Soccer Ball Control Drills

Practice these drills to improve your ball control.

These soccer ball control drills are basic but effective. They don’t require require cones.

I recommend using these drills (in combination with our dribbling drills) at the start of a training session.

7 Soccer Ball Control Drills

1. Happy Feet

Use the drill “happy feet” to practice switching the ball between your feet.

This skill translates onto the field. You can evade tackles, control the ball with the inside touch, and quickly move the ball to your other foot to set up a pass or shot when you master the “happy feet” drill.

To perform “happy feet,” use the inside touch to move the ball back and forth between your feet.

When learning the movement, you will lose control of the ball because your touch it too far in front of you or it gets stuck between your feet. As you practice you will keep the ball in between your feet for longer and longer.

Start slowly and increase speed as you get used to the drill. Once you master the drill, try doing it while looking forward. Look at the ball occasionally to get your bearings.

When you can do happy feet without looking at the ball, the drill will translate onto the field. You will control the ball using “happy feet” naturally in games.

2. Toe-touches

Getting comfortable touching the top of the ball is essential if you want to pull and roll the ball effectively.

“Toe touches” are the fastest way to master touching the top of the ball.

To do “toe touches” lift your knee up and touch the top of the ball. Bring your foot back to the ground while you repeat the drill with your other leg.

Start slowly and increase the speed as you become more comfortable. This drill actually provides some good cardio when done quickly.

If you are training with another player, try doing toe touches on one half of the ball while he does them on the other half.

3. Sole Roles

This drill improves your sole touch. Master it and you will roll the ball away from defenders and roll the ball forward to set up soccer moves in games.

Roll the ball to the side then use your other foot to roll it back. Try a variation where you roll the ball, stop it with an inside touch, then roll it back.

This drill sounds simple but can be challenging. As I discussed in our article on How to Control a Soccer Ball, pay attention to your place foot (foot not touching the ball). Your place foot should “hop” slightly when doing the drill.

4. V roll

To do a “v roll” touch the ball forward, pull it across your body, then touch it forward with your opposite foot. Repeat with both legs.

Keep the movement tight. Stay on your toes and hop with your place foot.

Start slowly and increase your speed as you learn the drill. As you practice this drill you will develop a rhythm.

This drill is tricky but worthwhile. You can use the movement in games to pull the ball away from defenders then explode in the other direction.

5. Pull and cut

The “pull and cut” is a fantastic ball control drill that works well in games. You can use the movement to switch directions quickly.

This drill develops your inside and sole touch.

To do the “pull and cut” drill pull the ball back without turning your body, then touch the ball behind your body using the inside touch with the same leg that pulled the ball. Alternate.

You will get into a rhythm as you get used to the drill.

6. Pull and turn

The “pull and turn” drill develops your sole and outside touches.

To do a “pull and turn” pull the ball back then use the outside of the same foot to cut backwards or to the side.

This movement is great for escaping from defenders then passing the ball backwards.

7. Out in out

To do an “out in out” ball control drill touch the ball with the outside of your foot to the side, use the inside of the same foot to touch the ball across your body, then use outside of your other foot. Repeat.

This drill is great. It will help you maneuver around the field and develop your first touch.