7 Best Individual Youth Soccer Drills for Faster Development

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What are the best individual youth soccer drills for faster player development? Individual soccer drills have a time and place for a player’s development, but they should not make up the majority of a player’s training.

The beautiful game is the most unpredictable team sport in the world that is played against live and moving opponents and the best way to get better at the game is to train how you play. This means the best way to get better at soccer is to play the game a lot through team training, pick up games, and all other variations of the game such as futsal, beach soccer, soccer tennis, and soccer ping pong.

Individual soccer training sessions may be added throughout the week as a way to supplement your training, but they should not replace team training and unstructured games because these other forms of training allow you to get into the flow state, which is what you need to be able to do during a real game to achieve peak performance, focus, and creativity.

With that being said, if you truly want to get a head of the competition you will have to put in extra work, which means extra training sessions. However, it is what you do during those training sessions that truly counts.

That is why in this blog post I will be going over the best soccer drills that are actually worth your time and effort.

Youth Soccer Drills Image by Source

Why Train Barefoot?

Many, if not all, of the drills on this post can be done with cleats or barefoot and I would highly recommend doing them barefoot, at least once in a while. Training barefoot is completely different than training with cleats on and there are a ton of benefits such as:

A lot of the best professional players in the world grew up playing barefoot, either by choice or not, and this is one of the reasons they were able to develop their skills and talent faster than other players.

Barefoot juggling

The most simple drill, and arguably the most important one, that youth soccer players should be practicing daily is juggling the soccer ball barefoot. This drill can be performed on its own or it can also act as a warm up drill before a soccer practice session because it forces players to get a lot of high quality touches on the ball with their bare feet.

Although you won’t usually see soccer players juggling the ball during a real game, getting better at juggling the ball will help improve various essential soccer skills such as your first touch, passing, receiving, keeping track of the ball with your eyes, and much more.

As with the rest of the drills on this list, make sure you use both your dominant and non dominant foot, and also challenge yourself by juggling at different heights, and with different sized balls. This is a fun soccer drill that is perfect for any age and skill level.

Ball Control From the Air Drill

This next soccer drill is designed to help you improve your ball control skills. For this drill you can do it by either juggling the ball a couple of times and then hitting the ball high in the air or simply start with the ball in your hand and throw it up in the air.

As the ball drops back down to the ground, the goal is to control the ball while keeping the ball as close to you as possible and not letting it bounce everywhere. To make this more challenging you can create a square or circle, as big or as small as you would like, and try to keep the ball inside that grid while keeping it under control.

Again, the goal with this one is to use both feet and to get better at controlling the ball from higher places.

Wall Passing Drills

The best way to improve your passing and receiving skills individually is to find a wall, or use a soccer rebounder, which acts as training partners that never get tired. Depending on the type of wall or rebounder that you find, you can practice different types of passes, such as one-touch passes, two-touch passes, ground passes, air passes, or driven passes.

The goal with this drill is to challenge yourself by trying different types of passes with both feet, controlling the ball with different surfaces of the feet once it comes back to you, as well as hitting the ball at the wall with different speeds. For this drill you can choose a type of pass, a foot, set a timer, and you are ready to train.

After 2-3 minutes of work, take a rest and then practice a new technique.

Wall Passing Drills with Turns

This next drill can be used as a progression to the previous drill. Once you have practiced only wall passing for a certain amount of time, you can progress to wall passing with turns.

For this drill, pass the ball at the wall repeatedly, and after a few passes, work on turning with the ball and dribbling out to space. The point of this drill is to work both feet and to work on different types of turns, such as a half turn, the outside of the foot turn,the inside of the foot turn, or any other variation.

If you do not have a wall, simply work on kicking the ball in front of you, getting to the ball, turning, and dribbling past from where you started.

Maximal Intent Soccer Dribbling Drill

This next drill is similar to when a boxer does “shadow boxing” except it is designed for soccer players to improve their dribbling skills. For this drill all you need is some open space, a soccer ball, your bare feet, and your imagination.

To start this drill, dribble around your open space at maximal speed, if you have access to a full soccer field that is best, and imagine that there are defenders coming towards you trying to take the ball away. The goal of this drill is to dribble at game speed, use different skill moves, and use your imagination to evade “defenders” coming towards you.

If you are only going through the motions of dribbling this won’t help much which is why you have to do this at game speed. The more you practice getting used to dribbling at game speed, the easier it will become once you step onto the field during a real game.

This is a great drill to encourage players to use their innate creativity and teach them how to better express themselves.

Maximal Intent Soccer shooting drill

This next drill can act as a progression to the last drill and must also be done at maximal intent, or game speed. No matter what position you play, one of the most important soccer skills to have is being able to shoot the soccer ball.

As an attacking player such as a striker, winger, or CAM, shooting is a skill that must be practiced a lot, but even as a defender, such as a center back or full back, knowing how to shoot the ball is very important. Improving your shooting skills will help improve other skills such as passing and crossing the ball, which is why it is crucial for all positions.

To begin this drill, find a goal, and if you do not have a goal where you are training, grab two cones or any other objects and create a goal. Position yourself far away from the goal and start by kicking the ball in the air, or by rolling the ball out to space.

Control the ball and dribble towards the goal with maximal intensity, and as you get closer to the goal, perform a skill move and then take a shot, aiming for the corners just as you would if there was an actual keeper in goal. The more training balls you have, the better because you will spend less time ball shagging, and more time training.

Maximal Intent Barefoot Sprints

This next drill is a very simple drill that is designed to help players improve their speed and agility, it can be performed in different ways, and ideally barefoot. For this drill you can use the lines of the field, or use soccer equipment like cones to set up a straight line of cones.

With this drill you can perform maximal intent sprints, meaning the player starts from one position and sprints as hard as they can to another, or they can perform maximal intent shuttle runs, which will work more on agility and changing directions.

With this drill you can also have the player sit, lay down, or start from any other position besides standing, to test them even more and make it more challenging. One of the best ways to get faster and more agile for soccer is to practice going as fast as you can with sprints and shuttle runs.

Youth Soccer Drills

Image by source

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer the most important thing is to join a team and play the game as much as possible. If possible, analyze high level games as much as you can and your own games as well by recording them with a soccer camera. Also read soccer books, listen to podcasts, watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.

What is the best youth soccer training equipment?

The best youth soccer training equipment includes soccer balls, smart soccer balls, cleats, shin guards, soccer shorts, soccer goals, soccer rebounders, and soccer cameras.

What are some fun soccer drills for kids to train individually?

To find out what the most fun youth soccer drills are for individual training check out the rest of this blog.

Conclusion

In conclusion, individual youth soccer drills and games have a time and place for a player’s training schedule, but they should not make up the majority of their training. Instead of individual training, youth players should focus more on team training and becoming the best soccer player on their current team to push towards making a better team every season.

As a youth coach, the most important thing is player development and the best way for players to develop is to play against other players. With that being said individual and private training do have a time and a place in a soccer player’s journey.

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