Soccer Ball Control Drills: How To Improve Your Ball Control

Soccer Ball Control Drills: How To Improve Your Ball Control

Practicing your ball control paves your way to becoming a professional soccer player. Here are the soccer ball control drills that you can do today.

Ball control is often touted in soccer as one of a player's most critical skills. Whether you're a budding star or a seasoned pro, the ability to precisely command the soccer ball can make all the difference on the pitch. If you want to enhance your ball control skills, you're in the right place. This article delves into some essential soccer ball control drills and techniques to help you become a maestro with the ball at your feet.

What Is Soccer Ball Control?

Soccer ball control is the fundamental skill that enables players to interact with the soccer ball effectively, dictating the game's pace and determining the outcome of various in-game situations. At its core, ball control encompasses the ability to receive, manipulate, and distribute the ball with precision and finesse, primarily using the feet but also incorporating other body parts like the chest, thighs, and head.

Controlling the soccer ball is undeniably the cornerstone of success on the pitch. It's the pivot upon which countless game-changing moments hinge. Consider this scenario that underscores the significance of ball control in soccer. Imagine this: Amid a forest of defenders, a player with superior ball control can maneuver through tight spaces, evade opponents, and orchestrate plays that unlock stubborn defenses. This is just one-way ball control can help you with your game.

Dedicated practice of soccer ball control drills is essential to harness this scenario (and many others) to your advantage. These drills refine your touch, improve your balance, and enhance your ability to react swiftly in dynamic game situations. Whether it's juggling, passing against a wall, or weaving through cones, these drills build essential skills and nurture the composure and confidence required to excel in the beautiful game. In essence, soccer ball control is the key that unlocks a player's true potential on the field.

Why Soccer Ball Control Is Important For Players To Develop?

Soccer ball control is a fundamental skill that every player, regardless of their position on the field, should prioritize in their development. It plays a pivotal role in a player's overall effectiveness and can be the difference between success and struggle.

Passing Accuracy: Precise ball control enables players to make accurate passes. Whether a short, quick pass to a teammate or a long, strategic delivery, control over the ball ensures the pass reaches its intended destination. This accuracy is essential for maintaining possession, creating goal-scoring opportunities, and controlling the game's pace.

Dribbling Skills: Dribbling is integral to soccer, and effective ball control is the foundation for successful dribbling. Players with good ball control can navigate tight spaces, evade defenders, and maintain possession under pressure. It allows for creativity in one-on-one situations and contributes to a player's ability to break down opposing defenses.

Versatility: A player with superior ball control can adapt to different playing styles and situations. Whether the game demands short, precise passes in a possession-based strategy or long, accurate passes for counterattacks, having control over the ball allows a player to adapt to the team's tactical needs.

Confidence and Composure: Strong ball control instills confidence and composure in players. Knowing that they can control the ball in various situations gives players the assurance to make smart decisions under pressure. This composure can differ between a panicked clearance and a composed buildup from the back.

Reduced Turnovers: Players with advanced ball control skills are less likely to commit turnovers. By maintaining possession and avoiding errant passes or poor touches, they help their team control the game, limiting the opposition's opportunities to counterattack.

Challenges You May Face When Controlling The Ball

Soccer ball control is a vital skill, but it's challenging. Even the most skilled players encounter difficulties related to ball control from time to time. These challenges can vary depending on factors like the weather, pitch conditions, the speed of play, and individual player capabilities. Here are some common challenges players may face with soccer ball control:

Weather Conditions: Weather can have a significant impact on ball control. The ball can become slippery and challenging to control on a rainy or wet pitch. Controlling the trajectory of passes and shots can be challenging in windy conditions. Players must adapt their techniques and touch to compensate for adverse weather conditions.

Pitch Quality: The condition of the playing surface can also affect ball control. Uneven or poorly maintained pitches can cause unpredictable bounces, making predicting and controlling the ball's movement difficult. In such cases, players must stay alert and adjust their approach accordingly.

Pressure from Defenders: Opponents often apply pressure to disrupt a player's ball control. This can include tackling, jostling, or closing down space quickly. Handling this pressure while maintaining ball control requires physical strength and mental composure.

Ball Speed: In fast-paced matches, the ball can travel at high speeds, making it challenging to control with finesse. Players must adapt to these situations and use a combination of technique and anticipation to receive and distribute the ball effectively.

