Movement Soccer Drills (Create Space)

Create space with movement during a soccer game and you’ll soccer more. Some of the best soccer teams in history had movement and passing as their style – it’s a successful approach.

This collection of drills begins with warmups, then team pass and move games, and finally on to real gameplay. After these drills, the opposition won’t know what your next move is.

Soccer Player Moving With The Ball
Soccer Player Moving With The Ball ○ Soccer Blade
Contents show

Movement Soccer Drills (Create Space)

Pass, Move, and Shuffle: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Pass, Move, and Shuffle
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Number of players: minimum of 2 as players work in pairs
  • Skills learned: first touch, passing, and quick feet
  • Equipment: 2 cones, 1 ball per pair

Drill Setup

  • Each pair of players needs 2 cones. 
  • Place 2 cones approximately 5 yards apart to create the passing lane. 
  • Create separate passing lanes parallel to these cones for each pair of players. 
  • Each pair requires 1 ball.
Pass Move And Shuffle
Pass Move And Shuffle

Drill Instructions

  • P1 stands 1 yard to the right and behind the cone, with the ball at their feet.
  • P2 stands in a mirrored position, 1 yard to the left and behind the cone, waiting to receive a pass.
  • P1 plays a firm, right-footed pass along the ground to P2. 
  • P1 then shuffles to the left side of the cone and waits for the return pass.
  • P2 takes one touch to shift the ball from the left to the right side of the cone, before playing return pass to P1.
  • P2 then shuffles back to the left side of the cone. 
  • P1  takes one touch to shift the ball from the left to the right side of the cone, before passing it to P2 
  • In the first and second rounds, allow 3 touches. In the third and fourth rounds, allow only 2.

Drill Variations

  • Switch starting positions to focus on opposite foot passing.
  • Increase the distance between players to improve passing accuracy, control, and range. For this drill, the maximum distance between players should be 15 yards.

Pass Around the Square: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 8-10+
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: 5-6 players per square 
  • Skills to Learn: passing, receiving, movement off the ball 
  • Equipment: 4 cones and 1 ball per square. 

Description: Kids must pass the ball around the square, following their passes. You can add increasingly complex versions. 

Pass Around The Square Soccer Drill
Pass Around The Square Soccer Drill

Drill Set-up:

  • Create a square using 4 cones. 
  • The square can be anywhere from 5×5 meters to 10×10 meters depending on the age and skill level of the kids. 
  • Position one kid at each cone. 
  • Place an additional player behind the player with the ball. 
  • Optional: place an additional player behind another child at a different cone. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Child A starts with the ball. 
  2. Pass the ball to child B, who will receive the ball, and play to child C. 
  3. Each player follows their pass and waits at that cone.
  4. Instruct players to “show” for the ball by popping off the cone. 
  5. Focus on body position, opening up to receive, and play in 2 touches. 
  6. Complete the drill in both directions (clockwise and counterclockwise). 
  7. Progress to more advanced patterns. For example, add a wall pass at each corner, or have the play change to up, back, and through. 

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.

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.

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.

Quick Fire Passing Drill: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Quick Fire Passing Drill
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 2 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: One touch passing, first touch, lateral movement, give-and-go passing
  • Equipment: 1 ball (per pair), 3 cones

Drill Setup

  • Divide the team into pairs.
  • Each pair operates in a small grid consisting of a 3-yard, 2-cone gate, and a perpendicular cone, 3 yards from the gate.
  • Each player takes turns being the focus of the drill. 
  • P1 begins in the center of the gate. 
  • P2 begins with the ball at their feet at the perpendicular cone. 
Quick Fire Passing
Quick Fire Passing

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P2 starts the drill by playing 2 return passes to P1.
  2. P1 then shuffles to the right side of the right-hand cone to receive the next pass. 
  3. P2 passes the ball when P1 reaches the outside of the cone. 
  4. P1 takes 1 touch (if possible), taking the ball back toward the center of the gate. 
  5. P1 passes the ball to P2.
  6. P2 plays 2 return passes to P1. 
  7. P1 shuffles to the left side of the left-hand cone to receive the next pass. 
  8. After receiving the pass, P1 takes 1 touch, taking the ball back toward the center of the gate. 
  9. P1 and P2 continue the process for 1 minute then switch roles. 
  10. Each player performs at least 3 rounds of the drill. 

