Exercises and Endurance Drills (Conditioning Sessions)

One of the major factors for competing in soccer is fitness. These soccer drills will build your endurance with exercises and conditioning to get you prepared and game-ready.

In this collection of drills, there are sprints and running and importantly sessions with the ball.

Soccer Player Running On Ladders In Training
Soccer Player Running On Ladders In Training ○ Soccer Blade

Exercises, Endurance, and Conditioning 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. 

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. 

Agility Assault Course: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Agility Assault Course
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: all ages
  • Number of players: 2 to 18
  • Skills learned: Quick feet, lateral movement, sprinting, deceleration, passing
  • Equipment: 6 cones, 4 agility poles, 1 hurdle, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  • You need a training space of approximately 30 square yards. 
  • Place a cone at the end of the grid to indicate the starting point. 
  • 5 yards from the starting point, place 4 agility poles 3 yards apart in a staggered formation.
  • Place a hurdle 10 yards diagonally to the left of the final agility pole.
  • Create a small square grid 10 yards diagonally to the right of the hurdle. 
  • Place 1 cone 5 yards from the grid. 
  • P2 stands at the cone at the end of the grid with a ball.
Agility Assault Course
Agility Assault Course

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 and the rest of the team line up at the starting point.
  2. On the coach’s signal, P1 sprints to the agility poles and quickly swerves through them, keeping their center of gravity low for fast, fluid turns. 
  3. After rounding the final pole, P1 sprints to the hurdle and hops over it then back. 
  4. P1 then sprints to the square grid and plays a quick give-and-go pass with P2.
  5. P1 shuffles to the right side of the grid, then back into it for another give-and-go.
  6. P1 shuffles to the left side of the grid, then back into it for another give-and-go.
  7. The round finishes and the next player starts.

Drill Variations

  • Create competition by timing each player’s round.
  • Instead of a give-and-go pass, practice headers, volleys, or chest control.
  • Extend the drill by increasing the distance between stages or adding extra cones, agility poles, and hurdles.

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.

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.

Shuttle Drills: Soccer Drills

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Shuttle Drills
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: all ages
  • Number of players: 1 to 18
  • Skills learned: Quick feet, lateral movement, sprinting, deceleration, change of direction
  • Equipment: 8 cones (minimum)

Drill Setup

  • This drill involves 3 stations. 
  • Set up the stations as shown in the graphic
  • Station 1: Place 2 cones 3-yards apart to indicate the starting gate. Place 2 identical cones 15 yards away to indicate the other end of the station. Place 2 cones between the start and end gates, equal distances apart (5 yards). 
  • Station 2: Create 4, 2 cone gates, 5 yards apart to create a running strip. The full length of the station is 15 yards. 
  • Station 3: Use the same cone formation as station 3. 
  • None of the drills involve a ball. 
Shuttle Drill
Shuttle Drill

Drill Instructions

  1. Each of these drills involves explosive movements. Ensure all players undergo a thorough warmup to avoid injury.
  2. Station 1: P1 sprints to the front of the first cone, then shuffles the full way around it while moving their feet as quickly as possible (continually facing forward). They then sprint to the next cone and repeat the same movement, before sprinting through the end gate. P1 then turns around and repeats the drill from the opposite side. 
  3. Station 2: This is an endurance-style drill. P1 sprints to the first gate then turn and run back to the starting point. P1 then sprints to the second gate before returning to the starting position. P1 then sprints through all the gates, pushing through passed the final cones.
  4. Station 3: P1 stands at the left cone of the first gate. To start, P1 sprints to the cone directly in front, then side steps quickly toward the cone to their right. P1 then sprints to the cone directly in front before side-stepping toward the cone to their left. To finish, P1 sprints through the final gate. 

Drill Variations

  • If you have enough players and space, you can set up all 3 at the same time. If not, adjust the cones after completing each round.
  • Station 2: Instead of turning and sprinting back to the starting point, instruct players to sprint backward. 
  • Station 3: Repeat drill starting on the opposite side.
  • Create competition by timing each player’s round. Or, divide players into groups and combine their total times. 

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. 

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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