Improve soccer performance, confidence on the ball and increase overall skill

Soccer Skills Development: Juggling

Just go out and juggle for 20 minutes a day. 20 Minute! Really!

Devote that amount of time to developing skills and you will see a major difference.

Try some of these ideas mentioned in the link above. Start at the beginning or move on to the intermediate. After 8 days of working on these various exercises we are sure you will see improvment in your ability to handle a soccer ball. Juggling Excellence With the Brasilian Futebol

Juggling with Soul: Small ball training

Here is one to add to your repertoire. Juggling with the bottom of your foot;  tap dancing, toe tapping,, not sure what to call this. Using the bottom of your foot, the soul of your shoe, instead of keeping the futebol in the air trying dribbling it like basketball players dribbles a basketball, use the soul of your shoe to bounce it off the ground. This is best executed on a hard, flat surface like a tennis court, gym floor or cement driveway.

Begin by letting the ball bounce about 8 to 12 inches high, slightly in front of you. As the futebol is bouncing get your foot over the ball as it touches the ground and is beginning to rise. As it is rising use the bottom of your foot to push or slap it back down to the ground. It is easiest to use the ball of your foot to start. You will need to let it bounce twice after forcing it or slapping it to the ground before you can attempt the next touch. It is best to alternate feet for timing sake and rhythm.

It will take time to find the timing and rhythm of this exercise, but it is a wonderful way to develop timing, touch, rhythm, quick feet and maybe a new move or two.

Once you have it down try using your heal and the outside of your foot. If you let the ball bounce behind you try  using your laces to propel the ball to the ground (like you are kicking it into the ground with the ball behind you). A teammate of mine used to do this as a move to get past defenders; he would slap the ball hard into the ground as it was slightly behind him and bounce it over his shoulder while running past the defender….yup, it’s true.

Being comfortable on the ball is what enables players to deal with the many and various situations that happen in games. This is a different and unique way to develop skill and kinetic awareness. Besides that, it’s fun.

Small Ball Training

The improvemnt is measureable and the benefits are real.

Game Play With the Brasilian FutebolBrasilian FutebolJuggling Excellence With the Brasilian Futebol

Small Ball Training: The Gauntlet

 The Gauntlet

A very simple and effective drill.  I don’t see it being used much. I like it because it keeps the players active and thinking while working on skills.

Divide your players into three even groups, call them  A, B & C – 6 per group or whatever you have. If one group has 1 less  player or one group has 1 more, no worries, it will get sorted out as they organize themselves.

Form 2 lines running parallel. Group A forms one line Group B forms the other. Players in line should space themselves 15 yards apart. The 2 lines should have 20 yards of distance between them.  I use cones to designate spots for players forming the lines. Ideally the players/cones should form a zig zag if you look at it from above.

x)            B1                           B2                           B3                           B4                           B5                           B6


A1                           A2                           A3                           A4                           A5                           A6

Phase 1) a) Players working at the cones have balls ready to feed the runners. Group C (the runners) starts at x. The first player (C1) runs (or shows) to A1 to receive a pass. C1 traps and passes back to A1 then shows (a short sprint) to B1, trap & pass back to B1, show to A2, trap & pass, show to B2…repeat process though the gauntlet and return to x. C2 follows C1, C3 follows C2 etc. Run the gauntlet two or three times and have Group C switch with Group A. Then Group A switches with Group B till all have run the gauntlet. Phase 1a is a two touch drill, part of the foundation and building blocks.

Phase 1) b) Same set up, players at the cones have balls, runners run the gauntlet, but this time the runners are playing 1 touch passes back to players/cones.

Phase 1)c) Same set up, players at the cones have balls, but this time they are serving the runners balls in the air using their hands. Runners will 1)c)1) trap and pass back to the server, 1)c)2) first time pass back to the server. This is a higher level exercise, great for building confidence and skill. Servers have to work hard to get the ball to the runner (there will be allot of missed passes at first so the server will be chasing). The obvious progression is thigh trap & pass, chest trap & pass. Then 1 touch using inside of the foot and moving on to headers.