Drill Variations

  • To add a conditioning focus to the drill, consider increasing the working time or the number of rounds. 
  • Create competition by tracking the number of mistakes (extra touches, misplaced passes, performing the drill incorrectly, etc.). The team that commits the least number of mistakes wins. 

Dutch Style Passing: Soccer Drills

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Dutch Style Passing
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Number of players: 8 to 16
  • Skills learned: Passing, receiving the ball on the move, first touch, and offensive positioning
  • Equipment: 4 to 8 cones, 2 balls, mini goal or full-size goal

Drill Setup

  • Create a 4 cone grid as shown in the graphic, with each cone positioned 10 yards apart. 
  • Set up a small goal using cones. Alternatively, you can use a full-size goal and a goalkeeper. 
  • Ensure the drill starts and finishes on the edge of the penalty box as the sequence is designed to simulate a midfield attacking move.
  • Split the team evenly into 4 groups and position each group behind the cones at the 4 corners of the grid.
Dutch Style Passing
Dutch Style Passing

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by playing a low, firm pass to P2. 
  2. As soon as P1 passes the ball, they run toward P3 and call for the return pass. 
  3. P2 plays a quick, first-time (if possible) return pass to P1. 
  4. While on the move, P1 receives the return pass and plays a first-time (if possible) pass to P3. 
  5. P3 takes a touch to control the ball then plays a low, firm, pass to P4.
  6. As soon as P3 passes the ball, they sprint toward the penalty box and call for the return pass. 
  7. P4 plays a threaded pass in front of P3. 
  8. P3 receives the pass on the move, dribbles into the box, and shoots on goal. 
  9. When the round finishes, P1 joins the P2 line, P2 joins the P3 line, and P3 joins the P4 line.

Drill Variations

  • Switch the drill to the opposite side of the training field.
  • Run the drill using one-touch passes only.

Midfield Attacking Sequence: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Midfield Attacking Sequence
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Number of players: 4 to 16
  • Skills learned: Receiving the ball under pressure, quick passing, dribbling, and crossing
  • Equipment: 7 cones, 1 ball, and goalposts

Drill Setup

  • Half a soccer field is the perfect space for this drill.
  • Set up the drill as shown in the graphic.
  • Place 1 cone near the center of the field to indicate the starting point. 
  • Place 1 cone 5 yards in front of the first cone, toward the goal. 
  • Place 1 cone 25 yards to the right of the second cone, toward the sideline.
  • Create a square crossing zone in front of the third cone, next to the penalty box. 
  • Set up a full-size goal. 
  • Split the team into 2 groups, with wingers and full-backs lining up on the wing and other players lining up in the center of the field. 
Midfield Attacking Sequence
Midfield Attacking Sequence

Drill Instructions

  1. P2 starts with the ball at the center field. P1 stands at the second cone with their back to the goal. 
  2. The defender (D1) stands behind P1, applying some pressure as they receive, pass, and turn, simulating an in-game midfield scenario.
  3. P1 begins the drill by playing a quick “one-two” (return pass) with P2.
  4. P1 must hold off the defender while playing the return pass. 
  5. The defender applies some pressure but doesn’t attempt to win possession.
  6. After playing the ball back to P2, P1 spins toward the goal and sprints to the penalty box. 
  7. P2 then plays a 25-yard pass to P3 next to the sideline. 
  8. P3 dribbles along the sideline into the crossing grid and crosses the ball into the penalty box toward P1. 
  9. P1 takes a shot on goal. 
  10. Rotate the defensive player every 2 to 3 rounds. 

Drill Variations

  • Switch the crossing grid to the opposite side of the field. 
  • Introduce a defender in the penalty box. 
  • Create a contest between the 2 groups to see which team scores the most goals.