Using Weak Foot: Many players have a dominant foot, and using the weaker foot for ball control can be a significant challenge. Developing proficiency with the non-dominant foot is essential for well-rounded ball control.

Soccer Ball Control Drills

Below are the soccer ball control drills that you should do regularly. You can start with these fundamental drills. You can move on to more advanced exercises to enhance your skills as you progress. Regular practice and a strong focus on technique will help you become a more proficient soccer player.

Juggling: The Foundation

Juggling is a classic drill that is the foundation for improving ball control. It not only enhances your touch but also promotes balance and coordination. Start with your dominant foot and then gradually include your non-dominant foot. Try to incorporate your thighs and head into the juggling routine as you progress.

Passing Against a Wall

Find a sturdy wall and practice passing the ball against it. This exercise improves your first touch, as you'll need to control the ball as it rebounds. Vary the distance and the pace of your passes to challenge yourself further. This drill simulates game situations where you must receive and distribute the ball quickly.

Cone Dribbling

Set up a series of cones in a straight line or zigzag pattern. Dribble the ball through the cones using controlled touches. Focus on maintaining close control while maneuvering through the obstacles. This drill enhances your dribbling skills and close ball control.

One-Two Passes

Practice one or two passes with a partner. This involves passing the ball to your partner and receiving it back quickly. The key is to ensure that your first touch is accurate, allowing for a smooth return pass. Repeat this drill to improve both your passing and receiving skills.

360-Degree Ball Control

Stand in the center of a circle of cones. Roll the ball to the circle's edge and use your feet to control it as it comes back. Move around the circle, using different parts of your foot to control the ball. This drill hones your ability to control the ball from all angles.

Wall Rebounds

Pass the ball against a wall at varying angles and receive it as it returns. Focus on controlling the ball using different parts of your body – feet, thighs, chest – just like you would in a game. This drill enhances your adaptability and first-touch skills.

Cone Weaving

Set up a series of cones in a straight line and dribble the ball through them as quickly as possible while maintaining control. This drill improves your close ball control, agility, and dribbling under pressure.

Small-Sided Games

Participating in small-sided games, such as 3v3 or 4v4, can significantly enhance your ball control in a realistic game setting. These games encourage quick decision-making and close ball control due to the limited space and increased pressure.

Agility Ladder Drills

Incorporate ladder drills into your training routine to improve your footwork and agility. Quick and precise footwork translates directly to better ball control on the field.

Vision and Awareness

Enhancing your ball control also involves improving your field awareness. Practice scanning the field and knowing where your teammates and opponents are. Awareness of your surroundings allows you to make better decisions when controlling and distributing the ball.

Check out this video for more soccer ball control drills

Tips To Consider Before Doing Ball Control Drills

Before diving into soccer ball control drills, you must physically and mentally prepare to get the most out of your practice session. Here are some valuable tips to consider.

Warm-up: Begin your training session with a thorough warm-up routine. This should include dynamic stretches, light jogging, or jumping jacks to increase muscle blood flow. Warming up helps prevent injuries and prepares your body for the physical demands of ball control drills.

Focus: Approach your ball control drills with a clear focus and intention. Identify areas of your ball control that you want to improve, whether first touch, dribbling, or passing accuracy. Setting goals for each practice session helps you stay motivated and track your progress.

Use Shin Guards: It's essential to wear soccer shin guards, especially when practicing drills that involve contact with the ball or potential contact with other players. Protecting your shins reduces the risk of painful injuries during training.

Cool Down: After completing your ball control drills, take the time to cool down properly. This can involve static stretching to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness. Cooling down helps your body recover and prevents stiffness.

Take Notes and Improve: Keep a training journal to record your progress and observations. Note any specific challenges you encountered during the drills and what aspects of your ball control need improvement. Reviewing your notes can help you tailor your training regimen for continuous growth.

By adhering to these tips, you'll be better prepared to maximize the benefits of your ball control drills. Remember that consistency is vital to improvement, so make practicing ball control a regular part of your soccer training routine. Over time, your dedication and focused effort will translate into enhanced ball control skills that can elevate your performance on the soccer field.


Improving your soccer ball control is an ongoing process that requires dedication and consistent practice. Incorporating these soccer ball control drills into your training regimen will elevate your skills and make you a valuable asset on the pitch. Remember that patience and perseverance are crucial to mastering the art of ball control in soccer. So, lace up your boots, grab a ball, and start honing your skills today. The journey to becoming a ball control maestro begins with that first touch.

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