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Soccer Drills - Which Are the Best Ones to Use?

Soccer Drills are the basis of the technical and tactical development of players, whether you are coaching youth soccer players, or adult soccer players of either gender. Generally soccer drills fall into the following categories.

1. Technical Drills
2. Tactical Drills
3. Fitness Drills

This article will focus on technical soccer drills, and how to identify which ones are the best ones for you to use in your training sessions.

Technical soccer drills focus on ensuring players use the correct technique and the correct skill to use at a particular point in a game. For instance if the ball is crossed into the box and a forward has a scoring opportunity, the forward must decide:

1. Where to place the ball (eg low in the left corner of the goal or top right hand corner etc)

2. What power is needed to get the ball there (how far out from goal are they)

3. What is the best technique to accomplish that?

To cover all possibilities, the forward must be able to head the ball, trap the ball with their chest, thigh or foot or any part of their body, volley the ball, curve the ball around a defender etc etc. The list of technical skills doesn't end there, but these and other technical skills need to be developed and nurtured through the careful selection of soccer drills that are performed at training. In this way, your players are well equipped to handle nearly every situation as though it was second nature.

Rather that give you a list of prepared soccer drills for you to use, I am going to suggest that you think about the following and then decide for yourself. This is along the lines of give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but give a man a fishing rod, he can catch fish and it it everyday. So I would suggest that you think about the following before you incorporate any soccer drill.

The drill must :-

1. be suited to the age and capability of the players involved
2. incorporate as many players as possible
3. be made progressive so that it is practiced under
3. 1 No Pressure to get the right technique
3. 2 Token Pressure
3. 3 Full Game pressure

The soccer drill be suited to the age and capability of the players involved

This may seem obvious, but there is little point in trying to get an 8 year old player in their first year of soccer to bend the ball like Beckham. Also, there are some drills, like heading the ball, that are only suited for physically mature players.

The soccer drill be incorporate as many players as possible

This is a must, as there is little point in having queues of players waiting their turn to do something. A classic example of this, that I use is shooting practice. I always have at least two lines that take it in turns, and involve players such that as many players are involved in one shot as many. This can be simply having a number of players that play a one-two with the shooter as the shooter progresses up the line, and then every one moves up a place.

The soccer drill be progressive

Again this is vital so that the technique becomes second nature under match pressure. How do make a drill progressively harder? Thre are a number of ways for you to think about.

1. Have races introduces time pressures
2. Have a competition between players
3. Introduce passive defenders to try and put off a player with a ball
4. Reduce the space that the players have to work with, reduce the number of touches that a player can have etc etc.

There are many ways to increase the pressure of a drill, and I have highlighted a few here. The main point is that the player must be able to have the composure to perform the skill with correct technique under full match conditions, so uou will need to be able to modify the drill so that this pressure is emulated.

I have given you the knowledge on how to evaluate the effectiveness of any soccer drill, and the kinds of things that you can do to modify a drill to make them effective. Hopefully you are empowered to make these choices and decisions so that identifying a drill that will work and will improve your players becomes easier, particularly given the thousands of soccer drills available.

Nigel Reed has been involved in soccer during the 60's, 70's and 80's as a player and has been coaching youth soccer in Australia since 2000. Nigels main soccer webite has a number of Free Soccer Drills for you to choose from as well as other great coaching tips and help, so please visit Nigels website Good luck with your coaching

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