Power, speed and agility are fundamental skills you need to excel in soccer. In these areas, various cardio and strength-training drills can boost your skill levels and should be done three to five times a week. Dribbling, passing, shielding, trapping, tackling, shooting and goalkeeping are different ways you contact the ball during a game. Practice these contact movements, ideally with a teammate, to fully develop the skills you need to play soccer.
Skilled soccer playing requires you to sprint, jump and maneuver around the field using explosive power. To build power, do plyometrics, also called jump training. Do at least eight reps of each plyometric exercise, which may include squat jumps, box jumps, scissor jumps, lateral jumps and depth jumps. For example, do lateral jumps by jumping explosively directly to your side over a cone as high as you can. Immediately jump back to your first position, touching the ground for as short a time as possible.
Speed and Agility
Agility means being able to maneuver quickly while maintaining control and form. Speed and agility are skills that go hand-in-hand in soccer as you weave through players with the ball. High knee drills strengthen your hip flexors and help with your quickness. Run between two cones lifting your knees to your chest as fast as possible. Run uphill to increase your stride length and do short sprint intervals to quicken your leg turnover, or stride frequency. Sprint for 10-second intervals at your maximum intensity. Use a ladder and various obstacles to create an obstacle course requiring fast footwork. Time yourself and make the course harder when you improve.
Dribbling and Passing
Dribbling and passing are skills you need to be able to move the ball quickly across the field and pass it to teammates who are in better position than you. To practice passing, kick the ball with the inside of your foot against a wall so that the ball returns to you, or pass back and forth with a teammate. Pass at both short and long distances, using both your right and left foot. Dribble the ball across the field as fast as possible, keeping the ball close to your feet. Drills with at least one teammate involving dribbling and passing across the field will most effectively prepare you for passing and dribbling in a game.
Shielding, Tackling and Trapping
Shielding is protecting the ball from opponents while you pass or shoot it. Watching a professional game can help you learn the technique of using your body as a shield between an opposing player and the ball. Tackling is another defensive skill used to keep the other player from getting the ball when you’re receiving, trapping or shielding it. Learn the rules of player-opponent contact and how you can best use your feet and body to block your opponent’s access to the ball. Practice shielding and tackling playing one-on-one soccer. Learn to trap the ball when it comes to you in a game using your foot, thighs, chest and head. You’re allowed to touch the ball with these body parts and can use them to slow down the ball and get it into your control. Practice trapping by having someone throw or kick the ball toward you in the air.
Shooting and Goalkeeping
To practice shooting, kick the ball against a wall or into the goal, alternating both feet from different distances. It’s important you can shoot with both feet because in a game one foot may be in a better position than the other. Do the rotational lunge and reach drill to improve at goalkeeping. Step out into a lunge with your front leg at a 90-degree angle with your arms straight overhead. Bend forward at the hips to touch your chest to your front thigh, reaching through your hands. Use your legs to push yourself back to a standing position. Do both legs. After lunging straight in front of you, try standing in front of a goalpost and lunging in different directions. Then, practice catching the ball to improve your goalkeeping skills by having a teammate shoot the ball toward the goal.