Moving To The Ball Soccer Drills (Without The Ball)

Moving during soccer is one of the biggest factors in winning. It’s easy for the opposition if you stay in the same place – they know you’re not going to affect the game.

You will score more goals by being on the move. Some strikers need to make 10 runs before they get a chance on goal. Improve your gameplay with these moving-to-the-ball drills.

Soccer Player Moving Without The Ball
Soccer player moving without the ball ○ Soccer Blade

Moving To The Ball Soccer Drills + Without The Ball

Pass Through the Gates: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 6-10
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: any
  • Skills to Learn: passing, communication
  • Equipment: balls and cones, optional pinnies

Description: Players must pass the ball through a gate to their teammate to earn a point. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up a large space based on the number of players you have and their ages. 
  • Randomly place gates using cones. Gates should be about 3 meters. 
  • Give each player a partner.
  • Optional: use pinnies to distinguish groups. 
  • Each group of 2 gets 1 ball.
Pass Through The Gates Soccer Drill
Pass Through The Gates Soccer Drill

Drill Instructions:

  1. Kids must dribble around the area and pass through the gates to their partners. 
  2. Each successful pass through the gate earns one point. 
  3. Kids cannot go through the same gate twice in a row. 
  4. Challenge your players to see who gets the most passes in a set time or who can complete all gates first. 
  5. Keep each round to 60 seconds or less. 
  6. Challenge older players to use their weaker foot or complete the drill with smaller gates. 

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.
See also  Soccer Drills Without Goals (Skill Drills)

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.

Short Pass, Long Pass: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Short Pass, Long Pass
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 4 to 16
  • Skills learned: first-time passing, ball control, long-distance passing, 
  • Equipment: 1 ball (per group), 4 cones (per group)

Drill Setup

  • Create a 4 cone passing grid that spans the width of the training field. 
  • Place 2 cones 5 yards apart along the left wing sideline.
  • Place 2 parallel cones 5 yards apart along the right wing sideline.
  • Assign 4 players to the grid, with 1 player lining up next to each cone. 
  • Create as many passing grids as you need to include all players.
  • If you don’t have enough space for multiple grids, rotate groups every minute.
Short Pass Long Pass
Short Pass, Long Pass

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts by playing a quick one-two return pass with P2. 
  2. After receiving the return, P1 opens their body, taking their first touch toward P3 on the opposite wing. 
  3. P1 then plays a long pass to P3. 
  4. P1 and P2 switch positions.
  5. P3 takes the necessary amount of touches to control the pass (as few as possible).
  6. P3 plays a quick one-two return pass with P4. 
  7. After receiving the return, P3 opens their body, taking their first touch toward P2 on the opposite wing. 
  8. P3 then plays a long pass to P2. 
  9. P3 and P4 switch positions. 
  10. Repeat the drill, focusing on accurate, controlled passing, and good first touches. 

Drill Variations

  • Get players to switch sides. 
  • Focus on weak foot passing for several rounds. 
  • Get groups to compete against each other by counting how many complete passes they make within the time frame.

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.
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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.

Receive Pass Drag Back: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Receive pass drag back
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 2 to 18
  • Skills learned: First touch, drag back, dribbling, ball control
  • Equipment: 2 cones (minimum), 1 ball (minimum)

Drill Setup

  • This drill requires players to work in pairs. 
  • For each pair, set up 2 cones 5 yards apart. 
  • Each player stands at a cone. 
  • P2 starts with the ball.
  • P1 starts behind their cone.
  • P1 is the main focus of the drill. 
  • P2 plays the role of a passer. 
Receive Pass Drag Back
Receive Pass Drag Back

Drill Instructions

  1. On the coach’s signal, P1 sprints in front of the cone and calls for the pass. 
  2. P2 passes the ball to the feet. 
  3. P1 takes a touch to control the ball, then drags the ball behind the cone, shuffles to the opposite side, and plays a return pass. 
  4. Repeat the drill for 1 to 2 minutes before alternating roles. 
  5. The focus is on moving backward, then sideways while maintaining control of the ball. 
  6. The cone represents a defender, so this drill also helps players practice receiving the ball under pressure. 

Drill Variations

  • Focus on using both feet for a round. 
  • Focus on using the right foot for a round. 
  • Focus on using the left foot for a round.

