Competitive Soccer Drills (Aggression + Power)

Raise the competition in your team and it will boost your results. Soccer is a contact sport, that’s competitive and aggressive. Without these traits, you will struggle to win anything.

Soccer has enough rules to keep the game safe with a friendly competitive edge. So you and your team can compete in these drills and it will build togetherness.

Two Soccer Players Competing For The Ball
Two Soccer Players Competing For The Ball ○ Soccer Blade

Competitive Soccer Drills (Aggression + Power)

1v1 Shooting: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 6-10
  • Length of Session:10 mins
  • Number of Players: 2+
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, 1v1 attacking and defending, finishing
  • Equipment: balls, cones, a goal

Description: Both players face the goal and engage in a race to the ball and goal. Who can finish first? This fun game is a combination of 1v1 and shooting. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Place a cone about 25 meters away from the goal. 
  • Bring all of the balls to the cone. 
  • If you do not have a goal available, create one with cones or use a mini goal. 
  • Split players into two even teams. 
  • Have each team line up on one side of the cone. 
1V1 Shooting Soccer Drill
1V1 Shooting Soccer Drill

Drill Instructions:

  1. Have the goalkeeper (s) head to the goal. They can switch off every few times.
  2. Stand at the cone with the balls. 
  3. Pass the ball forward toward the goal. 
  4. The first player in each line should react to the pass and race to the ball. 
  5. The players should compete to see who can win the ball and finish first. 
  6. If the players are unable to finish right away and engage in a 1v1, keep the game at under 20 seconds. 
  7. Play the first team to 10 goals and then switch sides. Keep the entire activity around 10 minutes or less. 
  8. Have players start in different positions. At first, they can face forward. Then have them face sideways and backward,  or start kneeling or in a push-up position. Different starting positions help them work on power and reaction time.

Sharks and Minnows: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Length of Session: 10 mins
  • Number of Players: 6+
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, keeping head up, ball control
  • Equipment: balls for each player, cones, pinnies optional.

Description: Kids try to dribble from one side to the other without getting tagged by the shark. Anyone tagged becomes a shark.

Drill Set-up: 

  • Create a large rectangle suitable for the number and age of players. For example, 35 meters long by 20 meters wide for 12-15 6-year-olds. 
  • Give each player a ball and line them up on the starting line.
  • Select a “shark” to start. 
Sharks And Minnows Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com
Sharks And Minnows Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com

Drill Instructions

  1. Line up all of the “minnows” with their balls.
  2. Choose 1-2 sharks and place them in the middle of the space. 
  3. When you say go, have the minnows try to dribble across the other side without getting tagged by a shark. 
  4. Anyone who is tagged must become a shark for the next round.
  5. Challenge players to see who can be the last minnow standing.
  6. Younger kids, 4-6, can focus on just tagging the player. For kids 6-8, change the rules so they must knock the ball away from the minnow to count. For kids 8-10 or with advanced skills, you can require them to take full possession of the ball. 
  7. Another way to make the drill more challenging is to make the space smaller. 
  8. You can also add specific dribbling challenges within the game (weak foot only, must complete 2 moves before crossing, etc.

Knock Out: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 7-10
  • Length of Session: 10-15 mins 
  • Number of Players: 10-12
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, keeping head up, defending, decision making 
  • Equipment: cones and a ball for each player 

Description: Players all dribble around the space while trying to knock out the others’ balls. See who the last one standing is. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Create a large circle with cones. 
  • Give each player a ball inside the circle. 
  • Make multiple games if you have a large team. 
Knock Out Soccer Drill
Knock Out Soccer Drill

Drill Instructions:

  • Each player needs a ball inside the circle. 
  • Players must dribble around while trying to kick other players’ balls out of the circle. 
  • If your ball gets kicked out, you must do some small action to get back in (2 jiggles, 10 toe taps, etc).
  • When the knock-out round begins, there’s no re-entry. Players who are knocked out should work on a skill you provide while watching. 
  • As the number of players decreases, use the players who are out to block areas of the circle to shrink the space.
  • To increase difficulty, shrink the size of the circle or add specific dribbling challenges within the game. 

