THE BEST FOOTBALL EXERCISES FOR TRAINING
HOW TO TRAIN FOR FOOTBALL WITH SOCCER DRILLS
Learn what you have to practise in your training.
Included, the best soccer drills used by the top academies.
How do I train for football?
How good you are as a player, and whether you can become a footballer or not, comes down to one thing:
- How you do your football training.
There is a lot of general information out there about how to train and huge lists of soccer training drills.
But we’ve put together this article completely focused on how to train to get signed by a club or an academy. That’s the main goal, right?
HOW TO TRAIN FOR FOOTBALL
When you train for soccer you have to do it with a clear goal, focusing on what you want to improve and work on in the session. If you have this clear from the start, you will be doing the training exercises and drills with a purpose.
You also need to train the different aspects of your game:
And you have to know which ones are your strong points and weaknesses in each one.
After you’ve identified these, you need to know the different exercises you have at your disposal to improve each part of your game, which is what this article is all about!
There are 2 types of training you should be focused on improving:
Training by yourself
When you train by yourself, you should be focused on training the parts of your game and doing the soccer drills that are made to improve you individually.
You’ve probably won’t have a coach with you, so you have to have very clear the purpose of the exercises, the goal of it, and how to achieve this goal.
For example, if you put 2 cones and dribble from one to another, you can focus that exercise on technique, and look to do lots of little touches without losing control of the ball.
Or you can focus it on speed, and try to get from one to another as fast as possible with the ball under control. Make sure before you start, you know what you want to work on and focus all your energy on that goal.
Training with a group
When you train with a team or a group of people, you have to make sure yu understand the objetive of the exercise straight away.
After that, you need to quickly realise what the particular drill works on, and how you can adapt your abilities to be able to do the exercise correctly.
Training with other people is a great chance to work on some of your shortcomings that might be impossible to train when you’re alone.
One of the simplest and most impactful exercises you can do ith players, that you can’t do alone, is the rondo.
THE BEST FOOTBALL TRAINING EXERCISES AND DRILLS
These are the soccer drills we do the most in Alicante Football Academy, and they are made to improve a specific part of your game as fast as possible, so you can improve and join a football academy quick.
The list is divided into types of exercises you can do by yourself and exercises you can do with your team, and even the latter one is with your team, it’s still focused on improving yourself individually.
TECHNIQUE SOCCER EXERCISES
Technique is crucial to improve your touch, passing, skills, ball control, crosses, and more. Basically, anything the requires you to deal with the ball in some kind of way.
Technique soccer drills by yourself
If you want to play in Europe you have to have a good technique, so the first exercise works on your touch and technique. It’s so simple to do that you can do it completely by yourself and with no gear.
Bounce the ball on the floor as hard as possible and as it comes down, try to take it in its stride with an orientated control. To do it as fast as possible, it’s better if you let the ball bounce slightly and then take it in your stride. Similar to the small bounce you do with a half volley. Practise this control going forward, left, right and backwards. Also, don’t forget to do it with your weak foot!
The objective of this exercise is to master your control of the ball when it comes in an unwanted way. You won’t always get the perfect pass in the floor, sometimes, the ball might come in the air, knee level, bouncing, and more, so the mor prepared you are to do this in a game the better!
Technique football exercises with your team
The team exercise we always do in Alicante Football Academy is the one touch rondo. Make a rondo of 4 players with 1 in the middle. The rules are simple, you have 1 touch. The important thing here is to make sure you position your body and feet correctly, before the ball comes to you, so you don’t have an incorrect posture when the ball comes.
At first, it will be hard, but if you focus on anticipating and not reacting, you will see that you are able to give good passes with your weak foot. Of course, if you do a nutmeg to the person in the middle it’s 20 press ups!
SPEED FOOTBALL EXERCISES
Speed is crucial in modern football, and nowadays, it’s focused on sprints, quick feet and agility.
The more fluid and sharp you can be, the harder you will be to defend (or get attacked if you’re a defender) and the higher chance you will get of getting spotted and signed by a club.
Speed soccer exercises by yourself
This exercise is to make you faster and more explosive, and it’s a killer! Add 4 cones in a square, and make sure that each one is 10 meters apart from the other. Finally, add a cone in the middle of the square. To do the exercise you have to run from one cone to another, then sprint to the cone in the middle and perform a faint from left to right as quickly as possible, image as if you are trying to get away from an opponent in a corner with a left-right faint. After that, run to the other cone and turn for a final sprint to the end cone. The complete sprint should be like the figure of the letter ‘M’. Perform this 5 times in a row and rest.
