Another 4 Fun Soccer Drills, Volume 3
Loopers, Bucketball 2.0, Soccer Skee-ball, and Screamers
In continuing my series on 4 Fun Soccer Drills, I bring you Volume 3—a collection of a few more entertaining games I’ve discovered online in addition to a fun and effective drill I created a long time ago.
I discovered Loopers on YouTube while looking for fun volleying drills. The first instance was from SoccerCoachTV, and then I later came across Soccerspective’s video which is where I got the name, “Loopers” (coincidentally from another SoccerCoachTV’s training session).
In both videos, the drill is essentially the same. You have 2 teams, each taking turns trying to flick the ball over the back of the goal to their teammate standing on the 6 yard box. The receiver then tries to volley or head the ball into the goal.
Using this concept, I modified the drill to suit younger teams (like my U12 team) who might have difficult executing the flick over the goal. Needless to say, it’s a lot of fun!
- Divide up your players into 2 teams, and have them line up on opposite goal posts (outside of the goal).
- If there’s no penalty spot marked, use a cone.
- Lots of balls should be available on either post.
- The first player of one team will start in goal, while the other team starts with the ball — with one player at the PK spot and the other (next in line) at the post holding the ball.
- The player holding the ball tosses it to his/her teammate to volley or head at the goal — trying to score.
- The opposing player in goal tries to save it.
- Play rotates by having the player who was in goal becomes the shooter (moving to the PK spot); the player who tossed the ball becomes the keeper; and the player who just shot fetches their ball, and goes to the back of the line; while the next player in line on the shooting team picks up a ball and tosses it.
- Keep score!
Go for 8–10 minutes, and rest.
- It’s more fun if the play goes quickly, but too much chaos would be bad, so keep a check on the tempo.
- If your age group is not allowed to head the ball, don’t do headers! Work on volleys instead.
You’ve may have seen variations of Bucketball around the internet and social media. In each variation, the basic goal is for players to keep the ball in the air by heading (or volleying) it back and forth toward a bucket or trash bin.
There’s the version where a group of players move together down the field, like Manchester City’s Bucketball challenge. There’s the version played in locker rooms. And, then there’s Bayern Munich’s “bucket ball” variation that inspired my version.
- With a large plastic bucket (or rubber trash can / tub) in the middle, place a couple cones on opposite sides about 5–10 yards from the edge of the bucket (adjust distance for age / skill level).
- Have 8 or more players? Set up another bucket and cones about 12 yards apart (just so there’s room without interference)
- Divide your players into 2 teams.
- Gather as many soccer balls as you can (6+ is best)!
Playing with 4–7 players
- With only one bucket, one team will line up on one side (1st cone) and the other team across from them (2nd cone).
- The first player from each team will stand beside the bucket (on either side), and become the “server” — with the balls distributed evenly between them at their feet.
- When the coach says “Go!”, the servers will toss the ball to their teammates who will try to volley the ball into the bucket to score.
- The player who just volleyed switches places with the server, and the server goes to the back of the line.
- Play continues once the server grabs their next ball and is able to serve (beside the bucket only!).
- Who ever scores more in a set amount of time (2–3 minutes) -OR- scores all their balls first wins (e.g. first to score 3).
Playing with 8 or more players?
- Now with 2 buckets, teams can take up both sides of a single bucket (i.e. one bucket per team), with 2 servers per team.
- Balls are evenly distributed between both teams/buckets.
- Play is the same as above with 4–7 players.
- Players cannot interfere with the volleyed ball in flight (no tap ins or dunks, etc.), most especially their opponents.
- If two balls collide in flight or one knocks another out of its path into the bucket, that is part of the game.
- The ball cannot bounce on the ground and in — it must go directly in the bucket from the air.
- Players cannot steal balls from other teams — they must keep track of their balls only!
- If the ball goes in the bucket and bounces out, it counts (unless you make a hard rule that it doesn’t — upfront)
- Balls that score in the bucket, stay inside it until the end of the round.
