Simple football training drills to train on your own
by Pablo M10th Jul 2019
In previous posts, we discussed passing and first-touch drills. However, these football drills often need that you work with a partner. This post will discuss football training drills to train on your own. You will be able to improve your passing, first touch, speed and shooting. All you need is a ball and a wall.
Before you proceed with these drills, remember that your ball will wear out quicker. Please, don’t use a brand new expensive ball. If you don’t have any old balls at home, ask your school or local sports club for old balls. They often give them away or even throw them out. My football club gives our team new balls every year. We regularly give the old balls to our friends’ kids or charities.
Passing and first touch
Many players are comfortable with just good enough passes. Playing a pickup game with your friends may be fine, but in a tournament (amateur or professional), you must pass the ball at speed and accurately. Working with a wall will help you improve your passing outside team practice sessions.
Start by standing 2 to 3 metres from the wall. Kick the ball to the wall as if passing it to a teammate. When the ball bounces back, “pass” it back to the wall with one touch. Alternate feet with each ball bounce: one touch right, one touch left and so on. To improve your accuracy, pick a spot or a line in the wall and try to hit it every time. Aim to complete about 200 passes in total.
Once you warmed up, step back about 5 to 10 metres away from the wall. Repeat the previous drill but apply more weight to your passes. This time, use two touches to control the ball with one foot and pass with the other. Hit the ball so it bounces back to you with enough speed, so you have to work on taking that first touch. Complete 100 passes with each foot.
In the previous exercises, you kicked the ball, controlled the bounce and then kicked it back in the same direction you received it. However, in a real game, you will change directions looking for a teammate to pass the ball, start a run to goal, or shoot to goal. This exercise focuses on receiving the ball and changing direction.
Stay 5 to 10 metres from the wall and pass the ball hard to the wall so it returns to you with enough speed. When the ball bounces back to you, use your first touch to change the ball’s direction 90 degrees, either left or right. Carry the ball in your chosen direction for 5 metres or more and pass the ball to the wall again. When you receive the ball, turn in the opposite direction you came. Do about 20 turns to the right and 20 turns to the left.
Like with most drills, mix it up a little to make it fun. You can add cones to this exercise, so instead of running in a straight line, you can zigzag between cones. You can practice turning 180 degrees and back. If you are practising in a place with 2 or more walls, you can practice passing to one wall and then changing direction to pass to another wall.
Ball control in the air
This exercise focuses on your ability to control balls off the ground. You will improve your control when you receive throw-ins, after someone heads a ball to you, a chip kick over a defender, etc. This drill is not useful for long-range passes or corner-kick situations.
This drill is simple. Stand about 1.5 metres from the wall and throw the ball against it at about your height. Control the ball when it bounces back to you. The ball should not touch the floor; you are allowed only one touch (back to the wall). This drill has three main progressions: keep the ball in the air using the same foot and then switch; keep the ball in the air by alternating feet; keep the ball in the air with your head. Aim at 20 or more touches for each progression without dropping the ball. If you drop the ball, start again.
No football training drills list is complete without shooting. At the end of the day, if you take football seriously, you need to know how to shoot. Being able to juggle the ball a thousand times or dribble through an entire team is pointless if your shoot is weak or lacks accuracy when you reach the goal.
To practice shooting, you will need space. Find a wall in a park or outside your house that gives you enough room to shoot. Stand back about 20 metres from the wall. Kick the ball hard with the laces of your foot. Use both feet and work on that first touch. Control the ball with one touch and try different shots as the ball bounces back. Aim for a spot in the wall like when you practised your passing. Do this for about 10 minutes.
After your practice shooting with a controlled ball, work on first-time volleys. Hit the ball against the wall, and as it’s coming back to you, position your body to kick it straight back without controlling it.
Practice makes perfect
Follow the drills above as often as you can. The best athletes practice beyond their regular training sessions. Michael Jordan used to train shooting for hours in an empty Chicago Bulls stadium. Dennis Bergkamp mentions in his autobiography that he would spend hours repeatedly practising his control by kicking a ball against a wall. However, you do need to focus on your technique. You can practice kicking the ball for hours, but if your technique is wrong, you become very good at kicking the wrong way.
Have a look at the videos below. You will better understand what you can do with just a wall and a ball.