Back to Goal, Spin, and Shoot: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Back to goal, spin, and shoot
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 2 to 18
  • Skills learned: Positioning, hold-up play, first touch, turning, finishing

Equipment: 1 mannequin (alternatively 1 cone or agility pole), 1 cone, 1 goal, 1 ball (minimum)

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box for this drill. 
  • Set up a full-size goal, even if there is no goalkeeper.
  • Place a mannequin, cone, or agility pole centrally on the edge of the penalty box. Alternatively, you can use a player to act as a defender. 
  • Place 1 cone 10 yards from the edge of the penalty box toward the center field. 
  • P1 stands with their back to the goal in front of the mannequin. 
  • The rest of the team lines up behind P2 at the outside cone. 
  • P2 starts with the ball.
Back To Goal, Spin, And Shoot
Back To Goal, Spin, And Shoot

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by moving around the mannequin as if it were a defender. 
  2. P1 then checks their shoulder, sprints in front of the mannequin, and pins it, while calling for the pass.
  3. P2 plays a firm, accurate pass to P1. 
  4. P1 holds off the mannequin and controls the ball. If you’re using a defender, instruct them not to tackle. They must remain passive.
  5. P1 spins around the mannequin into the penalty box, for a 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper. 
  6. P1 rejoins the end of the line. P2 takes the place of P1 for the next round. 
  7. If you have multiple goalkeepers, rotate them occasionally.

Drill Variations

  • Set up the drill on either side of the box to switch shooting angles. 
  • Focus on shooting with the weaker foot. 
  • Limit the number of touches attackers have to control the ball and spin into the box.
  • Create a competition where each attacker has 2 lives. All players can miss 2 shots. On the third miss, they are eliminated. The last player remaining is the winner.

Man-On Drill: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Man-On Drill
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 7+
  • Number of players: 3 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: First touch, turning, holding off the defender, shielding the ball, finishing
  • Equipment: 1 ball (minimum), 3 cones, 1 goal (optional)

Drill Setup

  • Set up a 5-yard, 2-cone gate along the edge of the penalty box.
  • Place 1 cone 10 yards from the gate toward the center of the field. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, consider setting up a goal to include shooting practice as a secondary aspect of the drill. 
  • P2 (attacker) and D1 (defender) begin at the passing gate. 
  • P1 and the remaining players line up behind the cone toward centerfield. 
  • P1 begins with the ball at their feet. 
Man On Drill
Man On Drill

Drill Instructions

  1. P2 moves around the edge of the penalty box simulating an in-game scenario. 
  2. P2 shakes off the defender, sprints through the gate, and calls for the ball. 
  3. P1 plays a low, hard pass to P2.
  4. P2 takes a good first touch, holds off the defender, then spins toward the goal. If there is a goalkeeper, P2 takes a shot on goal.
  5. D1 doesn’t actively try to win the ball. Instead, they apply pressure, allowing P2 to practice taking a solid first touch when surrounded by defenders. 
  6. When the round is over, P2 joins the end of the passing line, D1 takes P2’s place, and P1 takes D1’s place.
  7. If you have 7 or more outfield players, consider setting up 2 identical grids and running the drills concurrently. 

Drill Variations

  • Instruct players to focus on different types of touches in each round. 
  • For 1 round, focus on taking 1 touch, and spinning behind the defender toward the goal.
  • For another round, focus on taking a good touch, facing up the defender, and running past them before shooting. 
  • For another round, instruct P2 to play a give-and-go pass with P1, before running behind the defender for a through pass from P1. 
  • For advanced players, encourage them to work on different skill moves, touches, flicks, and turns. 

