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Basic Soccer Drills for Beginners: Essential Skill-Building Exercises

Soccer, a sport adored worldwide, requires a strong foundation in fundamental skills. For beginners, mastering basic soccer drills is crucial to lay the groundwork for future success on the field. Whether you’re new to the sport or seeking to refine your skills, these soccer drills cater to dribbling, passing, ball control, and shooting. The minimal equipment required makes them accessible for players at any level.

Dribbling Beginner Basic Soccer Drills

Soccer Slalom for Beginners

Purpose: Improving balance, speed, and coordination during dribbling.

Set up: 1 soccer ball 6 cones

How it Works: Arrange cones in a zig-zag pattern one yard apart. Dribble through the slalom, then sprint straight back.

Coaching Points:

  • Focus on small touches through the slalom.
  • Accelerate after turning a cone.

Don’t Touch the Cone Soccer Drill for Beginners

Purpose: Enhancing coordination, ball control, and shooting skills.

Set up: Soccer ball Cones or obstacles 1 goal 2 tall cones

How it Works: Create an obstacle course with cones. Dribble through without touching any. Finish with a shot on goal.

Coaching Points:

  • Maintain close ball control.
  • Quickly change direction around the tall cone.
  • Use instep (laces) for shooting.

Soccer Skill Drill for Beginners

Purpose: Repetitive practice of various skills against a defender.

Set up: 2 cones 1 mannequin/ tall cone 1 soccer ball

How it Works: Dribble towards the dummy, perform a skill, then sprint to the far cone. Repeat on both sides.

Coaching Points:

  • Quick touches approaching the mannequin.
  • Use a skill with a change of direction.
  • Change speed after the skill.

Close Control Crosshair Soccer Drill for Beginners

Purpose: Improving close control dribbling skills.

Set up: 5 cones 1 soccer ball

How it Works: Place cones in a crosshair pattern. Dribble from any cone, completing a circuit in both directions.

Coaching Points:

  • Take small touches for ball control.
  • Use laces and outside of the foot.
  • Alternate feet based on direction.

Block the Gates Soccer Drill

Purpose: Encouraging quick changes of direction with the ball.

Set up: 5 gates (2 cones per gate) 2 players (1 attacker, 1 defender) 1 soccer ball

How it Works: Attacker aims to dribble through gates; defender blocks. Switch roles after 2 minutes. Most gates dribbled through wins.

Coaching Points:

  • Dribble with head up.
  • Use small touches for changes, bigger for acceleration.
  • Employ body feints to deceive the defender.

Figure 8 Dribbling Soccer Drill

Purpose: Enhancing close ball control in small areas.

How it Works: Dribble around cones in a figure 8 pattern. Vary foot usage and try different variations.

Coaching Points:

  • Take small touches.
  • Keep a lower center of gravity.
  • Dribble with head up.

Passing Beginner Soccer Drills

Wall Passing Drill for Beginners

Purpose: Improving passing accuracy and control.

Set up: 1 soccer ball 1 wall

How it Works: Stand about 5 feet away from a wall. Pass the ball against the wall with the inside of your foot, controlling the return pass.

Coaching Points:

  • Use the inside of the foot for passing.
  • Focus on accuracy and control.

Building a Solid Foundation

Mastering these basic soccer drills forms a solid foundation for players of all levels, setting the stage for continuous skill development and enjoyment of the beautiful game. Whether honing dribbling techniques, perfecting ball control, or sharpening shooting skills, these drills cater to beginners eager to advance their soccer proficiency.

Constructing Effective Practice Routines

Incorporating these drills into your practice routine can yield significant improvements. For beginners, consistency and repetition are key. Here’s how you can structure an effective practice session:

Warm-Up (15 minutes)

Begin with a dynamic warm-up to prepare the muscles for the activities ahead. Include light jogging, dynamic stretches, and some ball-related exercises. Engaging with the ball during warm-up sets a positive tone for the session.

Dribbling Drills (20 minutes)

Start with dribbling drills to focus on ball control and footwork. Progress from simpler drills to more complex ones as players become comfortable. Emphasize using both feet and different parts of the foot for better versatility.

Passing Drills (15 minutes)

Transition to passing drills to enhance accuracy and technique. Utilize wall passing, partner passing, and triangle passing drills. Encourage players to communicate and maintain good passing form.

Ball Control Drills (15 minutes)

Devote time to ball control drills, incorporating close control exercises like the figure 8 dribbling drill and the close control crosshair drill. This segment enhances a player’s ability to keep the ball close in various situations.

Shooting Drills (20 minutes)

Conclude the session with shooting drills to refine goal-scoring abilities. Include target shooting, one-on-one shooting, and volley shooting drills. Emphasize proper shooting techniques and encourage creativity in front of goal.

Cool Down (15 minutes)

Finish the practice with a cool-down period. Engage in light stretching exercises to promote flexibility and prevent injuries. Use this time for brief reflections on the practice and set goals for improvement.

The Journey to Mastery

Soccer mastery is a continuous journey, and these basic drills provide the stepping stones for players to progress confidently. Regular practice, dedication, and a love for the game are essential components of this journey. Coaches and players alike should embrace the learning process, celebrating small victories and learning from challenges.


Embarking on the soccer journey as a beginner requires patience, persistence, and a commitment to foundational skill development. These basic soccer drills, meticulously designed for beginners, cover essential aspects of the game. Whether navigating dribbling slaloms, engaging in passing triangles, or honing shooting accuracy, players build the skills needed for a successful soccer career. Remember, the beauty of soccer lies in its simplicity, and mastery of the basics lays the groundwork for extraordinary achievements on the field. Enjoy the journey, relish the learning process, and let the love of the game propel you forward.


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