Pass and Move Awareness: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Pass and move awareness drill
  • Session Length: 3 to 5 mins
  • Number of players: Minimum of 8 players broken into 4 groups
  • Skills learned: passing, quick movement, first touch, and awareness
  • Equipment: 4 cones, 2 balls

Drill Setup

  • Position 4 cones to create a tilted square. The 4 corners should be 10 yards apart from each other. 
  • Split the training squad into 4 even groups, with each group lining up at a separate cone. 
  • 3 to 4 players per group is optimal. There must be a minimum of 2 in each group.
Pass And Move Awareness
Pass and Move Awareness

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 and P3 start with the balls at their feet. 
  2. P1 plays a low, firm pass to P2. After playing the pass, the player jogs to the back of the line on their right. 
  3. Then, P3 passes the ball to P4. When the pass is played, the player joins the end of the line to their right. 
  4. P2 and P4 take one touch the control the ball, before playing a return pass to the next player in the group they received the ball from. 
  5. After playing the pass, the players jog to the back of the line to their right. 
  6. As the passing lanes intersect in the middle of the square, players must time their passes precisely to avoid the balls from accidentally colliding. 

Drill Variations

  • Introduce limits on the number of touches. Start out with no limits, then gradually reduce it to 2 touches. 
  • Instruct players to use their weaker foot for a certain number of passes. 
  • Set targets for successive completed passes.
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Pass, Layoff, and Shoot: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: Pass, layoff, and shoot
  • Session Length: 5 minutes
  • Age Group: All age groups
  • Number of players: 2 to 18
  • Skills learned: Passing, layoffs, first-time shooting
  • Equipment: 2 cones, 1 ball (minimum), 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box for this drill. 
  • Set up a full-size goal. Even if there is no goalkeeper, it’s important to practice shooting in a regulation goal.
  • Place 1 cone on the edge of the penalty box near the middle. 
  • Place 1 cone 5 yards outside of the penalty box toward center field. 
  • P2 stands next to the cone at the edge of the box. P2 is the passer. 
  • The rest of the team line up behind P1 at the cone outside the penalty box.
  • P1 starts with the ball. 
Pass, Layoff, And Shoot
Pass, Layoff, and Shoot

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by passing the ball to P2. 
  2. P1 then sprints toward the box and calls for a return pass. 
  3. P2 plays a first-time layoff pass in front of P1. 
  4. P1 takes a touch to control the ball, before shooting on goal. 
  5. This is also a useful drill for goalkeepers. 
  6. The next player in the attacking line continues the drill after the first shot is taken. 
  7. Rotate the passer occasionally. 

Drill Variations

  • Change the starting position to practice different shooting angles. 
  • Adjust the shooting distance. 
  • Focus on first-time shooting only. 
  • Instruct the passer to chip the ball slightly, forcing the shooter to take a half volley. 

One-Touch Passing and Shooting: Soccer Drill

Drill Outline

  • Drill Name: One-touch passing and shooting
  • Session Length: 10 minutes
  • Age Group: 10+
  • Number of players: 3 to 18
  • Skills learned: One touch passing, first touch, crossing, first time finishing
  • Equipment: 1 ball, 3 cones, 1 goal

Drill Setup

  • Use the penalty box and the width of the training field for this drill. 
  • Set up a full-size goal. If you have a goalkeeper, this drill can double as saving practice. 
  • Place 1 cone centrally, approximately 5 yards outside of the penalty box. 
  • Place 2 more cones next to either sideline, in line with the first cone.
  • Divide the team into groups of 3. Each group lines up behind a cone. 
  • P1 begins at the central cone with the ball at their feet. 
One Touch Passing And Shooting
One Touch Passing and Shooting

Drill Instructions

  1. P1 starts the drill by playing a long pass to P2. 
  2. As soon as the first pass is played, P3 starts to run toward the box. 
  3. P2 takes a good first touch toward the endline or penalty box. 
  4. P2 times the run of P3 and crosses the ball to them, aiming for their feet or head. 
  5. P3 shoots or heads the ball first time on goal. 
  6. If you have a goalkeeper, instruct them not to compete for the crosses. They should only attempt to save the shots. 
  7. After the round, P1 joins P2’s line, P2 joins P3’s line, and P3 joins P1’s line.

Drill Variations

  • Switch the crossing angle to the opposite side of the field. 
  • Set scoring targets for the team. 
  • Instruct P1 to vary the height of their initial passes so P2 and P3 can practice their first touch and ball control with their feet, knees, and chest. 

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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