Channel Possession: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Channel Possession
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 12+
  • Number of players: 10 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, movement, positioning, counter attacking 
  • Equipment: 10 cones, 1 ball, 2 goals 

Drill Setup

  • Use approximately half the length and the full width of the field for this drill. 
  • Extend the penalty box lines by placing cones all the way from the edge of the penalty box to the halfway line (or end of the playing field). This creates 3 separate sections (1 left, 1 center, and 1 right).
  • Set up 2 goals. If you have goalkeepers, use full-size goals. If not, small goals are fine.
  • Divide the team into groups of 5 outfield players. 
  • 5 attackers and 5 defenders occupy either end of the field. 
  • If you have goalkeepers, assign 1 goalkeeper to each team.
Channel Possession
Channel Possession

Drill Instructions

  1. The objective of this drill is to score against the opposition. However, the attacking team can only score if they have at least 1 player in every section. This encourages players to create space and use the entire width of the field. 
  2. The defending team must stay in the center section. 
  3. Encourage attacking players to switch the play where possible, creating space on the wings. Attackers can rotate positions freely. 
  4. If the defenders win possession, they are now the attacking team. They should counterattack quickly to score while the opposition is out of position. However, they must adopt the same rules, meaning they must have at least 1 player in every section to score. 
  5. The first team to score 3 goals wins. 

Drill Variations

  • Scale this drill up or down depending on the number of available players. 
  • Set time limits to score when teams are in possession. 
  • Set a minimum number of consecutive passes before a team can score. 

2 v 2 Possession Squares: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Ages: 12 to 18+
  • Drill Name: 2 v 2 Possession Squares
  • Session Length: 5 to 8 minutes
  • Number of players: minimum of 4 players, broken into groups of 2
  • Skills learned: Agility, first touch, quick passing, tackling, and pressing
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball per pair

Drill Setup

  • Position 4 cones 10 to 15 yards apart to form a square. 
  • Divide the team into pairs. 
  • 2 teams take their place in the square while the other pairs wait outside. 
2 V 2 Possession Squares
2 V 2 Possession Squares

Drill Instructions

  1. The coach selects one team to start with the ball and one team to defend. 
  2. The game goes live once the first pass is played. 
  3. The team in possession tries to keep the ball by passing and dribbling. 
  4. The defending team attempts to win back possession through tackling or intercepting. 
  5. If the defending team wins the ball back, they attempt to keep possession from their opponents. 
  6. The first team to make 5 consecutive passes wins. 
  7. The winning team begins the next round in possession. A new pair replaces the losing team, beginning the round as the defenders. 
  8. If neither team wins after 60 seconds, the round is over and 2 fresh teams enter the square. 

Drill Variations

  • The number of players per team can be extended up to 11. The square should be made larger to accommodate additional players. 
  • If players are struggling to retain possession, consider changing the dynamic to a 3 v 2 or 4 v 2. The team of 3 starts in possession. As soon as they lose the ball, the round is over and a new 3 v 2 matchup is made.

4 Goal, 3 V 3: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 4 Goal, 3 V 3 
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 12+
  • Number of players: 6 to 18
  • Skills learned: Range of passing, movement, first touch, and interceptions 
  • Equipment: 4 goals, 1 ball 

Drill Setup

  • Use a quarter of the training field for this drill.
  • Set up 2 small goals on one end of the field and 2 small goals on the other.
  • Position the goals next to the sidelines.
  • The goals should be approximately 5 yards wide. 
  • Divide the team into groups of 3.
4 Goal 3 V 3
4 Goal 3 V 3

Drill Instructions

  1. This drill is essentially a 3 v 3 game but each team can score 2 different goals.
  2. The focus of the drill is on different ranges of passing, teamwork, movement, and positioning. 
  3. When in possession, a player has a maximum of 3 touches (including a pass).
  4. The defending team may not tackle. They can intercept or block passes to gain possession.
  5. As the goals are small, players are encouraged to get as close to the goal as possible before shooting. 
  6. The first team to score 3 goals wins. 
  7. The winning team stays on to compete against the next group.

Drill Variations

  • Limit the number of touches to 2 or 1. If the players struggle, increase the number of permitted touches until they start to improve. 
  • Increase the number of players per team. 
  • Allow tackling. 
  • Introduce a minimum number of passes before a team is allowed to score.

