Mini Soccer Drills (Small Group Games)

If you’ve got a small group of players, we’ve got some drills for you! Here is a selection of soccer drills from 2 players to 6. To adapt the soccer drills for the number of players you have, double or treble up for more players.

You can also rotate players – have a group on the sideline and change after a session. If you have spare players, then rotate for the winner, loser, least effort, or each player can have a time-out. It’s good to give players a break.

Four Soccer Players And A Coach
Four Soccer Players And A Coach ○ Soccer Blade

Mini Soccer Drills (Small Group Sided Games)

Dribble Between the Squares: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-6
  • Length of Session: 5 mins
  • Number of Players: groups of 4
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, ball handling 
  • Equipment: 8 cones and 4 balls for each group of 4

Description: Each child will dribble their ball from one square to the next and back using a variety of different dribbling tactics defined by the coach. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up two squares 10 meters apart with side lengths of 5 meters. 
  • Place 4 players in one square and give each player a ball. 
Dribble Between The Squares Soccer Drill
Dribble Between The Squares Soccer Drill ○ Soccer Blade

Drill Instructions:

  1. Instruct the players to dribble to the other square and back using different techniques. 
  2. Right foot only. 
  3. Left foot only. 
  4. Inside of the feet. 
  5. Outside of the feet. 
  6. Doing a particular move every few dribbles (stepover, cut, roll and touch, etc.)

Musical Balls: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-6
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: any
  • Skills to Learn: awareness, speed, coordination 
  • Equipment: balls and cones 
  • Description: The number of balls decreases by one each round

Drill Set-up:

  • Create a large square based on the number of players you have. 
  • Give each player a ball.
  • Optional: set up a small side activity for kids to do once they are out of musical balls. 
Musical Balls Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com
Musical Balls Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com

Drill Instructions:

  1. Give each player a ball at first. 
  2. Instruct players to dribble around the area using different techniques. 
  3. When you stop playing music or blow your whistle, each kid must leave their ball and find a new one. 
  4. Take away one ball. 
  5. Repeat the steps, this time one player won’t have a ball in the end. 
  6. The player without a ball must perform a simple action, like 5 jumping jacks, or they are out. 
  7. You can repeat the activity this way or take away one more ball each time the same way you would with musical chairs. 

Hungry Hippos: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-6
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: up to 20
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling at speed, keeping head up
  • Equipment: a lot of soccer balls, pinnies, and small goals are optional 
  • Description: Two teams compete to see who can bring the most balls back to their area. 

Drill Set-up: 

  • Split the kids into two even teams. 
  • Give each team pinnies to distinguish. 
  • Create a large rectangle with a small zone on each end. 
  • Place all of the balls in the center of the space. 
Hungry Hippos Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com
Hungry Hippos Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com ○ Soccer Blade

Drill Instructions:

  1. Place each team at either end of the rectangle. 
  2. Each team can send one player at a time to go retrieve a ball and dribble it back. 
  3. Optional: add a mini goal. The player must shoot the ball into the small goal to earn it for their team. 
  4. If a player goes out of bounds, they must put the ball back in the middle and go back to their team for a new player to go.
  5. Perform as a race until all the balls are gone. 

1 v 1 Mini-Game: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 1 v 1 Mini-Game
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 2
  • Skills learned: Passing, dribbling, defensive positioning, tackling, finishing
  • Equipment: 10 cones, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  • Create a 10 to 15-yard square playing grid, placing 1 cone on each of the 4 corners, and using 2 cones to mark the halfway point on either side. 
  • Create 2 x 3-yard goals using cones. 
  • P1 begins at 1 goal with the ball at their feet, while P2 begins at the other goal. 
1 V 1 Mini Game
1 V 1 Mini Game

Drill Instructions

  1. The drill begins on the coach’s signal. 
  2. P1 dribbles toward P2’s goal and tries to score. P2 can defend whatever way they choose, either pressing the ball aggressively or protecting their goal more conservatively. 
  3. If the defender wins the ball, they have 3 seconds to score a goal on a counterattack. 
  4. The round is over if either player scores, if the ball goes out of play, or if the 3-second counterattack is unsuccessful.
  5. The drill is then reset. After every round, the players switch roles, altering who starts with the ball.
  6. The first player to score 5 goals wins.