With this drill, you have to focus on getting your body low everytime you change direction and to do it as explosive as possible. On the longer sprints from cone to cone, make fast long strides to cover the distance quick.
Speed football drills with a group
The simpler the better, do full speed competitive races with your friends and team mates! Nothing can improve your speed more than competing to reach the race line first.
Perform these different types of races:
- Straight line 20 meters with and without ball.
- Straight line 100 meters with and without ball.
- Zig zag with cones and different changes of direction, with and without ball.
- Sprint forward, reach a cone and track backwards 5 meters, then do it again 2 more times, with two more cones in front of you, until you reach the end goal.
“We always teach the player to be composed in front of goal”
Academy Head Coach Julio Bonmatí
Finishing refers to scoring goals, if you’re able to improve your scoring percentage, which means, every time you shoot, try to score and many times as possible, the more effective and reliable you will be to be given chances or getting signed for a pro contract.
Finishing exercises by yourself
It can be a bit tricky to work on finishing alone and trying to mimic the pressure you will get in a 1v1 with a keeper.
The way some of our academy players do it is to sprint as fast as possible with the ball from the center of the field to the goal, then, try to compose yourself once you’re inside the goal and try to score a goal bouncing the ball from one of the posts inside.
Doing it this way, you mimic the intensity with the long sprint, then the composure to regain control on your body and the ball after the long run, and then the accuracy needed to score by trying to aim for a ‘post-in’ goal. This can be done even without a keeper!
Finishing soccer drills with your team
One of the harders ways to finish is from crosses, and if you can master the skill of coordinating your body and your feet, exactly when the ball comes, and direct it to the goal through the keeper, you will impress football scout instantly! This is because many goals in Pro modern football are scored from crosses.
Get 2 people in the box, one is the attacker and the other the defender. Then, get someone to cross inside, and you have to try to score and the defender to avoid it. Try different types of crosses, like second post, first post, edge of the box, and more. It’s a 1 touch finish, no more than 1!
TACTICAL FOOTBALL EXERCISES
The tactical side of the game is often overlooked, and quite honestly, especially if you want to play in Europe, this is one of the first things football scouts will be looking at.
A big part of being good tactically is understanding the game and knowing what role you play in the game to try to win.
The 11 players in the field should work in sync to try to achieve to score and to not let the opponent score, as simple as that! These easy exercises will let open your mind a bit and let you think while you’re doing an exercise.
Tactical soccer exercises by yourself
This is an awareness exercise that improves your vision in the field, so you know who is around you at all times, this is crucial to be a successful player in Spain. Being know where the ball, the opponents and your team mates in the field will improve your tactical knowledge and football IQ, and you will be able to make better decisions.
This one is simple but very effective if you get used to it. Dribble around the field with the ball without looking at it at all. Keep looking in every direction and also behind you. You might get dizzy at first, but keep trying and you will see that you start to control the ball without having to look at it.
Try to change direction a lot and make it ‘difficult for yourself’, and keep trying to look less and less at the ball and more behind your shoulders and in front on you.
Tactics drills for your soccer team
In AlicanteFootball Academy we teach the players the tactical side of the game with a football coaching course that can help you become a trainer one day.
In this course, we help players understand the game, so they can improve their performance in the game, as well as teaching them to coach these football principles one day to a team if they chose to be coaches in the future.
Our tip here is to make sure you listen to your football coach and ask questions, especially when the instructions are focused on your position in the field, and on a certain action you’re required to do at any part of the game. If you can understand these instructions, you will be able to do them instantly without a coach telling you, this is called reading the game!
Other tactical drills to improve with your team is possession games, they make you move and find spaces to be able to keep the ball. Pass, find a space, move there, these are 3 key tactical tasks that will make you a more effective player.
“Defending is crucial in modern football, when we take players to trials, the clubs always look at how the kid defends”
Head of Academy Lauri Nakstrom
DEFENDING FOOTBALL EXERCISES
Everyone has to know how to defend. This is one of the most common points of improvement we see in Alicante Football Academy and we always make exercises that require some kind of defensive skill.
The defensive part of the game are 1 on 1’s, aerial challenges, positioning and blocking.
Defensive exercises by yourself
One simple defensive exercise by yourself is to kick the ball high and try to jump, in sync with the ball, to try to hit it at the highest point.
