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. In this post we 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 go ahead with these drills, keep in mind 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 at 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 away to our friends’ kids or charities.
Passing and first touch
Many players are comfortable with just good enough passes. This may be fine to play a pickup game with your friends, but in a tournament (amateur or professional) you must pass the ball at speed and with pinpoint accuracy. Working with a wall will help you improve your passing outside your team practice sessions.
Start by standing 2 to 3 metres from the wall. Kick the ball to the wall as if you were passing it to a teammate. When the ball bounces back, “pass” it back to the wall on one touch. Alternate feet with each bounce of the ball: 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 applying more weight to your passes. These time use two touches, 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 kick 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, to start a run to goal or to shoot to goal. This exercise focuses on receiving the ball and changing direction.
Stay at 5 to 10 metres from the wall and pass the ball hard to the wall so it comes back to you with enough speed. When the ball bounces back to you, use your first touch to change the direction of the ball 90 degrees, either left or right. Carry the ball in the direction you’ve chosen for 5 metres or more and pass the ball to the wall again. This time when your receive the ball, turn into 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 practicing 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 that are 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 that useful for long range passes or corner kicks 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 and you are allowed only one touch (back to the wall). There are three main progressions in this drill: 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. For each progression, aim at 20 or more touches 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 thousand times or dribble through an entire team is pointless if when you get to goal your shoot is weak or lacks accuracy.
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 types of shots as the ball bounces back. Like when you practiced your passing, aim for a spot in the wall. 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 practicing his control by kicking a ball against a wall over and over. However, you do need to focus in your technique. You can practice kicking the ball for hours, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at kicking the wrong way.
Have a look at the videos below. You will get a better idea of what you can do with just a wall and a ball.
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