4 More Fun Soccer Drills, Volume 2
In Volume 2 of my series on 4 Fun Soccer Drills , I’m continuing the theme with 4 more fun games that teach specific skills.
But, more importantly, they’re just a whole lot of fun!
Powerball is a great drill for improving 1v1 skills. I first stumbled upon this drill on Soccer Coach Weekly while searching for 1v1 drills, and I instantly knew this would be a hit with my team!
This drill was clearly inspired by the American Gladiators’ Powerball event on TV. Maybe you remember the show?! So many childhood memories watching American Gladiators. Anyway, aside from not including those rough, gladiator-like tackles, the concept is pretty much the same.
Note: my version may vary slightly from Soccer Coach Weekly’s, since I occasionally make minor adjustments to suit my team’s training needs.
- In a 20x20 yard area, set up four 2–3 yard -sized triangles in opposing corners as “scoring pods” (see diagram).
- In the very center, set up a 2–3 yard square as the 5th “scoring pod.”
- On opposing ends (lengthwise), place a cone centrally about 5 yards out as starting cones for the 2 teams (see diagram).
- Divide your players up into 2 teams (red and blue in the diagram), and have them line up behind their starting cones.
- Each team will need at least one ball per player at their starting cones.
- The first player in each line will start off as a defender, and will move to the other side of the playing area to line up between the 2 scoring pods in front of their opponent.
- The next player in each line will start as an attacker with a ball, at their team’s starting cone.
- The attacker attempts to dribble 1v1 by the defender, and stop the ball in any of the five scoring pods.
- The center scoring pod is worth 5 points, and the four corner pods are worth 1 point each.
- If the defender steals the ball, the turn is over. The defender passes the ball back to their opponent’s line, and returns to the back of his/her team’s line.
- Defenders are not allowed to run through the scoring pods or touch the ball once it’s entered one of the pods.
- After the attacker has scored or lost the ball, he/she runs to take his/her place on the other side of playing area to defend the next player in line for the opposing team.
- Once the next defender reaches his/her spot between the scoring pods, the next attacker in line can go.
- The team that scores the most points wins!
- Play for 10 minutes, assess the score and get water. Then play for another 10 minutes.
- Alternatively, play to a specific score, like first to 10 points.
- If the triangles are too small or awkward, you can always just use squares.
- Adjust the size of the scoring area to make it easier (larger = easier).
- If you have enough soccer balls, you can divide up 8–10 balls per team. With this you adjust the play so the attackers must leave their scored balls inside the pod, and limit scoring to 2–3 per pod. This forces attackers to find new, open pods.
Another drill I picked up from my former player, Tyler, is Touch Post. He learned it during his time playing at Broughton High School in North Carolina.
Touch Post is a fast-paced 2v2 shooting game, that improves both goal scoring opportunities in addition to 2v2 defending in the box. In this high-action drill, your goalkeepers will get a lot of shots as well.
- Make a 44 yard wide by 22 yard long playing area using the 18 yard box.
- Place two full-size goals 22 yards apart in the center, facing each other.
- Divide up soccer balls between both goals, inside or outside the net (doesn’t matter) — you’ll want as many balls as possible (at least 4 to 10+)
- Divide up players into 2 teams, with a goalkeeper per team.
- Teams will line up evenly on their respective posts (half on one side, half on the other like in the diagram).
- The first 2 players on each team play 2v2 with their goalkeepers (so 3v3 really) and attempt to score from anywhere in the play area.
- Play starts with a kick-in, by the Blue team’s goalkeeper.
- The team that scores must immediately run back and touch their respective post(s) before being able to come back into play.
- Meanwhile the team that got scored on swaps out with their next 2 players in line—who can immediately come into play with a ball at their feet.
Play continues in this format: the team that scores touches their posts, and the team that got scored on subs out.
- Out of bounds begins with a kick-in from the spot it went out or as a goal kick (if it goes over the end line).
- If neither team hasn’t scored after 2 minutes, swap both teams out. Team that last got scored on starts with the ball.
- If a team of 2 has dominated and scored 5 goals in a row, they must sub out. Note: can stop play to do this or require a tag-substitution instead of touching posts.
- (Optional) Goalkeepers not allowed shoot or under limited circumstances.
- This should be fast-paced and seem never-ending. Players will get plenty of rest if they’re getting scored on, while players who continue to score will eventually tire. Gauge tiredness and adjust rules or sub out as needed.
- Play for 15–20 minutes. Take water breaks as needed depending on heat / tiredness of players.
- Look to combine
- Create passing options
- Use your goalkeeper
Power & Finesse
One of the many games I remember from my childhood is Power and Finesse. We played this game a lot at the end of practices as a reward for working hard.
What’s great about this game, besides being a lot of fun, is that it works on shooting technique and controlling those rare shots that are set up on a platter—the ones where you get all wide-eyed and usually shank into the parking lot.
