9+ Soccer Ball Control Drills (Overview)

Ball control is one of the fundamental skills that every soccer player must possess.

The ability to control the ball with finesse and accuracy is crucial for players in all positions, from defenders to forwards.

Soccer Ball Control Drills

  1. Cone Dribbling: Navigate through cones maintaining close ball control.
  2. Wall Passes: Practice quick, one-touch passes with a wall.
  3. Juggling: Enhance touch by juggling the ball using feet, thighs, and head.
  4. Zig-Zag Dribbling: Dribble in a zig-zag pattern to improve control.
  5. Shielding Drills: Learn to shield the ball from opponents.
  6. First Touch Drills: Work on controlling the ball efficiently with the first touch.
  7. Passing Circles: Practice accurate passing in a circular formation.
  8. Ball Trapping: Develop skills to trap the ball effectively under pressure.
  9. Square Drills: Perform drills in a square setup focusing on control and precision.
  10. Pressure Situations: Simulate pressure situations to enhance ball retention skills.

Below we look deeper into various soccer ball control drills that can help players improve their technique and elevate their game to the next level.

The Importance of Ball Control in Soccer

Ball control is the foundation upon which all other soccer skills are built.

It allows players to receive, trap, and manipulate the ball effectively, giving them more time and space to make decisions on the field.

Good ball control enables players to maintain possession, create scoring opportunities, and execute precise passes and shots.

Furthermore, ball control is essential for players to navigate through tight spaces, evade opponents, and maintain balance while dribbling.

It is a skill that separates average players from exceptional ones, as it provides a solid platform for executing more advanced moves and techniques.

Drills to Enhance Ball Control

Now that we understand the significance of ball control in soccer, let’s look deeper into some effective drills that can help players improve their skills:

1. Cone Dribbling

This drill focuses on improving close ball control and agility.

Set up a series of cones in a straight line, approximately one yard apart.

Dribble the ball through the cones using both feet, ensuring that each touch is controlled and precise.

Challenge yourself by increasing the speed and complexity of the drill.

2. Wall Passes

Another one you can do on your own.

Find a sturdy wall and stand a few yards away from it.

Pass the ball against the wall using the inside of your foot, and as it returns, control it with a soft touch.

Repeat this drill, alternating between your left and right foot.

This exercise helps develop quick reflexes and improves your ability to control the ball under pressure.

3. Juggling

Juggling is a classic drill that enhances overall ball control and coordination.

Start by juggling the ball with your dominant foot, gradually incorporating your weaker foot as you progress.

Challenge yourself to increase the number of consecutive juggles and experiment with different parts of your body, such as thighs and head.

4. Square Passing

Set up a square using cones or markers.

Position yourself in the middle of the square and pass the ball to each corner using different techniques, such as inside foot, outside foot, and laces.

Focus on accuracy and control, ensuring that the ball reaches the intended target with precision.

5. One-Touch Passing

This drill emphasizes quick decision-making and accurate passing.

Set up two cones approximately ten yards apart.

Pass the ball back and forth with a teammate using only one touch per player.

The goal is to maintain a fast-paced rhythm while keeping the passes accurate and controlled.

6. Dribble and Turn

This drill helps players improve their ability to change direction quickly while maintaining control of the ball.

Set up a line of cones and dribble the ball towards them.

As you approach each cone, perform a quick turn using techniques like the inside hook or outside cut.

Focus on maintaining control throughout the turn.

Benefits of Regular Ball Control Drills

Regular practice of ball control drills offers numerous benefits to soccer players:

  • Improved touch and feel for the ball
  • Enhanced coordination and balance
  • Increased confidence on the ball
  • Greater ability to maintain possession
  • Improved passing accuracy
  • Enhanced dribbling skills
  • Ability to execute advanced moves and techniques
  • Improved decision-making under pressure

By incorporating these drills into your training routine, you can significantly enhance your ball control skills and elevate your performance on the soccer field.

20 drills that will improve your ball control

Q&A – Soccer Ball Control Drills

1. How often should I practice ball control drills?

Consistency is key when it comes to improving ball control.

Aim to practice these drills at least three times a week to see noticeable improvements in your skills.

2. Can ball control drills benefit players of all ages?

Yes, ball control drills are beneficial for players of all ages and skill levels.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, these drills can help you refine your technique and improve your overall game.

3. Are there any specific drills for goalkeepers to improve ball control?

While many of the aforementioned drills can benefit goalkeepers, there are also specialized drills designed specifically for them.

These drills focus on improving their ability to catch, parry, and distribute the ball effectively.

4. How long does it take to see improvements in ball control?

The time it takes to see improvements in ball control varies from player to player.

With consistent practice and dedication, you can expect to see noticeable improvements within a few weeks to a couple of months.

5. Can ball control drills be practiced alone?

Yes, many ball control drills can be practiced alone.

However, incorporating drills that involve teammates or opponents can provide a more realistic game-like experience and help you adapt to different situations on the field.

6. Are there any specific drills to improve ball control while running?

Yes, there are drills that focus on improving ball control while running.

These drills often involve dribbling through cones or obstacles at varying speeds, simulating game-like scenarios where players need to control the ball while on the move.

7. How can I measure my progress in ball control?

Measuring progress in ball control can be subjective, but there are a few indicators to look out for.

Pay attention to your ability to maintain possession, execute accurate passes, and perform advanced moves with confidence.

Additionally, timing yourself during certain drills can help you track improvements in speed and agility.

8. Can ball control drills help with first touch?

Yes, ball control drills are instrumental in improving your first touch.

By practicing drills that focus on receiving and trapping the ball, you can develop a soft and controlled first touch, allowing you to quickly transition into your next move.

9. Are there any specific drills to improve ball control in tight spaces?

Yes, there are drills specifically designed to improve ball control in tight spaces.

These drills often involve setting up small grids or using cones to simulate confined areas, forcing players to maintain control while maneuvering through limited space.

10. Can ball control drills help with shooting accuracy?

Yes, ball control drills indirectly contribute to shooting accuracy.

By improving your overall ball control, you will have better control over the ball when taking shots, resulting in increased shooting accuracy.

11. Can ball control drills help with decision-making on the field?

Yes, ball control drills can improve decision-making on the field.

By enhancing your ability to control the ball effectively, you will have more time and space to assess the situation and make informed decisions.

12. Are there any drills to improve ball control in the air?

Yes, there are drills that focus on improving ball control in the air.

These drills often involve practicing headers, chest traps, and volleys to develop the ability to control the ball effectively when it is in the air.

13. Can ball control drills help with confidence on the field?

Yes, regular practice of ball control drills can significantly boost your confidence on the field.

As you become more comfortable and proficient in controlling the ball, you will feel more confident in your abilities, leading to improved performance.

14. Can ball control drills help prevent turnovers?

Yes, ball control drills can help reduce turnovers by improving your ability to maintain possession and execute accurate passes.

By honing your ball control skills, you will be better equipped to navigate through tight spaces and evade opponents, minimizing the risk of turnovers.

15. Can ball control drills be incorporated into team training sessions?

Ball control drills can and should be incorporated into team training sessions.

These drills not only improve individual skills but also enhance team cohesion and overall performance.


Mastering ball control is a crucial aspect of becoming a skilled soccer player.

By regularly practicing various ball control drills, players can improve their touch, coordination, and decision-making on the field.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, incorporating these drills into your training routine will undoubtedly elevate your game and help you become a more effective and confident player.

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