After Injury Soccer Drills (ACL/Sprain/Strain/Hernia)

If you’re recovering from an injury from playing soccer, you need to gradually build up your strength and fitness.

If you go back into action after being out for a while, you could easily repeat the same injury or another because the muscles are weak.

The following drills are a gentle way after injury to get back into the game.

Soccer Player Injury On The Field
Soccer Player Injury On The Field ○ Soccer Blade

After Injury Soccer Drills

Dribble to Sprint Square: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Dribble to Sprint Square 
  • Session Length: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Age Group: all ages
  • Number of players: 1 (set up multiple grids for more players)
  • Skills learned: Sprinting, dribbling, conditioning
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  • Create a 4-cone square grid with each cone placed 10 yards apart.
  • Place 1 ball in the center of the grid.
  • This drill works best with 1 player but 2 can participate at the same time as long as they work in opposite directions. 
  • Set up multiple grids for each player or grid.
  • This drill works well in conjunction with another team-based drill, ensuring all players are active. 
Dribble To Sprint Square
Dribble To Sprint Square

Drill Instructions

  1. Ensure all players undergo a thorough warmup before all conditioning drills to avoid injury.
  2. P1 starts with the ball at their feet in the center of the grid.
  3. P1 dribbles toward, then around a cone before leaving the ball back in the center of the grid.
  4. As soon as they stop the ball in the center, P1 sprints to the opposite cone around it and then sprint to the center grid.
  5. P1 collects the ball, turns to their right, then dribbles to the next cone, repeating the entire process. 
  6. The focus of this drill is on speed, improving the players’ conditioning. However, they must also focus on technique, maintaining control of the ball at all times. 

Drill Variations

  • Focus on the players’ left and right feet each round, ensuring they practice with both.
  • Count how many times each player completes a dribble and a sprint. Create a competition to see how many rounds players can complete. 

Short Sprints: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Short Sprints
  • Session Length: 2 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (subs optional)
  • Skills learned: raise core temperature, break a sweat, muscle activation
  • Equipment: 4 cones

Drill Setup

  • Run this drill at the end of the pre-game warm-up to prepare the players for an intense start to the game. 
  • This drill can take place anywhere inside the warm-up area. 
  • Set up 1 cone as the starting point. 
  • Set up 1 cone 5 yards from the first. 
  • Set up 2 cones 2 to 3 yards right and left of the second cone. 
  • Divide the team into 2 groups. 
  • Each group lines up on either side of the first cone. 
Short Sprints
Short Sprints

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the first 2 players in each group jump and simulate performing a header. 
  2. As soon as they land, the players sprint to the second cone. 
  3. After reaching the cone, the players slow down, slip to their outside cone, then return to the starting point. 
  4. When the first players reach the second cone, the coach signal’s for the next pair to repeat the same steps. 
  5. Repeat the drill for 1 to 2 minutes.  

Drill Variations

  • Consider introducing different movements instead of the header, such as lateral steps, sideways shuffling, or a checked run.

Long Distance Team Laps: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Long Distance Team Laps
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: 12+
  • Number of players: 6 to 18
  • Skills learned: Fitness, sprinting, teamwork 
  • Equipment: 4 cones 

Drill Setup

  • Create a 4-cone square grid, with each cone placed around 30 yards apart. If you don’t have enough space, a smaller square will suffice. 
  • Divide the team into pairs. 
  • Each pair lines up one behind the other on the outside of the square grid. 
  • Players should keep a maximum distance of 2 yards between them at all times throughout the drill. 
Long Distance Laps
Long Distance Laps

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal begin to slowly job around the grid. 
  2. Instruct all players to stay close together, ensuring no team breaks away. 
  3. Monitor the pace and don’t allow the players to slow down. 
  4. Let the players complete laps for 1 minute. 
  5. After 1 minute, the coach blows the whistle, signaling that the pair at the back of the group moves to the side and sprints to the head of the group. 
  6. Every 20 seconds, the coach blows the whistle and the trailing pair sprints to the top of the line. 
  7. As well as conditioning, this drill focuses on teamwork. Instruct players to encourage each other and to maintain a good pace.

Drill Variations

  • This drill can also be run around the entire field. 
  • For more elite teams, consider extending the number of times players run for. You can also add more sprints.
  • Set the number of lap targets within the time limit.

