Best Drills For Soccer Ball Mastery and Control

If you are passionate about soccer then you will know how crucial ball control is to your game. Whether it’s taking on defenders or playing out from the back, you need to have great control of the ball at all times.

To drastically improve your ball mastery, you need to be taking time to practice ball control drills whilst you’re at home.

Being a great soccer player requires not only going to your team’s practice sessions and playing in games, but also training at home.

Best drills for soccer ball control

It is truly possible to practice your soccer ball control and technique anywhere…whether you are in the backyard, in the street, or on your driveway.

We have gathered the 10 best soccer ball control and mastery drills to do at home, so that you can improve as a player.

10 soccer ball control drills and footwork drills

In order to improve your soccer skills, it is vital that you develop your ball control, possession, and touch.

There is always room for improvement in soccer, and practice makes perfect! As soon as you master that technique, you will be unstoppable.

Try out a few of these 10 ball control drills to improve your agility, speed, power, balance, and dexterity, while improving your craft and soccer skills at the same time.

Drilling these skills will not only improve your accuracy, footwork, and control of the ball, but they will also improve your strength as a player.

Let’s improve your soccer ball control skills, boost your confidence, and refine your technique with our soccer ball control drills!

1. Target Practice

The first drill involves target practice. The drill needs to be done against a wall so that you have something to aim at.

Taking part in this drill will improve your striking skills, boost your accuracy, and help you hit your targets with more accuracy.

It is best to visualize a particular spot on the wall when working on your target practice. Mark out the target you want to hit with a marker or with something else.

You can either attempt a placement shot with the foot’s inner part or use your laces to hit the ball at the target.

When practicing target practice, you will work on striking and hitting the ball in a certain direction, so try both striking hard and practicing passing shots on the wall.

If you want to improve your accuracy, and how much power you are using when kicking the ball, hit the wall repeatedly.

2. Juggling

As a soccer player, juggling the ball, or kick-ups, can help you improve your technique and master the ball.

When juggling a ball, you can use just your feet, but you can also catch the ball with your chest and head and kick it upwards.

Juggling is a fun way to move your whole body in order to control the ball, keep it elevated, and catch it again.

To juggle the ball, you need to flick the ball in the air or drop it from your hands and start kicking or juggling it. Kick it upwards with your dominant leg and then catch it with your foot and kick it up again.

If you do this consistently and juggle the ball, you will begin to build up your confidence.

Juggling helps massively to improve your touch and gives you better coordination.

After you have perfected juggling with your feet, you can begin to incorporate your chest and head into the exercise.

We have a full guide on juggling here.

3. Wall Passes

As simple as it sounds, wall passes are great for improving first touch and your passing ability.

To perform this exercise you simply need to kick a ball against the wall and then when the ball comes back to you, take a touch and hit the wall again. If you don’t have access to a wall for practice, you might consider getting a rebounder.

This exercise helps you to react to an oncoming pass which improves your reflexes and awareness for when you’re out on the field.

Once you master the exercise with your strongest foot, begin using your weaker foot to take a touch and pass back or you can even return the ball without taking a touch.

First time passes are useful as they can catch defenders off guard, giving them no time to react. Therefore, try to perfect the first time pass by practicing it on the wall.

Being able to dribble is an essential part of great ball control. To help harness these skills, you can dribble out in your back garden using obstacles or cones to dribble around.

By successfully maneuvering you and the ball around some cones, you are working on your agility, coordination, speed, balance and ability to change direction with the ball quickly.

To perform this exercise successfully, set the cones a few feet apart from each other and take the ball lightly in and out in the cones.

To get the best results, attempt to use both feet to maneuver through the cones quickly and confidently.

Additionally, don’t try to be as fast as possible straight away. Take your time to navigate the cones carefully and speed will come with practice.

4. Heading

Heading is a huge part of the game, so getting your practice in is probably a good idea. However, as well as your head, you need to work on your footwork to ensure you generate as much power as possible.

To practice this drill, you need either a friend or family member to throw the ball at you, a wall to rebound the ball in the air or you can simply throw the ball and head it from there.

Regardless of which method you choose, each one will be a great way to improve your power, the direction of the ball, target and control of the header.

Having a friend or family member throw the ball is arguably better as then you can practice running into the header and have them throw the ball from different directions and heights. A rebounder can help with this if you don’t have someone to practice with.

An important technique to remember is that you need to keep your arms at your sides,and you mustn’t be tempted to use your hands to catch or control the ball.

This drill also works on the footwork as you have to do this perfectly in order to position yourself in the right place to head the ball, and launch yourself upwards to come into contact with it.

6. Rollover Dribble

The rollover dribble is a difficult technique to master, but if done correctly, it can be used effectively to bemuse defenders and move up the field.

The general idea of this drill is to use the sole of your foot to control the ball and then move it in any direction you want whilst still having your sole placed on the top of the ball.

It is effectively the same as dribbling as you use a line of cones to maneuver the ball around. However the key difference is that you only use the sole of your foot.

7. The Inside Out

If you want to improve your coordination, then the Inside Out drill is a perfect exercise for you.

To perform the Inside Out drill, you need to start with the ball at your feet. Using just one foot, push the ball with the outside of your foot to the side of you just a little bit.

Then, take the same foot, and stop the ball with the inside of your foot, and tap it back to where it came from. Now, do the same but using the other foot in the opposite direction.

This drill will get you used to controlling the ball even when it rolls in odd directions. The purpose is to move in and out with great fluidity, keeping in control of the ball at all times with both the insides and outside of your feet.

To add more difficulty to the drill, increase your speed to enhance your reaction speeds and to ultimately strengthen your skills even more.

8. Toe Taps

Footwork is vitally important in soccer, The toe taps drill is one of the best ways to progress your balance, coordination and skill.

To successfully perform this drill, all you need to do is remain stationary on the ground, with a ball placed in front of you.

Following this, simply place one foot on top of the ball and replace it with either foot.

Essentially, you are just tapping the ball with each foot, and switching them over.

By repeating this for a few minutes without missing the ball, your coordination skills will progress massively.

9. The Cruyff

Dedicated to the legend that is Johan Cruyff, The Cruyff turn will increase your balance, agility and dexterity simultaneously.

Similarly to the inside out drill, the Cruyff is where you push the ball with the outside part of your foot until it is at one side of your body.

After this point is where the Cruyff turn comes in. The Cruff turn is where you cushion the ball back in the direction it came, but instead take the ball behind the leg that you are standing on. Then, repeat this move with the opposite foot.

After a period of practice, you should want to increase your speed and really test your footwork and reaction times.

10. The L Cut

Lastly, one of the great ways that you can progress your close ball skills, and work on your footwork technique is by practicing the L cut. This drill will help improve your touch, and how you control and handle the ball.

If you are under pressure and need to take the ball away from a defender, then the L Cut is the perfect technique to use.

To perform the L Cut, you need to start with the ball at your feet. Then, you will need to drag the ball backwards and then towards the side, using the studs of your boots.

Following this, open your body and cushion the ball pushing it forwards with the interior of your foot. This entire move should trace the lines of an L shape, hence the name L cut.

The final step is to take the ball with your studs on the other foot and complete the L Cut in the same shape, but in the opposite direction.

If you consistently practice the L Cut, it will allow you to improve your ball retention and stop opposition players from dispossessing you as easily as it would have been before.