Dribble, Turn, and Shoot: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Dribble, turn, and shoot
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Number of players: 2 to 16
  • Skills learned: Dribbling, ball control, turning, skill moves, and finishing
  • Equipment: 5 cones (or agility poles), mannequin, 1 ball (minimum), and goal posts

Drill Setup

  • Set up the drill as shown in the graphic.
  • Place 1 cone near the center of the field. 
  • Place 1 cone 10 yards parallel to the first, toward the sideline. 
  • Place 2 more cones 10 yards from the first 2 just outside the penalty box. 
  • Place a mannequin on the edge of the penalty box, in the center of the goal. If you don’t have a mannequin, a cone will suffice. 
  • Set up full-size goalposts.
Dribble Turn And Shoot
Dribble Turn And Shoot

Drill Instructions

  1. The team lines up at the center field behind the cone. 1 player (P2) stands at the cone on the right side of the penalty box. 
  2. P1 starts the drill by dribbling at, then around the parallel cone toward the sideline. 
  3. After rounding the cone, P1 passes the ball to P2 and then takes its original position. 
  4. P2 dribbles at, then around the cone near the edge of the penalty box. 
  5. After rounding the cone, P2 dribbles at the mannequin and uses a skill move (e.g. step over) to go around it. 
  6. P2 has a 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper. 

Drill Variations

  • Switch to the opposite side of the field. 
  • Focus on the left and right-footed shooting. 
  • If there is no goalkeeper, use small goals to improve finishing accuracy.

Double Movement Finishing: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Double movement finishing
  • Session Length: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 3 to 18
  • Skills learned: First touch, shooting, finishing from a cross, crossing, movement
  • Equipment: 1 mannequin (alternatively 1 cone or agility pole), 3 cone, 1 goal, 2 balls (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 penalty spot inside the box. 
  • Place 1 cone 5 yards outside the penalty box. 
  • Place 1 cone next to the goal on the end line. 
  • Place 1 cone between the right-hand sideline and the edge of the penalty box.
  • P2 stands next to the cone on the end line with a ball. 
  • P3 stands next to the cone near the sideline with a ball.
  • P1 and the rest of the players line up behind the cone outside the penalty box. 
Double Movement Finishing
Double Movement Finishing

Drill Instructions

  1. P2 starts the drill by passing the ball to P1. 
  2. P1 takes one touch to control the pass before taking a shot on goal. 
  3. P1 then makes a dummy run to the left side of the mannequin as if they are heading for the back post. When P1 reaches the mannequin, they quickly check their run, sprinting to the other side toward the front post.
  4. P3 crosses the ball to P1.
  5. P1 finishes the ball with a header, volley, or regular shot. Instruct the attackers to try to finish first-time. 
  6. P1 rejoins the end of the attacking line. 
  7. Rotate the passer and crosser occasionally.

Drill Variations

  • Switch the passing and crossing positions to the opposite side. 
  • Instruct strikers to shoot first-time on all shots.
  • Change the starting position of the strikers for different shooting angles.
  • Change the angle of the runs toward the back post. 
  • Focus on weak foot shooting.

Split the Defense Finishing: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Split the defense finishing
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 3 to 18
  • Skills learned: Movement, positioning, first touch, finishing
  • Equipment: 1 mannequin (alternatively 1 cone or agility pole), 3 cone, 1 goal, 1 balls (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. 
  • Place 1 cone 5 yards outside the penalty box.
  • Create a 5-yard passing gate to the right of the mannequin using 2 cones.
  • P1 stands next to the mannequin.
  • P2 and the rest of the players line up behind the cone outside the box.
  • P2 starts with the ball.
Split The Defense Finishing
Split The Defense Finishing

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by moving around the mannequin as if it were a defender. 
  2. P1 then sprints in front of the mannequin to receive a pass.
  3. P2 plays a quick one-two return pass to P1. 
  4. After playing the return pass, P1 backs away toward the 2 cone grid while still facing P2.
  5. This movement simulates splitting 2 defenders in the back line. 
  6. P2 plays a pass to P1’s feet. 
  7. P1 takes a touch into the penalty box for a 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper.
  8. P1 joins the end of the passing line. 
  9. P2 takes P1’s position. 
  10. Repeat the drill. 

Drill Variations

  • Switch the drill to the opposite side to practice different shooting angles.
  • 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.