Field Sprints: Soccer Drills

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Field Sprints
  • Session Length: 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Age Group: 12+
  • Number of players: 1 to 18
  • Skills learned: Sprinting, conditioning, teamwork
  • Equipment: No equipment is needed

Drill Setup

  • Use the entire training field for this drill. If you don’t have access to a full-size field, scale it down. Consider increasing sprint volume to make up for the length of the sprints.
  • All players line up side-by-side on the end line
Full Length Sprints
Full Length Sprints

Drill Instructions

  1. This drill is based on basketball suicides.
  2. On the coach’s signal, all players run to the edge of the penalty box, then back to the end line.
  3. When they reach the end line, the players turn and run to the halfway line, before turning back and running to the end line again. 
  4. After reaching the end line, the players turn and run to the opposite end line. When they reach the opposite side of the field, the round is over. 
  5. Players walk back to the starting point and line up again.
  6. The coach sets a timer for 1 minute after the round to give players a rest.
  7. For the first 2 rounds, instruct players to jog. 
  8. For the next 2 rounds, instruct players to run at 75%. 
  9. For the final 2 rounds, instruct players to sprint. 
  10. For the first 4 rounds, encourage players to try to maintain the same pace. 

Drill Variations

  • If the drill is too taxing for your players, reduce the distance or the number of sprints. 
  • For elite teams, make a rule that the maximum time between the first player and last player finishing can be 10 seconds. If the gap is more, all players must perform a sprint at the end of the session.
  • For elite teams, consider adding more sprints.

Fitness Course: Soccer Course

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Fitness Course
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: all ages
  • Number of players: 1 to 18
  • Skills learned: Sprinting, quick feet, lateral movement, back peddling, conditioning
  • Equipment: 7 cones, 1 speed ladder, 5 agility poles

Drill Setup

  • Set up the drill as shown in the graphic
  • The distance between the first 2 cones should be around 10 yards.
  • The distance between the end line and the ladder should be around 15 yards. 
  • The distance between the ladder and the next cone should be 5 yards. 
  • Create a staggered formation with the agility poles.
  • All players line up behind P1 at the first cone.
Fitness Course
Fitness Course

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P1 sprints to the first cone, then side-steps quickly to the cone on their right. 
  2. At the cone, P1 back peddles to the cone behind it. 
  3. P1 rounds the cone and then sprints to the ladder. 
  4. P1 sprints through the ladder, using quick feet and ensuring both feet enter each ladder square. 
  5. P1 sprints, then around the next cone, before gliding through the agility poles. 
  6. After rounding the final agility pole, P1 sprints to the finishing gate. 
  7. P1 rejoins the line.
  8. All players must complete 5 rounds. 
  9. The next player in line starts the drill when the person ahead hits the ladder section.

Drill Variations

  • Depending on fitness levels, reduce or increase the number of rounds each player must perform. 
  • Create competition by timing each player’s lap. They will have to go one at a time for accurate timekeeping. 

Multiskill Drill: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Multiskill Drill
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 7+
  • Number of players: 1 
  • Skills learned: Passing, dribbling, first touch, shooting
  • Equipment: 1 goal, 8 cones, 1 ball, 2 rebounding surfaces (wall, bench, fence)

Drill Setup

  • You need a grid of approximately 20 square yards for this drill. 
  • Set up the drill as shown in the graphic.
  • A mini goal works well for this drill or a small goal made from cones. 
  • The distance between the cone weave drill should be 2 yards, enabling the dribbler to move through it at speed. 
  • If you don’t have a wall or rebounding surface, skip the passing sections of the drill. 
  • P1 begins the drill at the starting cone with the ball at its feet. 
Multiskill
Multiskill

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by playing a one-two wall pass with themselves. 
  2. P1 then dribbles at speed through the cone weave, then around the next cone.
  3. At the next station, P1 rolls the ball through the narrow cone gate. 
  4. After rolling the ball, P1 sprints toward the cone to their left then check the run and recollects the ball. 
  5. P1 plays another one-two wall pass. 
  6. P1 takes 1 or 2 touches to get the ball under control, then takes a shot on goal. 
  7. P1 completes the entire drill 5 times, takes a 1-minute break, then repeats the full routine 2 more times (3 times in total).

