In this post we go over 11 of the very best soccer drills for ball control / dribbling mastery.
A good first touch brings the ball under control. A great first pass sets the player up for their next move. Ball control involves the feet but also the chest, head, and even the thighs. It requires agility, speed, and awareness, as well as skill.
Doing these soccer ball control drills will help teach these skills so that they become second nature to all players.
11 Soccer Drills for Ball Control
1. Ball Control Basics
Cushion control and wedge control are the two main types of ball control in football. Cushion control stops the ball and cushions it at the feet of the player while wedge control redirects it so that the player can start a run or take out an opposition player. The ball control basics drill teaches situational awareness and decision making behind ball control.
2. Master Ball Control
This master ball control drill helps improve agility and flexibility, which are key to good ball control. It uses three cones, three players, and two balls and is really beneficial to close ball control. The speed of passing two balls between three people encourages physical and mental agility.
3. Fun Upside Down Cone Game
The fun upside down cone game doesn’t use a ball, but it does help improve agility, concentration, and awareness, all of which are important to good ball control skills. It’s also a competitive drill, pitting teams against one another.
4. Dribbling Drill for Close Ball Control
The dribbling drill for close ball control is a cone dribbling drill that teaches close dribbling that enables the player to keep the ball while progressing. It also introduces skill moves, which will help players use more than just a simple dribble when they’re trying to get down the pitch. There are six variations in this drill, and you can create or adapt your own.
5. Juggling Drill
Juggling the ball looks great and is popular on the playground. It’s also beneficial to improve reaction time and your close ball control skills. A juggling drill is also fun, and you can encourage rotations that start with once on each foot, then twice on each foot, and so on, also introducing thighs, chests, heads, and more.
6. King of the Hill
King of the hill requires multiple small teams, all assigned their own small coned square. The ball is only allowed to bounce once in a team’s box, they can take as many touches as needed before passing the ball to another box. If the ball bounces more than once, that team is out. As well as ball control, good communication is needed between teams, as well as awareness and reactions.
7. Soccer Dribbling Drill Feinting
Performing a feint means moving or pretending to move in a particular direction, deceiving the opponent and potentially wrong-footing them. It can be an effective addition to a dribbling game and this drill is used to practice and master the feint as part of dribbling.
8. Receiving and Turning with the Soccer Ball
Receiving the ball on the half turn means being aware of where the defender is and then moving the ball away from them while using the momentum of the body to start a run. This drill teaches the use of the inside and the outside of your soccer cleat to receive and turn a defender.
9. Passing and Receiving Football Drill
The passing and receiving football drill is a 2v2 drill. The two attacking players aim to pass the ball between one another and to get around and past the defending players before passing it to a target man. Meanwhile, defenders try and intercept and then pass the ball out to the target men. The drill includes varieties and adaptations to progress the training.
10. How to Control the Ball Under Pressure
Practicing receiving a pass can help with control, but receiving the ball when under pressure in a game situation is very different to receiving the ball on a practice pitch with no pressure. This drill teaches players to receive the ball, hold off defenders, and create opportunities.
11. Between the Lines Channel Drill
Channels are spaces on the pitch that are created between players. Typically, they are between the line of defense, and they can present a running, dribbling, or passing opportunity. The between the lines channel drill teaches players what to do when they find themselves in a channel, and how best to move the ball forward from these opportunities.
Soccer Drills For Dribbling & Ball Control – Final Thought
Ball control is an essential skill in football and one that can make the difference between a good player and a great one. The 11 drills above help teach good decision making, how to control the ball as its played in, and good first touch that will help advance a move and keep the ball.