Dribbling And Control

Week 4 Soccer Practice Drills for U7, U8 & U9 Teams



Field Setup

  • Each player has a ball
  • Set down cones to make a 50×40 steps field for 12 players – larger if more players
    • Anything can be a cone (an article of clothing, a water bottle, any marker)
    • Set cones every ten steps
  • Do not set up any goals
    • If there are goals, players will shoot on them and not listen to you
  • Demonstrate each drill / game before starting it

Drill 1 – Intro to Juggling – 5 minutes

Players stand in a big circle, holding the soccer balls in their hands

  • From chest-high
    • Drop the ball and hit it back up into your hands using your thigh
      • Keep an eye on the ball and watch as your thigh hits it
        • HINT: Your thigh hits the ball, not the other way around. You control where the ball goes
      • Repeat several times, then,
    • Drop the ball and hit it with one thigh, then the other thigh, and then catch it with your hands
      • Keep an eye on the ball and watch your one thigh, and then the other thigh, hits the ball
      • Repeat several times, then,
    • Drop the ball and kick it with your foot back up into your hands
      • Again, keep an eye on the ball and watch as your foot kicks the ball back up
        • Do not drop the ball and try to kick at the same time (many players do this), but wait for it to drop close to your foot before kicking it back up
      • Repeat several times, then
    • Drop the ball and kick it with one foot, then the other foot, and then catch it with your hands
      • Watch the ball get kicked with one foot and then the other foot

Drill 2 – Dribbling – 5 minutes

  • Dribble the ball anywhere within the field of play
  • Use the entire space
    • Do not let players bunch up
  • Keep the ball close to you while running
    • Can the players run and keep the ball under control
    • Players who are walking should be urged to run
    • Players who are running too fast should be urged to slow down in order to stay under control
  • Every 30 seconds or so, ask players to perform one of 4 moves learned during Week 1Week 2, or Week 3

Drill 3 – Switch – 5 minutes

  • As the players are dribbling, you yell “Switch!”
    • Players stop the ball they are dribbling dead with the bottom of their foot
    • Players then go find another ball to dribble
      • They cannot dribble the ball they just stopped
    • Once they find a ball players dribble again until you yell “Switch!” again

Drill 4 – Follow the Leader – 5 minutes

  • Pair up the players
    • Each player has a ball
  • One of the partners dribbles anywhere within the field of play, using any part of the foot, and performing any move
    • The partner follows close behind using the same part of the foot and performing the same moves
  • Switch the leader every 75 seconds

Game 1 – Coach “Knockout” – 5 minutes


Coach Knockout Setup

  • Set up 1 large box within the field of play
    • About 25 x 25 steps
  • Each player has a ball inside of the box
  • The coach is inside of the box without a ball


Coach Knockout

  • Players dribble inside of the box
  • Coach tries to kick the players’ balls out of the box
    • Players can either use a move or shield the ball to keep it away from the coach
  • If the coach manages to kick the player’s ball out of the box, the player runs to get the ball and brings it back inside of the box

Game 2 – Player “Knockout” – 5 minutes

Same as Game 1 above, except:

  • The coach is not a part of this game
  • The players have to both protect their ball from getting kicked out and try to kick other players’ balls out
    • The players may not leave their ball unattended to go kick another player’s ball out
    • They have to stay in control of their ball
  • When a ball gets knocked out of the box, the player runs to get it and brings it back in to keep playing

Game 3 – 1-on-1 – 10 minutes with teaching basic defense


  • Bend at the knees and lean forward to find a low center of gravity
  • Keep moving your feet
  • Don’t “dive-in”
    • Don’t run straight towards the ball because the opponent will just run around you
    • Don’t stick your foot out
      • Get the whole body behind the tackle
  • Stay between the attacker and the goal
  • Go for the ball once the attacker takes too heavy of a touch



1on1 Setup

  • Place a goal on opposing ends of the box you set up for the “Knockout” games
  • Send half of the team behind one goal, and the other half behind the other goal
    • Hand out training vests to one of the teams
    • Assign a number (1 through X) to the players in each team
    • Make sure they are lined up behind the goal, not in front of it
      • The players will try to line up to the side of the goal, but they will not have the discipline to stay several steps away to the side of the goal and will get in the way of the game, so send them behind
  • The coach stands to the side of the box with all of the balls


1on1 Drill

  • Coach calls out a number (ex. 1) and passes a ball into the field
  • The two opposing players who are assigned the said number (ex. 1) run into the field
    • Players try to beat each other to the ball
    • Players play 1-on-1 until either
      • A goal is scored
      • Or the ball runs out of bounds

Game 4 – 2-on-1 – 10 minutes with teaching overlap run


The overlap run forces defenders to make a decision to either stay with the attacker who has the ball, or to follow the runner and free up the attacker with the ball

Overlap run

  • Player without the ball runs behind and around the player with the ball
  • Player with the ball has an option to either
    • Pass the ball to the player running ahead
    • Or keep the ball


  • Call 2 players from one side, and 1 player from the other side
  • Pass the ball to the side with the two players (the offense)
  • The offense has to perform an overlap run before attempting to score
  • The lone defender is trying to steal the ball and score on the other goal
  • Players keep going until a goal is scored or the ball is kicked out of bounds
  • Switch which side is on offense, call 2 players for offense, 1 player for defense, pass the ball in…

Game 4 – Scrimmage – 10 minutes


  • Remove the box used in previous games and set up a small goal on each of the end lines of your field
    • Either use Pugg goals, or place two cones/bags/shirts about 3 steps apart from each other
  • The players should already be split into two equal teams from the previous games, with one wearing training vests
  • For the first 5 minutes, demand that the team on offense performs an overlap run prior to trying to score
  • For the last 5 minutes play without restrictions

Week 1 - Level 2 - Scrimmage


End Practice

  • Team cheer
    • 1,2,3 Go “team name”!

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