Coaching Soccer Ball Control Drills

Whether trying out or playing for a youth soccer club, ball control is critical to every position on the soccer field. Since it is such an important soccer skill, youth soccer players should practice the fundamentals of ball control over and over at an early age through soccer drills customized to improve your dribbling. A few youth soccer ball control drills are listed below but you can find many more free soccer ball control drills online at websites like

A team without effective ball control will have problems attacking, counterattacking, and ultimately, winning youth soccer games. Crisp passes, clean receiving, controlled dribbling, and moving the ball towards the opposing goal will allow teams to consistently set up scoring opportunities. Every soccer practice should involve ball control drills until it becomes second nature to young players.

Ball Control Drills for Youth Soccer Players

These ball control drills are not only effective for acquiring this mandatory skill, they will also add to the enjoyment of a soccer practice. The players will develop skills in dribbling, passing, receiving, positioning, and trapping.

Knockout Drill – The objective of this game is to develop the players’ ability to manipulate the ball and keep it under control. Have all players dribble their soccer balls while trying to knock other player’s balls outside of the grid.

Man-in-the-Middle (aka Pig-in-the-Middle) – Break the players up into teams of three with one soccer ball per team. One player starts out in the middle as a defensive player while the other two take up positions across from each other. The two offensive players must pass the ball back and forth without the defensive player gaining control of the ball. If the defensive player succeeds in trapping the soccer ball, they switch places with the player who passed it. The offensive skills acquired by youth soccer players are 1) making crisp, accurate passes 2) receiving the ball cleanly and in control. The defensive soccer player will learn to 1) position themselves effectively 2) become efficient at trapping the ball.

By establishing effective ball control in soccer games, you’ll be able to consistently put yourself into a position to win. The opposing team can’t score while you are in possession and is bound to make a mistake in trying to gain control. That’s when you strike.

By Trevor A. Sumner who works for, a youth soccer community dedicated to providing parents, coaches and athletes the tools and information to celebrate the love of the game. has one of the most comprehensive, free soccer drill libraries in its active soccer community.

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