Drill Variations

  • Increase the winning goal tally to improve player fitness. 
  • Set a time limit for the attacking player to score. 
  • Increase or decrease the size of the playing grid. 
  • Consider adjusting the points system, rewarding players for tackling, or doubling points for counterattack goals. 

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.

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. 

2 v 2 Mini-Games: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 2 v 2 Mini-Games
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups 
  • Number of players: 4 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, dribbling, finishing, tackling, communication  
  • Equipment: 6 cones, 1 ball, 2 mini goals

Drill Setup

  • Create a small playing field, 20 yards long and 10 yards wide, using 6 cones.
  • Set up 2 mini goals and place one on either end of the field. 
  • Divide the team into pairs. 
  • 2 pairs compete at a time, with each pair beginning the drill at opposite ends of the grid.
  • P1 and P2 begin with the ball. 
2 V 2 Mini Games
2 V 2 Mini Games

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the game is live. 
  2. P1 and P2 can pass, dribble, or shoot to try and score against P3 and P4. 
  3. P3 and P4 can tackle, block, and intercept, in an attempt to win possession. 
  4. The first team to score 3 goals wins. 
  5. If the ball goes over the sideline, there are no throw-ins. The player must play a ground pass instead. 
  6. There are no offsides. 
  7. If there are multiple pairs, rotate the teams after every round. 

Drill Variations

  • Set a scoring time limit for the team in possession
  • 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. 
  • If you have enough teams, consider running a tournament among them.

2 v 2 Gate Games: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 2 v 2 Gate Games
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 4 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, dribbling, finishing, tackling, defensive positioning 
  • Equipment: 8 cones, 1 ball(minimum), 2 mini goal

Drill Setup

  • Create a 15-yard square grid. 
  • Create 2-yard gates using cones in each corner.
  • Set up a mini goal between the 2 gates at one end, around 3 yards ahead of the end line.
  • Divide the team into pairs. Instruct half the pairs to line up behind one end, and a half to line up behind the other. 
  • P1 and P2 begin centrally behind the end line with the ball. 
  • P3 and P4 begin centrally behind the opposite end line.
2 V 2 Gate Games
2 V 2 Gate Games

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, the game is live. 
  2. P1 dribbles the ball through a gate to enter the field. P2 runs through the other gate. 
  3. P3 and P4 enter the field by running through both their gates. 
  4. P1 and P2 then try to score, while P3 and P4 defend their goal. 
  5. The attackers have a single opportunity to score. 
  6. The round is over when the attackers shoot, the defenders win the ball, or the ball goes out of play. 
  7. Repeat the drill for 5 rounds, then the attackers and defenders switch roles. 
  8. If there are multiple pairs, set up identical grids or rotate the pairs occasionally.

Drill Variations

  • Set a scoring time limit.
  • Create a minimum passes rule, forcing players to make a certain number of passes before they can shoot. 
  • Create competition by counting the number of goals each team scores. 

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.

3 v 3 Overloads: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 3 v 3 Overloads
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 7+
  • Number of players: 6 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Teamwork, positioning, passing, marking, and tackling
  • Equipment: 8 cones, 4 mini goals, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  1. Create a 20-yard long, 15-yard wide, cone grid as your playing field. 
  2. Split the field into 3 even grids across the length of the field.
  3. Set up 2 mini goals on either end of the field. 
  4. Divide the team into groups of 3
  5. 2 groups compete against each other at a time. 
  6. Designate 1 team to start as the attackers and 1 as the defenders. 
3 V 3 Overloads
3 V 3 Overloads

Drill Instructions

  • This drill is a live 3 v 3 game. However, teams cannot score unless all of their players are inside the section of the grid nearest their opponent’s goal. 
  • This ruleset encourages well-managed, measured, and controlled team play. 
  • Since there are 2 goals on either end, teams can score quickly and efficiently with smart buildup play. 
  • The first team to score 3 goals is the winner. 
  • Mix up teams after each game. 
  • If you have enough players, create multiple teams and rotate them between games. 

Drill Variations

  • Consider running a training tournament if you have enough players. 
  • If teams are scoring too easily, remove a goal from either end. 
  • Set a minimum number of passes rule before teams can score. 
  • Limit individual touches to 2 or 3 per possession. 