Drill Variations

  • TIme each round and record the fastest ones. 
  • Focus on using both strong and weak feet for certain rounds. 
  • Increase the distance between the cones and stations to work on conditioning. 

1 v 1 Pass & Move: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 1 v 1 Pass & Move
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 2
  • Skills learned: Passing, movement, dribbling, tackling, and defensive jockeying
  • Equipment: 10 cones, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  • Place 2 cones 15 yards apart, marking the starting points for both players.
  • 5 yards to either side of these cones, create a dribbling tunnel of the same length. The tunnel should be approximately 5 yards wide.
  • Place cones 5 yards apart on both sides of the tunnel to create 3 separate, evenly sized sections within it. 
  • P1 begins with the ball at their feet. 
1 V 1 Pass And Move
1 V 1 Pass And Move

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by playing a long pass to P2. 
  2. After the pass, P1 sprints through their end of the dribbling tunnel, making their way to the center section. They cannot enter the furthest section of the tunnel. 
  3. P2 receives the pass, then dribbles through the end of the dribbling tunnel. 
  4. P2 then tries to dribble past P1 and through the opposite end of the tunnel. 
  5. P1 can tackle, block, or jockey the dribbler to try and regain possession. 
  6. The round is over when P2 loses possession or successfully passes through the tunnel. 
  7. If the ball crosses either sideline of the tunnel, the round is over. 
  8. After the round, players switch roles.

Drill Variations

  • Create a competition to see who can complete the most successful dribbles in the allocated time frame. Or, create a competition to see which player reaches 5 successful dribbles first. 
  • Set a time limit for the dribblers to get through the tunnel. 
  • If the defenders have the edge over the attackers, prohibit them from entering the center section.
  • If the attackers have the edge, allow the defenders to enter all sections of the tunnel. 

Follow Your Pass: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Follow Your Pass
  • Session Length: 5 to 6 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (subs optional)
  • Skills learned: short passing, first touch, 1-touch passing 
  • Equipment: 8 cones

Drill Setup

  • Set up 2 small 4-cone grids approximately 5 yards apart. 
  • Divide the team into 2 even groups. 
  • Each group lines up behind a grid. 
  • The first player from each group stands inside their grid.
  • P1 begins with the ball.
Follow Your Pass
Follow Your Pass

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P1 plays a low hard pass to P2, ensuring they receive it inside their grid. 
  2. P1 then follows their pass and joins the end of the opposite line. 
  3. P2 takes a good first touch then plays a low hard pass to P3. 
  4. P2 then follows their pass and joins the end of the opposite line. 
  5. Players repeat the drill for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  6. Increase the distance between the grids to 10 yards. 
  7. Players repeat the drill for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  8. Increase the distance between the grids to 15 yards.
  9. Players repeat the drill for 90 seconds to 2 minutes.

Drill Variations

  • Instruct players to make first-time passes for a certain amount of time. It’s generally a better idea to do this at shorter distances. 
  • Set consecutive passing targets and instruct the team to count passes aloud. 
  • Consider setting up multiple grids to accommodate all players (including subs).

Long-Distance Passing Pairs: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Long-distance passing pairs
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 10 starting outfield players (goalkeepers and subs optional)
  • Skills learned: range of passing, first touch, passing technique
  • Equipment: multiple balls

Drill Setup

  • Use half of the field for this warm-up drill
  • Divide the team into pairs
  • 1 half of the players begin near the end line. 
  • The other half of the players begin near the halfway line.
  • 1 player in each pair begins with the ball.
Paired Long Passing 2
Paired Long Passing

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the players begin passing the ball back and forth in pairs. 
  2. If necessary, they can start closer together, gradually increasing the distance between players. 
  3. This drill is low-intensity with a focus on passing technique and finding a range of passing. 
  4. Players should practice low and hard passes, lofted passes, drilled passes, and other techniques they’re likely to use in-game. 
  5. Players should also focus on taking quality first touches. Encourage players to practice controlling the ball with different parts of the body, including the knees, chest, and both feet. 
  6. Occasionally rotate pairs. 

Drill Variations

  • Instruct players to shorten the distance between the pairs and practice headers. 
  • For advanced teams, instruct players to shorten the distance and practice the first touch, and high-intensity passing. 

Soccer Blade has more than 100 drills – for more go to our soccer drills page. If you need equipment for your soccer drills, check out our soccer equipment page.

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