Wide Attack: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Wide Attack
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Number of players: 3 to 16
  • Skills learned: Quick passing, dribbling, turning, and finishing
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball, and goalposts

Drill Setup

  • Place 1 cone on the end line 5 yards outside the penalty box. 
  • Place 1 cone 12 yards in front of the first. 
  • Place 1 cone parallel to the second cone on the edge of the penalty box. 
  • Place 1 cone in line with the third cone, around 5 yards outside the penalty box. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, set up full-size goalposts. If you don’t have a goalkeeper, mini goalposts are okay.
Wide Attack
Wide Attack

Drill Instructions

  1. The team lines up behind the cone on the end line. 1 player stands at the second and another at the third cone.
  2. P1 starts the drill by playing a quick one-two pass with P2. 
  3. As soon as P2 plays the return pass, they turn and start to run toward the cone outside the penalty box. 
  4. P1 passes to P3. 
  5. P3 plays a first-time pass (if possible) in front of P1. 
  6. P1 receives the ball on the move, dribbles at it, then around the cone toward the goal. 
  7. P1 then dribbles into the penalty box for a 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper. 
  8. The goalkeeper may rush the attacker, come off their line, or play the scenario however they wish. This is a useful drill for goalkeepers also.
  9. If you have multiple goalkeepers in your team, rotate them each round. 
  10. After the round, P1 rejoins the main line, P3 takes the P1 spot, and P2 takes the P3 spot. 

Drill Variations

  • Create a competition between attackers and between goalkeepers for the most goals and stops. 
  • Switch the drill setup to the opposite side of the training field. 
  • Add a player to the penalty box to passively defend the attacker.

Multiphase Attacking Possession: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Multiphase Attacking Possession 
  • Session Length: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 8 (minimum)
  • Skills learned: Passing, movement, positioning, dribbling, finishing
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 1 ball, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box and surrounding area for this drill. 
  • If you have a goalkeeper, set up a full-size goal. If not, create a small goal using cones.
  • Divide the team into groups of 4. 
  • 4 attackers and 4 defenders participate at a time. 
  • The attackers form a circle outside the penalty box with the ball. 
  • 2 defenders stand inside the circle of attackers. 
  • 2 defenders wait inside the penalty box. 
Multiphase Drill
Multiphase Drill

Drill Instructions

  1. The drill starts as a passing rondo. The attackers try to complete 5 consecutive passes. 
  2. If the defenders win possession, they switch roles with the attackers. 
  3. Once a team completes 5 consecutive passes, the rondo defenders must stop trying to win the ball. 
  4. The attackers then take on the defenders inside the penalty box and try to score. They can pass, dribble, or shoot from wherever they like. 
  5. Encourage the attackers to be smart regarding their positional play, using their numerical mismatch to make space and create a high percentage of goal-scoring chances. 
  6. After each round, the attackers and defenders switch roles. 
  7. If there are more groups, rotate them after each round. 

Drill Variations

  • Limit the number of touches for attacking players. 
  • Add extra defenders to increase the difficulty for attackers. 
  • Create a competition to see which team can score the most goals. 
  • Scale this drill up or down depending on the number of available players. 

Rush & Flick On: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Rush & Flick On
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 12+
  • Number of players: 10 
  • Skills learned: Long passing, heading, finishing, & positioning
  • Equipment: Full Field, 1 ball, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • Line up 10 outfield players in a regular 4-4-2 formation. 
  • If your right back (D4) is a good long-range passer, they are the designated passer for this drill. If not, put your best passing midfielder into the right-back position temporarily.
Rush And Flick On
Rush And Flick On

Drill Instructions

  • The first pass is one of the most important parts of this tactic so be sure to get it right. 
  • S1 and S2 take tip-off, then play a pass back to D4. However, this should be a dummy pass that looks as though it is going to M1. 
  • When the pass is played, M1 lets the ball roll past them or through their legs to D4. 
  • D1 and W1 sprint down the left side of the field toward the left edge of the penalty box. 
  • M1, M2, S1, and S2 sprint toward the center of the penalty box. 
  • W2 drifts toward the center of the field as cover in case the play breaks down.
  • D4 plays a long diagonal pass toward D1 and W4. 
  • D1 or W4 head the ball, flicking it onto the rushing midfielders and strikers. 
  • The attackers work together to score. 

Drill Variations

  • Switch this drill to the opposite side of the field. 
  • Use opposition defenders or mannequins to simulate defenders’ positions.

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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