Practising this will improve your coordination and it will make you win more aerial challenges.
Defensive exercises with a group
A very effective defensive exercise in spanish football academies is a recreation of a counter attack with 1 less defender.
Whether sis 3v2, 4v3, etc, if you can work on tracking back, challenges, communication with other defenders, positioning and more, and defended these kinds of situations, when you get a counter attack and you’re not down 1 player, it will feel way easier to defend!
We do these kinds of exercises every morning in our training sessions to prepare the players for their football trials in Spain.
WEAK FOOT SOCCER DRILLS
Your weak foot is so important in football and is one of the easiest parts of your game to improve.
There’s no secret to improving it, you just have to repeat and repeat until you get rid of that uncomfortable feeling every time you use it.
Whether you’re by yourself or with your club, we’ve got you covered!
Individual weak foot soccer drills
This exercise improves the technique of your weak foot because you have to do lots of small touches with the ball under control.
Place 4 cones in a square, and dribble from cone to cone, doing very short and quick inside and outside touches with your weak foot. Once you have gone around the square 1 time, then, go around again sprinting with the ball as fast as possible, dribbling still, only with your weak foot.
This exercise mimics both types of situations you will be exposed in a game, which is short and sharp controls of the ball, and fast and explosive sprints.
Try plant your strong foot correctly in the ground and push yourself of it with explosivity, and do this keeping the ball under control with every part of your weak foot.
Weak foot soccer drills with your team
The team exercise we like to do in the academy is the weak foot rondo. Make a rondo of 4 players with 1 in the middle.
You have 2 touches, but you can only touch the ball with your weak foot. It might seem easy but it isn’t!
The important thing here is to make sure you position your body and feet correctly, before the ball comes to you, so you don’t have an incorrect posture and you can make a clean connection with your weak foot and the ball.
The last sentence you read is crucial for this exercise to work, if you don’t anticipate the ball coming to you, you won’t be able to give a good pass with your weak foot without the middle player intercepting.
WHAT DO COACHES AND SCOUTS WANT TO SEE WHEN YOU TRAIN?
You might think football scouts are looking for players in games, but it’s very common for them to also come to training sessions, especially with the younger ages.
Have you ever thought, how do I get scouted in football?
Well, they are looking for you to have good technique, speed, defence, psychical attributes, tactical awareness and competitive hunger. If you can show a high level of these parts of your game in all the training drills you will impress them.
Also, they need to see that you understand the specific exercise you’re working on. For example, if you do a scrimmage game with your team that is focused on movement on the field and tactics, from the outside, they have to see that you are trying to understand and perform the right movements, rather than perhaps trying skills or making lots of touches when the ball comes to you.
Showing that you can listen to the coach, understand the drills instructions and the objective, and try your best to do it, as well and doing it better every time, will show that you have the ability to improve. This is crucial because scouts are looking to get players that have the potential to become even better under their club.
The image below shows some of the Academy players that have signed with teams in Spain:
HOW TO TRAIN TO PREPARE FOR SOCCER TRYOUTS
If you’re lucky and you have been invited to a football trial, but you still have some time until you go, these are some training tips to get you prepared for it.
When you train for a soccer tryout you have to make sure your fundamentals are sharp and ready. These are:
- The ability to pass correctly, with firm power and keeping the ball on the floor.
- Being able to finish in 1v1 with the keeper with composure and efficiency.
- Understanding instructions and being able to perform the drills or exercise they have told you to do.
- Stay strong when defending and not letting players get past you easily.
- Keep control of the ball in tight and fast situations.
In the video below we show the day of an Alicante Football Academy player preparing for his football trial in Spain:
Once you do training exercises to sharpen up these parts of your game, you can focus on training the more ‘flashy’ parts, like skills, dribbling, scoring creative goals, if you’re a defender, going out with the ball, communication, and so on.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FOOTBALL DRILS
There’s so many exercises ut there, but many people say that the rondo is one of the most efficient exercises to learn how to deal with the ball and increase awareness.
A complete soccer session should be around 2 hours long. The session could be split into warm up, physical exercises, technical exercises, game situations, competitive games, and goal scoring and creative exercises.
A good number is 3 times a week, and if is possible, 5 times a week is optimal.
The important part is to make the most out of the session with the tips we’ve given you in the article.
The session could be split into warm up, physical exercises, technical exercises, game situations, competitive games, and goal scoring and creative exercises.