Phase 2) a) Runners start with the ball (servers do not have a ball and will play passes back to the runner that played them the ball).   Runners will pass the ball to the player/cone and receive the ball back, pass to the next cone etc. The coaching points here are to work on accurate, well paced, well placed passes that are easy to handle. The runner should work on turning the ball with the first touch to set up the second touch as a pass; efficiency! The players at the cone should play a well paced ball to the runner, like a check run pass, while considering the space the runner wants to take.

Phase 2)b) Same set up, runners start with the ball and will work on a creative way to turn the ball as though pressure is on. I often walk right down the middle of the gauntlet coaching while antagonizing and forcing players to pay attention lest I just kick their ball away. Fun for the coach!

Great way to work on check runs, receiving a ball, accurate passing on the run, turning the ball and even a little bit of fitness. Love this drill

Soccer Training; a fun way to run


Great game for fitness and working on passing accuracy and technique.

1v1, both players must have a ball and a big field to play on, preferably a full soccer field. Players start side by side. The object is to hit your opponents ball with your own ball.

Player 1 (P1) rolls the ball into play, approximately 15 to 20 yards away. Player 2 (P2) tries to hit player 1’s ball using proper passing skills.* Once P2’s ball passes or as ball two passes ball 1, P1 can then attempt to hit P2′s ball. Repeat. A hit of the other players ball scores a point. Play games to 10.

It is a great running and passing game as players can gain an advantage by running to their ball so they are in position to attempt the to hit the other players ball as it passes by (if it misses) and or before it gets too far away.

Players work on hitting a moving target, gauging the path of the moving ball and trying to lead it into space just like leading a runner into open space. Passers must use proper pace to hit target and must make accurate passes which requires good technique.

*Proper passing skills include in inside of the foot pass, instep drive, outside of the foot pass.

Advanced Marbles: Players can only score by hitting a moving ball. Requires more running and more skillful passing. If a players ball comes to a stop it is proper to give a 10 to 15 yd push to give the opposing player a chance to score.

Small Ball Training

Mad Soccer Skills

The Brasilian Futebol - Soccer Training ToolMad Soccer SkillsSoccer Training Ball SizeBrasilian FutebolBrazilians w Futebols

Skills Development; Soccer – small ball training

Juggling Sessions. Juggling to develop touch.

Three players are required.

Two players set themselves 20 to 30 yards apart with the third players positioned between them.

The ball starts with one of the outside players (A) and is played into the middle player (X) who plays it back to (A). (A) plays the ball to the other outside player (B) who plays it to (X). (X) plays it back to (B) and (B) plays the ball to (A). A to X to A – to B to X – to B to A etc etc.

This is a great drill to work on short passes and long passes, short-short-long, to work on first touch and to work on one touch passing. Players can start with two-touch, a trap and a pass. The player in the middle will always be playing short balls and trying to set up the outside players with easily playable passes; correct side of the body, into space, well paced etc.  The outside players will play both short and long balls, short to the player in the middle and long to the other outside player. For long passes players can work on driven balls, chips (with perfect backspin) and bending balls. The player in the middle will work hard so should switched out often.

Turn this into a semi juggling exercise where the players attempt to play the ball in the air and trap/receive the ball. Use one to three touches to control the ball and execute a good pass. Allow a bounce or two to create success.  It takes time to acquire the skill to execute this without the ball touching the ground, but eventually it can be done. To start, play balls off the bounce or bounces and work on receiving (trapping) the ball with a good first touch and making an accurate well paced pass back to the target (either X or A/B). Start with smaller distances and gradually increase and/or decrease into tight spaces

Work on fundamentals and proper technique using the inside of the foot to make well weighted passes to the target. Passes should have a reasonable trajectory, meaning don’t just kick the ball in the air and hope it gets there.

Eventually players will be able to execute this drill using just 1 touch, two touches when necessary and should be able to play most balls out of the air allowing for a bounce or two now and then.

Then change it up. A plays to X, X turns the ball (with 1 to 3 touches) and plays to B. B plays to X, X turns the ball and plays to A.

