre square bigger to allow team of 3 less room to manoeuvre

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch/soft boot
  • Body shape/movement
  • Player alert and on their toes
  • Player to communicate at all times
  • Speed of play
  • Lofted passes/header finish

Passing Through Gates

Players work in pairs aiming to pass the ball to each other between sets of cones and avoiding the other pairs.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 10 cones, 2 balls for 4 players

Organisation: In a square, players work in pairs, 2 pairs to a box. 3 cone gates are placed in the area. To score a point a player must pass through a gate to partner, the players then pass the ball towards and through another gate. Continuous practice.

Progressions:

  • Increase tempo
  • Limit touches with the emphasis on the quality on the 1st touch towards the next gate
  • Vary distance between players and size of gates

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch/soft boot
  • Body shape/movement
  • Player alert and on their toes
  • Player to communicate at all times

Keep It In The Cones

Players receive a long pass and have to control the ball keeping it within a coned area then passing back to their partner.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 10 cones, 1 balls for 2 players

Organisation: Players set up as in the video and diagram. The distance between the boxes and the size of the box should be adjusted depending on the age and the ability of the players. Players pass the ball between each other, trying to keep the ball in the box with 1st touch, to start with players are allowed 3 touches before passing to another box. Continuous practice for 5 minutes.

Progressions:

  • Increase tempo
  • Limit touches to 2, more emphasis on the quality on the 1st touch to get ball under control and out of feet
  • Players can pass the ball in the air for control with knee, head or chest.
  • Vary distance between players and size of box

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch/soft boot
  • Body shape/movement
  • Player alert and on their toes
  • Player to react to the flight of the ball

Control & Back

Players receive a more difficult pass in the air from their partner which they simply control and pass back.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 1 ball between 2 players

Organisation: Players set up as shown in the video and diagram. Emphasis on controlling the ball, players on their toes calling for the ball. The player on the left can deliver the ball at any speed and any height. The player on the right backs off and comes to meet the ball returning it to the other player.

Progressions:

  • Increase tempo
  • Limit touches to 2
  • Increase distance between players

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch
  • Body shape
  • First, touch out of feet ready to return pass
  • Decision making regarding how to control, inside/outside of foot, knee, chest, thigh.

Lay Off

Players lay the ball off and receive it back three times along a line of cones aiming to keep control and give accurate passes.

Aim: To improve 1st touch/control

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: 4 cones, balls

Organisation: Players set up as shown in the video and diagram. The player starting the with ball must pass it to the closest player, move forward receive it back play it to the next player and so on.

Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Encourage players to increase tempo
  • Players to use weaker foot
  • Middle players can lay the ball off to the left or right

Coaching Points

  • Emphasis is on 1st touch, keep ball out of feet and in the direction of next player
  • Communication
  • 1st touch with inside or outside of foot
  • Vision, awareness,
  • Anticipation of direction of pass

1, 2 & Out

Players around the outside of the circle pass to one in the middle who passes to the other who then returns the ball to the outside circle.

Aim: To improve 1st touch/control

Suitable for: U10’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 1 ball

Organisation: Players stand around the outside of a marked circle. 2 players are positioned in the middle of the circle and numbered 1 and 2. Player 1 commands ball from outside and takes a quick look to see where his partner is, player 1 controls the ball and lays the ball off. Player 2 passes the ball out to a player on the edge of circle without a ball. Player 1 then commands ball from another player. Player 2 passes the ball to outside then adjusts his position to support Player 1. Repetitive practice of 1 minute, second time round Players 1 & 2 change positions.

Progressions:

  • Encourage players to increase tempo

Coaching Points

  • Emphasis is on 1st touch, keep ball out of feet and in the direction of supporting player
  • Communication is essential
  • 1st touch with inside or outside of foot

Piggies In The Middle

Classic game of piggie in the middle where players around a circle pass the ball whilst two in the middle try to intercept.

Aim: To improve 1st touch/control

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 1 ball

Organisation: Start with 8 players making a circle. The 8 players must keep possession away from 2 players that are positioned in the centre of the circle. Swap middle players.

Progressions:

  • Players on the outside can’t pass to the player next to them
  • Encourage players to increase tempo
  • Change team ratio’s (7 v 3)

Coaching Points

  • Emphasis is on 1st touch, keep ball out of feet and in the direction of the following pass
  • Communication to command the ball
  • 1st touch with inside or outside of foot

Three Into One

Player receives the ball from one of three opposite players and must control and return it to a different player without a ball.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: U8’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 2 balls for 4 players

Organisation: 3 players with 2 balls serve one working player. One server starts by passing the ball to working player who must control and pass to the server without a ball. Working player then commands ball from the other server with a ball. Continuous practice for 1 minute.

Progressions:

  • Increase tempo
  • Limit touches to 1 or 2, more emphasis on the quality on the 1st touch to get ball under control
  • Serving players can serve the ball in the air for control with knee, head or chest.
  • Vary distance between players

Coaching Points

  • Quality of 1st touch
  • Body shape/movement
  • Player alert and on their toes
  • Player to react to the flight of the ball

Round the Clock

The player in the middle of the circle passes to and receives back either of the players on the outside in turn.

Aim: To improve 1st touch/control & passing technique

Suitable for: U9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 1 ball.

Organisation: Players make a circle, one player stands in the middle, the player in the middle calls for the ball from the starting player, controls it and passes to the next player in the circle. Then calls for the ball again, moving around from player to player until the whole of the circle is completed. Then swap middle player.

Progressions:

  • Serving player to throw ball to head, knee or chest
  • 2 touch (control & pass)
  • Encourage players to increase tempo

Coaching Points

  • 1st touch should keep ball out of feet
  • Communication to command the ball
  • Passing with inside of boot or laces

Move To The Ball

Middle player passes the ball to an outside player who must come to meet the ball and return it. Repeats on opposite side.

Aim: To improve control and 1st touch

Suitable for: Under 9’s and upwards

Equipment: Marked area, 2 cones, 2 balls for 3 players

How: Outside players pass ball to central player who always comes to meet the ball. Outside players to make a movement away from ball and then comes in to meet it. Central player must take 2 or more touches.

Progression:

  • This drill can be made more difficult by gradually Increasing tempo or speed.
  • Limit players to only two touches.
  • Outside players can serve the ball in the air for the central player to control with knee, head or chest.

Coaching Points

  • Concentrate on quality of 1st touch
  • Ensure body shape is correct.
  • First, touch out of feet ready to return pass

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