First touch drill – Great warmup for games and training

by Pablo M16th Jun 2023

Drill created with Tactics Manager

Mastering the first touch is crucial for any player. However, how well a player controls the ball also depends on the quality of the pass received. This post describes a first touch drill, an excellent warmup that will get your team ready for a game.


You can run this drill with the full team by splitting players into two even-number groups. However, this drill can be performed with as few as 4 players, and it is preferable to run multiple instances of the exercise to make sure that everyone is moving and not waiting in a queue. So, how many groups you run will depend on the space available. If you have a full pitch available, you could run 6 drills in groups of 4 players, allowing you to have 24 players warming up simultaneously.    

To execute this drill, you will need at least 2 balls and 10 cones to mark the pitch for each setup, as shown in the picture. The star of cones in the middle of the pitch is key to the drill execution. It marks the area for passes to be delivered and the gates players need to exit through. 

This drill is not only a first touch exercise but also helps improve passing. Use it as a warmup to get your players physically and mentally prepared for training or a game.  


This drill aims to master directing the ball in different directions with a touch of the ball. The progression is as follows:

  • First, divide the group into two even-numbered teams. Each group queues behind the outside cones.
  • The circuit starts with a player running into the star of cones.
  • A player in the opposite group times a pass for the ball to arrive when the player reaches the star.
  • The receiving player touches (one touch) the ball to direct it into one of the cones gates. Receiving players should use a different gate on each round, as shown in the picture.
  • Once exiting the star, the player with the ball passes it to the next player in the queue in the opposite group and joins their queue.
  • The player that passed the ball becomes a receiver, so it runs into the star as soon as the receiving player leaves the star. Effectively players alternate between receiver and passer.
  • In the 3rd and 4th rounds, the player exiting the star is actually moving back towards their starting point. So, instead of passing the ball to a player in the opposite queue, they run with it to the end of their own starting queue.
  • The transition between forward-moving gates (1st and 2nd round) to the backwards-moving gates (3rd and 4th round) requires players’ awareness and coordination to keep the drill flowing.

Run multiple rounds of the drill for approximately 10 minutes.


This drill focuses on passing precision and first touch, but it will also improve:

  • First touch. Players must improve their first touch to control the ball and move as quickly as possible.
  • Passing. Players must improve their passing technique to ensure the receiving player can easily control the ball.
  • Teamwork. This drill encourages collaboration and synchronisation between players.
  • Awareness. Players must be focused to remember and coordinate the next direction and transitions between forward-moving and backwards-moving gates.
  • Fitness. This game is physically demanding. Players must execute this drill fast and continuously. 

I hope you find this drill helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. Also, if you know about other exercises or have questions, comment on our Facebook page.