If you want to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, there’s no doubt about it--you’re going to need to practice. And if you want your soccer career to extend to the next level, you’re also going to need master a few soccer skills. We’re rounding up some of the best drills to get your soccer skills up to expert level in no time.
First, Here’s Why You Should Incorporate These Skills Into a Daily Routine
A 2017 study by the University of Queensland found some surprising new data: while we think of speed and power as indicators of a star player’s success, it is skill that determines how much a player will impact his or her game.
Players with greater skill are better at passing and have better ball control. Soccer stars themselves admit to practicing for hours and hours and hours--often getting thousands of touches a day with the ball. This kind of practice isn’t flashy, but becoming one with the ball is vital to your success on the field.
A Thousand Ball Touches a Day
Since there’s only one way to develop skill (practice!), creating a daily routine will gradually put you leagues ahead of your teammates.
Creating a daily routine is also an important part of helping you build the stamina and motivation that you’ll need to play at a higher level. You can’t wait to practice till other people are around; you have to prove to yourself how much you want it, even when nobody else is putting in the work.
There are lots of great routines you can try--like this one from Simply Soccer on YouTube or this one that features pro soccer player Matt Sheldon’s daily routine. Or, put your own together using the rest of the skills and drills below.
Like basketball, dribbling is the most basic yet most important skill a player can learn. While basketball players use their hands to dribble the ball down the court, soccer players use their feet to guide the ball across the field.
This skill is necessary when playing defense or offense, for power plays or simple movement, and it must be done while dodging opposing players. Proper dribbling involves a soft touch and the ability to use both feet.
Don't wait until the game to practice dribbling. Being able to will help you get out of tight situations, keep possession of the ball, and be a dangerous offensive threat.
In this video, Dylan Tooby explains that when most people practice dribbling, what they’re doing is trying out different tricks. Instead, practice changing directions and accelerating and slowing quickly--these are the drills that will turn you into an offensive powerhouse who can hang on to the ball even in tight situations.
Get Better at Dribbling With These Drills
There are lots of drills that can help you get better at dribbling. Here are a few:
2. Passing & Receiving
Passing and receiving are technically two different skills, but because many of the best drills involve both soccer skills, we include them together.
Passing is a vital skill to learn not just because it’s an essential part of any good soccer game, but because a player won’t pass the ball unless he or she is willing to put the team’s needs first. In other words, passing indicates sportsmanship and a team player mentality, which is something talent scouts and upper-level coaches will be keen to find.
If your passing skills are weak, you’ll be less confident about passing the ball and less likely to do it. If your passing skills are strong, however, you’ll be able to manipulate the ball through some sticky situations.
Receiving is just as important, but for a more obvious reason: you won’t be able to show up your great ball handling skills, power, or speed if you can’t receive a pass! You’ll also potentially end up in a position that opens you up to losing the ball, a mistake you never want to make.
Improve Your Passing & Receiving Skills With These Drills
Here are a few great passing and receiving drills to get you started:
Finally, the fun skill! Shooting is, no doubt, the soccer skill that gets the glory. And while you won’t get to the shooting position very often if your dribbling, passing, and receiving skills are poor, all those skills mean little if you can’t shoot when it’s necessary.
Shooting, contrary to what many people think, isn’t a guessing game, and it doesn’t require tremendous muscle strength. Instead, it’s about consistency and technique. This is good news since these are things that can be achieved through practice!
Further, while you might only shoot once or twice in a game (if at all), it’s such a critical skill that it must be practiced with as much dedication as any of the other soccer skills we’ve already mentioned.
Finally, don’t practice shooting with only your dominant foot. If you can shoot powerfully from either foot, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with!
Master Shooting With These Drills
Here are our two favorite drills for helping you enhance your shooting technique:
Mastering these three soccer skills with daily routines will take your soccer playing to the next level. Good luck!