1 v 1 Defending: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 1 v 1 Defending
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 4 to 16
  • Skills learned: Sprinting, marking, tackling, and blocking
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • Place 2 cones approximately 5 yards apart along the edge of the penalty box.
  • Place 2 cones 10 yards from either cone toward the halfway line. 
  • Set up a full-size goal if you have a goalkeeper. If not, use a small goal or cones.
  • Split the team into 2 groups: defenders and attackers (actual player position doesn’t matter)
  • Defenders line up behind one cone outside the box.
  • Attackers line up behind the other. 
  • The second attacker (P2) in line starts with the ball.
1 V 1 Defending
1 V 1 Defending

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s whistle, D1 and P1 sprint to, then around the cones at the edge of the penalty box. 
  2. After rounding the cone, P1 calls for the pass from P2.  
  3. When the pass is played, the drill becomes a live 1 v 1. P1 tries to score and D1 tries to stop them by tackling or blocking.
  4. D1 can attempt to intercept the ball when it is passed. 
  5. P1 dribbles toward the goal and takes a shot if an opportunity opens up. 
  6. D1 should practice controlled defending, and tackle timing while avoiding diving in. 
  7. When the round is over, the players join the end of the other lines. 

Drill Variations

  • Create a competition to see which group gets the most stops. 
  • Repeat the drill with 2 defenders and 2 attackers.

1 v 1 Relay: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 1 v 1 Relay
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 2+
  • Skills learned: Movement, quick feet, dribbling, tackling, blocking, finishing
  • Equipment: 6 cones, 1 ball, 1 goal, 8 agility poles

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box and the surrounding area for this drill. 
  • Place a cone, 5 to 10 yards from the corner of the penalty box toward the sideline. This indicates the starting position.
  • Place 4 agility poles 5 yards from the cone toward the end line in a weave formation. 
  • Place another cone 5 yards from the end of the weave. 
  • Position 1 more cone in line with the first cone and the edge of the penalty box. 
  • Set up an identical drill on the opposite side of the field. 
  • Place 1 in the center of the edge of the penalty box. 
  • P1 and P2 stand at the starting cones on either side of the field. 
1 V 1 Relay
1 V 1 Relay

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P1 and P2 sprint to, then through the agility pole weave, moving laterally outside each pole. 
  2. After completing the weave, they spring too, then around the cone near the end line before sprinting toward the final cone next to the starting point. 
  3. After rounding the final cone, both players race to win possession of the ball. 
  4. The player who gets the ball first is the attacker, making the other player the defender. 
  5. From here, they compete in a 1 v 1, with the attacker trying to score. 
  6. If you have a goalkeeper, use a full-size goal. If not, set up a small goal or create a shooting gate using cones. 
  7. Players are awarded 2 points for a goal and 1 point for dispossessing or blocking their opponent. A foul results in a 1 point deduction. 
  8. No points are awarded to either player for a miss.
  9. Repeat the drill until 1 player reaches 5 points. 

Drill Variations

  • Get creative with the agility course by adding more obstacles or sections. 
  • If you want to focus on player conditioning, consider increasing the winning points tally to 10. 
  • To add a fun twist, award point for nutmegs (kicking the ball through the defender’s legs).
  • If 1 player consistently passes through the grid faster than the other, consider lengthening their route to create a more even contest. 

2 v 2 Inside The Box: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 2 v 2 Inside The Box
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 8 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Marking, tackling, and blocking
  • Equipment: 1 ball, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • This drill takes place in the penalty box. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, set up a full-size goal. If not, create a small 5-yard goal using cones.
  • Split the team into pairs. 
  • 1 pair is designated as the defensive team (D1 + D2) and another as the attacking team (P1 + P”). 
  • D1 + D2 and P1 + P2 begin the drill inside the penalty box. 
  • The attackers start with their back to goal. 
  • The defenders mark them appropriately. 
  • At least 3 players from the remaining groups line up outside the penalty box, one of them starting with the ball. 
2 V 2 Inside The Box
2 V 2 Inside The Box

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the game goes live. 
  2. P1 and P2 attempt to get free to receive the ball from the player outside the box. 
  3. D1 and D2 mark the attackers closely, trying to stop them from receiving the outside pass. 
  4. The attackers and defenders must stay inside the box. 
  5. When the attackers receive the ball, they work together and try to score. 
  6. The defenders attempt to stop them. 
  7. The attackers can pass to the players outside the penalty box to recycle possession. 
  8. The players outside the penalty box cannot shoot or score. 
  9. The round is over if the attackers score, shoot the ball wide or over the crossbar, or if the defenders win possession.
  10. The pair that wins the round continues as the defensive team.

