21 Soccer Drills to Improve Your Ball Control

Every prestigious soccer player shares one thing in common: exceptional ball control.  In this article, I will discuss 21 drills that will help  impro

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Every prestigious soccer player shares one thing in common: exceptional ball control.  In this article, I will discuss 21 drills that will help  improve your ball control.  It is so important to perfect as it will allow you to manipulate the ball as efficiently and creatively as possible. Also, the better ball control you have the more dynamic and adaptable you are. You’ll cover the field more productively and contribute more on the field in both attacking and defending roles. So, lets get started!

All 21 drills will require you to mark a square that is 2m x 2m with cones. (If you need some cones,you can buy some here).

Take a ball and always start in the middle of your square. Do your drills under realistic conditions; wear soccer cleats, take a high quality ball, and play on turf, grass or asphalt. Limit each drill to a maximum of 30 seconds each. Take a 2 minute break after you complete 7 drills.

The 21 drills I have selected are those that I feel are easy to grasp, and that will help you see the most improvement. These drills are the ones I have done myself many times, and continue to. They are all based on what can be found in this video.

Watch this video   for demonstration, and refer back to my  notes in between. What I have noticed is that many sites tell you what drills to do, but fail to tell you the purpose behind them. This will help you better understand the components to each drill.

#1 Continued Scissors:
This encourages spatial awareness – building awareness of the distance from your foot to the ball.  Jump over the ball by alternating both your left and right foot.

#2 Sole Taps:
Promotes the feeling of your foot onto the ball. Lightly tap the tip of your foot on the ball and repeat using both feet.
Do not hit the ball too hard or your ball will fly around. The objective is to keep it close to you, while keeping the ball still in the same spot.

#3 Sole Drag:
A variation of sole taps – you are using the tip of your foot to roll the ball across the front of your body.  Similarly to sole taps, it’s promoting the feel of the ball, with the added part of  quickly alternating each leg to receive the ball with control.

#4.  Football Dance:
Again, like we’ve seen in sole taps, this exercise encourages the player to make light touches from the tip of their foot onto the ball while the ball is not static, thus promoting control.

#5 Triple Sole Drag:
Same principle seen in the above exercises. This time you’re taking the tip of your foot and dragging the ball in and out, then passing it to your other foot.  This is really good practice for taunting your opponent.

#6 Sole Drag (R); Inside Push:
Passing the ball with your left foot, and forcing your right foot to react quickly and smoothly with the tip of the foot is challenging;but great for reacting quickly in tight spaces where you otherwise would not have the time to be able to get your foot completely over the ball.

#7 Sole Drag (L); Inside Push:
Same process is repeated from #6 however you’re using your left foot.

#8 Sole Drag (R); Outside Push (R)
The same principle  in #6 and #7  is demonstrated in sole drag outside push, however this time this drill is getting you comfortable with using the outside of your foot. This is key, because when we dribble with the ball we use the outside of our foot primarily.

#9 Sole Drag (L); Outside Push (L)
Same process is repeated from #8. Instead you’re using your left foot.

#10 The V- Inside
This is a really great drill  that focuses on quick switch of direction. By pulling the ball back, opening up your foot, you’re opening up your hips and legs to direct yourself to a new direction. This is a great move to utilize in a game because so often we are required  to move directions (adjust) when there are defenders in our way. Its important to be able to feel comfortable performing this movement.

#11 The V- Outside
This is an extension from the V-inside. With V-outside, you’re using the outside of your foot to direct the movement of the ball. This is great for center backs who are moving up the field with the ball right before they’re about to dictate where they’ll send their long ball; either to their right or left back, or their striker.

#12 Pull, Push, Instep (R)
Similarly to the many drills from the beginning, this one encourages the feel from your foot to the ball  by the pushing forward of the ball, and the bringing back of the ball. Its good to do this with quick and short movements.

#13 Pull, Push, Instep (L)
Same process in #12. Instead you’re using the opposite leg; you’re using your left foot.

#14 Pull, Push, Instep (Both)
The same principle in #12 and #13 are applied. This time you’re doing both legs at the same time. This adds a complexity component – making it a little more challenging.

#15 Triple Pull, Push  (Both)
This is a complicated drill. It involves all three layers of pull, push, and instep.  You’re using the outside of your foot, then the tip of your foot to grab that ball back and pull it back, and then your pushing it back to start the drill all over again.

#16 Roll Over,  Stop
This is about familiarizing yourself and getting comfortable with speed.  It’s easy to perform soccer skills when they’re slow. However, when you add speed it can mess you up.  This is great when you receive a ball in motion, and you have to dribble into it.

#17 4x Inside, Role Over
This works on light taps, to improve passing, and awareness of where a ball hits your foot when you receive a pass.

#18 Inside, Stop, Slide (out/in)
This is tricky. This has many layers to it.  There’s speed,  it works on light  small taps on the inside of your sole, and dragging the ball with the tip of your foot outwards and then inwards, all at once.   This really works your foot to work in tight spaces.

#19 Inside Cut, Outside Push
This is a drill that works on on agility. Lionel Messi is known for doing this in games: he shifts off his defenders with a quick change in pace. He moves  fast, slow then fast with short bursts of blazing speed.

#20 Inside Cut, 2x Outside Push
The same principles are happening in this drill that we saw in drill #19, however you’re taking an added touch for extra control.

#21 Role Over, Inside stop
This is a more fancy and complicated drill.  Rolling the ball in front of you, crossing your legs over the ball as it goes through your leg and stopping it with your back foot is quite technically demanding.  This challenges your foot-eye coordination, and spatial awareness as you will not see the ball behind you as easily when you have to stop it with your behind leg. You must anticipate the right time when that ball
will arrive. Cristiano Ronaldo is a someone who is excellent at this.

So there you have it !  The great thing about these drills is that you can perform them anywhere, and
anytime. They are drills that are designed to be repeated over, and over, and over again. I guarantee that if you incorporate these drills into your routine, you will reach that next level. You will be more  productive on the field, more involved in play, and even be apart of scoring.

Good luck with practicing these drills!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Also let me know how you have progressed.

Special thanks to Coach Tino Schreiber for making these drills available.


  • comment-avatar
    Michael 1 year

    Well done. Lots of material. Good to help kids or soccer enthusiasts.

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