As a youth soccer player, I have learned that touches on the ball are absolutely crucial to improving your skill set. These touches can be drills, passing with friends, or shooting on a goal. Practicing for an hour and 30 minutes three times a week may improve your skills, but if you do a little something extra on the days you don’t have practice, you can improve tremendously. It doesn’t take longer than 15 minutes a day to improve your passing or shooting, and what’s great is that you can do these youth soccer techniques at home. You don’t need fancy cones or hurdles to hone in on your footwork, passing, or shooting. The drills can be done in an open space with a wall and some grass.
My coach gave me a book to log my touches on the ball, and it’s a great way for me to keep track of how I am improving, and it’s something I recommend for any youth soccer player who is looking to improve their game. I suggest using a book to track your touches as well. I want to share a couple of drills that have helped me that you can work on as well.
Footwork: First, pick a skill move or piece of footwork you want to improve on. For this example, I will use a Cruyff turn. Set a timer for a minute, and pick a foot to start with. Now, start the timer and do Cruyff turns, counting how many times you successfully do the move. Write down how many times you did the move in one minute, and then switch to the other foot. Repeat this for about 15 minutes. After you are finished, look at your book or log, and see if the number of times you successfully did the move in one minute increased after doing it many times. This drill has really helped me improve my Cruyff turns.
Juggling: This drill can also be recorded in the book to see if you improve this skill. Just juggle until the ball touches the ground, record the number you juggled in the book, and then repeat the process. These drills can all be done at home, in an open space, outside. I have been yelled at for juggling inside before!
Passing: Find a nice, sturdy wall (the exterior of the house works great) for this drill. Pass the ball against the wall and receive it back with a clean touch. You can work on a lot of different touches with this drill, like touching across the body, taking a small touch, or taking a big touch that gives you room to run onto the ball. You can even practice backing up before taking a touch to give you more time to make your decision.
Volleying: To improve your volleying skills, toss the ball to the wall and hit it back to the wall with the inside of your foot. Alternate feet and switch the points of your feet that the ball is hitting. This drill also works with trapping the ball. You can throw the ball to the wall at different heights to bring the ball down with different body parts, like your head, chest, or thigh.
Shooting: For shooting drills, I suggest a mini goal for the backyard. I have one, and I shoot on it all the time. These drills are really unstructured and can be used to practice curving your shot, placing the ball into corners or powerful upper-nineties.
All of the aforementioned drills can be done at home and are used to improve skills. I know by experience that all of these work, and if you log what you do, you can track your improvement. Remember, only 15 minutes a day can improve footwork greatly, so be sure to practice extra by using these youth soccer techniques to improve!