Of all the fun games I have in my back pocket, my youth teams probably love this the most. Is it the competition? The pressure of not missing? The sweet feeling of cracking a perfect shot at the coach in goal? Maybe it’s all of the above.
- Place two cones 8 yards apart (width of the goal) and about 25 to 30 yards away from the goal (for younger players, make it 15 to 20 yards).
- Collect as many soccer balls as you can, and place them just to the outside of one of the posts next to the coach (“C” on the diagram below).
- With a goalkeeper (or a coach) in goal, divide the rest of your players up into two teams (as evenly as possible), and have them take their positions in a line behind the cones.
- The coach or an assistant coach will be in charge of distributing balls beside the post.
Decide which team goes first — flip a coin, pick a number, etc. (let’s say it’s blue)
- To begin, the coach will call out the name of the player at the front of the line for blue, as a check if they’re “ready”.
- Then the coach will roll one ball firmly (with some pace) to the top of the box as the player runs forward to take a shot with power.
- The player must shoot with one touch!
- Shortly after the first ball is rolled, the coach will roll out a second ball between the 6 yard box and the penalty spot (shouldn’t be too firm).
- The player will continue his/her run after the first shot in order to finish (with finesse) the second ball (as if a rebound).
Note: It’s important that the players take only one touch for both of their shots.
- If a player misses both shots, he/she is eliminated (and will go behind the goal to help collect missed shots).
- If a player makes only one shot, they’re still in, and will go to the back of the line.
- If a player makes both shots, they get to “bonus” challenge any opponent to make both as well (see bonus challenge below).
- The teams take turns shooting until there is only one team left (their opponents have all been eliminated).
- If the last player left on a team misses both shots, he/she is not eliminated until their next opponent makes at least one shot.
- If their opponent misses both, he/she is out, and the next player in line has to make at least one for that last player to be eliminated.
- If it gets down to 1 player each, one player has to make at least one shot to eliminate their opponent.
Note: If you have more than one goalkeeper, rotate goalies after each full game (or whenever you feel it is good timing to rotate them).
Bonus challenge rules:
- When a player is challenged, it is a “bonus” chance to knockout an opponent.
- The challenged player must make both shots. If they miss any, they’re out.
- If a player is challenged, and they make both their shots, the player that challenged them is eliminated!
- After the challenge, the team that was challenged goes next for their normal turn—it’s was a “bonus” challenge, so it was an extra chance to be knocked out in addition to their next turn.
- If players resort to “toe bashing” a shot or other poor technique, feel free to make that an automatic elimination.
World Cuppies (sometimes just called “World Cup”) is a simple, classic game that be played almost anywhere there’s a goal, a handful of players and a ball.
The game is obviously named after the FIFA World Cup. But, the game itself comes from the playground, where kids would pretend to represent their favorite FIFA nation, and play a knockout-style mini World Cup with everyone on the field at once. For the most part, it’s a game of pure chaos (and fun)—just you and a partner verses the world (i.e. everyone else).
I played this countless times as a kid at practice or just for fun with my friends. And, now as a coach, I feel I have an obligation to pass this gem onto the next generation.
- All you really need is a goal and a ball.
- Divide players up into multiple teams of 2, 3 or 4 depending on numbers and age/skill levels. You can have anywhere from 3 to 6 different teams. Generally younger players fare better in teams of 3 or 4 so there’s less clumping and more help from teammates. Older players tend to spread out more, and enjoy the challenge of playing 2 verse everyone else.
- Optional: if you don’t have a six yard box lined, you may choose to create a 6 yard zone in front of the goal where no players can enter or shoot inside.
Play and Rules
- Every team must name themselves one of the FIFA countries. It just wouldn’t be “World Cuppies” without this.
- It’s basically, every team verse every team.
- The coach or goalkeeper throws or lightly punts the ball into an empty area or at random, and yells “ball in!”
- When a ball goes out of bounds or is scored, the coach sends in a new ball, yelling “ball in!”
- The team that scores gets to rest, and will advance to the next round.
- The last remaining team is knocked out.
- Continue rounds until there is only one team left.
- Optional: if you have a six yard box / zone, the players should not enter that zone to score.
Progressions and variations
- Multi-ball — if players are clumping too much or you’re trying to hurry a round to finish, try tossing in another ball (or two more)—depending on teams left. This increases rates of scoring and makes the game more spread out and dynamic. It also forces players to communicate more.
- Headers or Crosses — optionally you can allow headers or goals scored off crosses inside the six yard box/zone.
- Call out your country before scoring! Some people play this way, but I generally don’t. Basically, in this variation, in order for your goal to count, you have to have yelled out your team’s country’s name while shooting.
Questions, comments and feedback
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. And, I’d love to know if you tried these drills—tell me how it went!
If you haven’t yet, make sure you checkout out my first post, 4 Fun Soccer Drills, Volume 1.