Drill Variations

  • Create a time limit for each round. 
  • Limit the number of times the attackers can recycle possession with the outside group.
  • Add a third attacker to make things difficult for the defense.

2 v 2 Counterattacks: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 2 v 2 Counterattacks
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 7+ 
  • Number of players: 4 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, dribbling, finishing, defensive positioning, tackling
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball, 2 mini goals, 1 regular goal

Drill Setup

  • Create a 15 to 20-yard square playing grid using 4 cones.
  • Set up a regular size goal at one end of the grid. 
  • Set up 2 small goals next to either corner on the opposite end.
  • Divide the team into pairs (2 v 2) and elect half as defenders and half as attackers.
  • Defenders (D1 + D2) line up at the end with 2 goals. 
  • Attackers (P1 + P2) begin at the other end. 
  • The defenders start with the ball.
2 V 2 Counter Attacks
2 V 2 Counter Attacks

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, D1 plays a 15 to 20-yard pass (depending on the size of your grid) to P1 or P2. 
  2. P1 and P2 now take on D1 and D2 in a 2 v 2 situation.
  3. P1 and P2 try to score in either goal on the opposite end. D1 and D2 attempt to stop them. 
  4. If D1 and D2 win possession, they can counterattack quickly and attempt to score. 
  5. P1 and P2 must try to stop them. 
  6. Each team has a maximum of one attack per round. 
  7. The round is over if either team scores, the ball goes out of play, or a counterattack is unsuccessful.
  8. After 5 rounds, the players switch roles, then play another 5 rounds. 
  9. The team with the most goals wins. 
  10. If you have multiple pairs, set up identical grids or rotate pairs frequently.

Drill Variations

  • Switch the attacking and defending sides, giving players a chance to score dual and single goals. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, consider using them for this drill. 
  • Set a scoring time limit.
  • Play 2-touch or 3-touch rounds to work on quick passing and movement. 
  • Mark a small area next to each goal. Players can only score from inside this zone. This encourages players to focus on build-up play and chance creation, eliminating long-distance pot shots. 

3 v 3 Attacking Waves: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 3 v 3 Attacking Waves
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 6 to 18
  • Skills learned: Positioning, tackling, and blocking
  • Equipment: 2 cones, 1 ball, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • This drill takes place in the penalty box. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, set up a full-size goal. If not, create a small 5-yard goal using cones.
  • Split the team into groups of 3.
  • 3 defenders start inside the penalty box. 
  • 3 attackers start outside the penalty box with the ball.
Attacking Waves
Attacking Waves

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the drill begins as a 3 v 3, attack v defense scenario. 
  2. The attacking team has 15 seconds to score. 
  3. The attackers have unlimited touches and are permitted to pass, dribble, and shoot.
  4. The attackers cannot score from outside the penalty box. 
  5. Instruct the defenders to communicate effectively and work as a team to snuff out attacks. 
  6. Defenders can tackle, press, block, and intercept. 
  7. The wave is over if the attacker scores, the defense gains possession, or 15 seconds elapses.
  8. When the wave finishes, the defense has 5-seconds to get back into position before the next group of attackers starts the second wave. 
  9. The defense sustains 5 waves before they switch with another group. 
  10. Repeat the drill until all groups have defended 5 waves. 

Drill Variations

  • Get rid of the time limit. 
  • Introduce a maximum touch and/or minimum pass rule for attackers.
  • Adjust numbers to 2 v 2 or 4 v 4. 
  • Add extra attackers to create mismatches for the defensive groups.

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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