- “Servers Stay” — don’t rotate the servers during a round. Have them rotate at the end of each game, which is less crazy and less running.
- “Bounce-ins” — allow bounce-ins (generally for younger players).
- “Close counts” — count 1 point for hitting the bucket, and 3 for landing in the bucket (and staying).
- “Headers” — for older players who can head the ball, shorten the distance to the bucket a little.
- “Laces Only” or “Instep Only” — change the allowed foot surface area.
- “Trap then Volley” — require a chest trap or thigh trap before volleying.
- Underhand tossing is best
- Bend your knees
I came across this fun game on Instagram, where a few NC Courage players challenge each other in Skee-ball.
This game may or may not work really well as a drill on its own, but it certainly could be set up as a fun pre- or post-training challenge or on a light training day. However you work it into a session, it’s really great for working on weight and accuracy of passes.
This is a game that coach can play too—I’ve had a lot of fun challenging my own players.
- 10–15 yards from the end line or sideline, create a 5 yard square.
- Then, 5 yards away, create another 5 yard square.
- Between the 2 squares, make a smaller 2 yard square.
- All players competing will line up on the line with their ball.
- Taking turns, the players will attempt to pass the ball into one of the squares to score points.
- If the ball stops inside one of the two larger squares, the player scores 1 point.
- If the ball stops inside the smaller center square, the player scores 3 points.
- After 5 rounds, the player with the highest score wins!
Variations & adjustments
- Adjust the distances and squares sizes to suit the age and skill level of your players. For instance, shorten the distance to the squares to make it slightly easier. Or make the squares slightly larger (6 or 8 yards and 3–5 yards) to make scoring easier.
- Adjust the scoring by making the closer square 1 point, the center square 5 points and the farthest square 2 points.
- Use the inside of your foot for accuracy, like putt-putt / mini-golf
- Adjust the weight / strength of your pass
I created this drill a long time ago to help my U14 team improve lay-offs and long distance shots. For some reason, our strikers seemed to continually turn toward goal (against the odds) even when a better option was available, like a lay-off to a midfielder. My hope was that this would incentivize setting up a teammate who might have a better shot, and to work on our ability to shoot from a distance. It worked.
While this drill was designed for 11v11 (U13+), it could be easily modified for 9v9 teams.
I named the drill “Screamers” after the slang word for beautiful long distance shots. Another potential name is “Worldies”.
- Make a 44 yard by 36 yard playing area around the 18 yard box, placing 2 cones on the end line and 2 more cones 18 yards from the top of the box. The top of the 18 yard box divides the playing area into 2 halves, which can be marked with cones if the line is not obvious.
- Place 2 full-size goals 36 yards apart in the center, facing each other at ends.
- 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 of 5, with a goalkeeper per team. Try to divide up your players so that each team has a couple strikers and few defenders and/or midfielders.
- If you have extra players, either make a 3rd team or use them as subs for each team.
- Each team will have 2 “strikers” and 3 “defenders”. Strikers will take their positions in their offensive half of the playing area, and defenders will position themselves in their defensive half so that it’s 2v3 in each half.
- Strikers and defenders may not cross the halfway line (top of the box). They must stay on their side of the playing area.
- Play begins with coach tossing up a 50/50 ball.
- Strikers must work with their defenders to score as many goals as possible.
- Goals scored by strikers and defenders are worth 1 point.
- Goals scored by defenders of a lay-off (one touch) are worth 3 points.
- Goals scored off a cross are worth 3 points.
- Play kick-ins instead of throw-ins. No corner kicks. Goal kicks start at the goalkeepers feet.
- This should be fast-paced and seem never-ending. Gauge tiredness and sub out as needed.
- Play for 15–20 minutes. Take water breaks as needed depending on heat / tiredness of players.
- If you have 3 teams, play to a specific score, like first to 5 wins. Then swap out the losing team.
- Look to combine
- Create passing options
- Use your goalkeeper
More fun soccer drills
Check out the other parts in this series:
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!