3 Grid Positional Drill: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 3 Grid Positional Drill
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 6 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Positioning, passing, movement, marking
  • Equipment: 8 cones, 2 mini goals, 1 ball

Drill Setup

  • Create a 20-yard long, 15-yard wide, cone grid as your playing field. 
  • Split the field into 3 even grids across the length of the field.
  • Set up 2 mini goals, with 1 on either end of the field.
  • Divide the team into groups of 3
  • 2 groups compete against each other at a time. 
  • Each team assigns 1 player to each section of the playing field, creating 1 v 1 situations across the field.
  • Designate 1 team to start as the attackers and 1 as the defenders. 
  • P3 begins with the ball at their feet.
3 Grid Positional
3 Grid Positional Drill

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P3 starts the game by passing to a teammate. The defensive team allows 1 free pass to let the game begin. 
  2. Once the game kicks off, it is a live 3 v 3 game. However, all players must stay inside their assigned grid at all times. 
  3. If a player leaves their area, their opponents are awarded a goal. 
  4. Players can pass the ball the entire length of the field, bypassing the center grid if they wish. 
  5. Players can score from any position.
  6. The first team to score 3 goals wins. 
  7. If you have multiple groups, rotate teams after each game. 

Drill Variations

  • Create a tournament if you have enough players.
  • Set a minimum pass rule before teams can score. 
  • Limit individual touches to 2 or 3 per possession. 
  • Limit scoring to certain sections for a game or particular amount of time.

3 v 3 Drop-Off Drill: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: 3 v 3 Drop-Off Drill
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 6 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Positioning, passing, movement, awareness
  • Equipment: 20 cones, 6 balls (minimum)

Drill Setup

  • Create a 20-yard long, 15-yard wide, cone grid as your playing field. 
  • Set up 4 small 4-cone squares within the playing field. If you have different colored cones, use 1 color for 2 squares, and 1 color for the other 2. 
  • Position 2 same-colored squares next to either sideline and 2 same-colored squares next to either end line. 
  • Divide the team into groups of 3. 
  • Assign each team to a color.
  • The coach stands outside the playing grid with 6 balls at their feet. 
3 V 3 Drop Offs
3 V 3 Drop Offs

Drill Instructions

  1. The goal of this drill is for each team to put as many balls as possible into their assigned squares. 
  2. Both teams begin inside the playing field, occupying whatever positions they want. 
  3. The coach starts the drill by kicking the first ball onto the playing field. The coach can choose to play the ball into space, between 2 players, or in the air. 
  4. The teams compete to gain possession, then try to get the ball into their colored cone squares. Once a ball has been placed into a square, it can’t be removed. 
  5. For a team to score, the ball must come to a stop inside the square. Kicking it through the space doesn’t count. 
  6. As soon as a ball is placed into a square or leaves the field of play (from tackling, a misplaced pass, etc.), the coach kicks the next ball onto the field and the drill continues. 
  7. When all 6 balls have been played, the drill is over. 
  8. The team with the most balls in their designated squares is the winner. 

Drill Variations

  • Add more squares to make scoring easier.
  • Increase the number of balls per game. 
  • Play 2 balls at a time. 
  • Limit individual touches to 2 or 3. 
  • Create a tournament if you have enough players.

4v4 to Mini-Goals (no GK): Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-10
  • Length of Session: 3 min games, up to 15 mins
  • Number of Players: 6,8,10
  • Skills to Learn: game decisions, passing vs. dribbling, 1v1 situations
  • Equipment: regular cones, mini-goals/pug goals or large cones, pinnies, or different colored shirts

Description: Allow kids to compete in 4v4 small-sided games up to 3 mins long. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up the field based on the age of players. For younger players, 4-6, make a field about 15x 20 meters. For older groups, make the field a bit larger. 
  • Set up multiple fields if you have a large group. 
  • Use cones to create the outline of the field. 
  • Set up either mini-goals, pugg goals, or large cones as the goals. 
  • Split the players into even teams of 4, and give each team a color. 
4V4 Mini Goals Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com
4V4 Mini Goals Soccer Drill Soccerblade.com

Drill Instructions:

  1. Play 3 min games to the mini-goals. 
  2. Define how players earn points. You can create unique rules to shift the focus and practice different things. For example, you could make a 1-touch finish worth 2 points for older kids. 
  3. Keep the simple focus for kids 4-6, emphasizing taking the ball from the other team but not your team. Also, guide them to stay spread out and communicate. 
  4. For older kids, emphasize decision-making between passing and dribbling. 
  5. You can also use larger goals and add a GK for older kids, ages 9-10.

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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