Excellent for touch; developing passing and receiving skills and well as communication amongst players. Really focuses on the first touch as players must control the ball in their space and use the first touch to set up the second touch which could be/should be a pass.

If there are 4 players build a triangle around the player in the middle. A to X to A to B to X to B to C to X to C to A etc…or A to X to B to X to C to X to A etc.

Individual Training

Becoming a proficient juggler with a soccer ball can help improve soccer performance. Juggling with a soccer ball using feet, thighs and all parts legal in the game of soccer is a fun way to practice and hone skills through repetition. Juggling consistently and with the intent to master the ball will improve focus, concentration, balance, agility and ultimately eye/foot coordination and touch.

Using a practice ball like the brasilian futebol a tennis ball helps accelerate thhe improvement and will refine all the qualities mentioned above developing a higher level of skill.

Check out the juggling program at

It has some good ideas for beginners as well as top level players.

The Brasilian Futebol - Soccer Training ToolJuggling Excellence With the Brasilian FutebolJuggl;ing Practice With the Brasilian Futebol

Team training and skill development

Advanced Team Warm-up

Players should be

Build a grid with cones that has 9 squares or boxes (3 boxes x 3 boxes). Each square should be 5 yds x 5 yds or up to 8 yds x 8 yds.
          ^          ^          ^          ^
          ^          ^          ^          ^
          ^          ^          ^          ^
          ^          ^          ^          ^
As a warm-up give each player a brasilian futebol and ask them to juggle in the grid.
Restrict them to 2 touches and one bounce in each square. Or 3 touches or 4 or no bounces, whatever fits your team’s skill level. Remember we are trying to make this success oriented while testing the envelope.
Once they find the rhythm include the added restriction that they cannot go back to the square they just came from. Then see if they can move through all nine squares in an allotted time. What ever it takes to accomplish movement with the ball.
The goal is to move with the ball, and/or make the ball do what it is they want or need the ball to do. At the same time players will need to avoid other players in the box while moving from grid to grid, keeping the ball alive  hopefully while juggling under control.


This is a very difficult exercise and may take several sessions to accomplish some sense of success.
Ask for some artistry and creativity.
Execute a “sombrero” to change directions. A sombrero can be flipping, kicking or knocking a ball over your own head to reverse direction and go the other way, or it can be touching it over another players head, usually a defender, as they run by or at you, or as you run by them.
Maybe they could skip a square, chase the ball down, control it and move on.

They can also work in pairs. One futebol per pair. 2 touches, one bounce per square (or whatever works). Cannot receive ball in the same grid twice.
Work in groups of three.

We like using the brasilian futebol in warm-ups and for skills because it adds another element of challenge and accelerates the skills development process.\

Colors of Brasilian Futebol

Futebol Warm-up.

This is a warm-up unique to Brasilian futebol Training.  An exercise requiring players to execute touches or moves based on the color of the ball they receive. Brasilian Training balls come in various colors which makes this drill possible.

Ideally there should be at least 1 futebol for every 2 players.

Build a grid or use the center circle. Place half the players on the outside of the grid and half will work in the middle.

Players on the outside serve the ball to players in the middle.

Players in the middle work on showing to the servers on the outside to receive a ball and pass it back, then turn and find another server in a different part of the grid and repeat.  Run 2 minutes and switch – servers become workers and visa versa.

Assign a task to each color. For instance, a Red Futebol requires players to play a one touch pass back to the server, a Blue Futebol requires two touch before passing the futebol back to the server, a player receiving a Yellow Futebol  must execute a move (a Cruyff or a step-over or whatever move they are working on) before returning a ball, Blue Futebol  requires the player to turn the ball. Make it up or introduce concepts you have been working on in practice.

Servers can either hold the ball in their hands to serve or play the ball from the ground (feet only). Holding the ball will allow service in the air so runners can work on various traps (thigh, chest etc) or playing one touch balls out of the air back to the server. Service must match up with color tasks/requirements. I like the idea of a chest or thigh trap that turns into a move as the ball is settled…but it’s your team and your practice.

The second concept is to have players roam free in a grid and roll out various colored futebols, again maybe 1 futebol  for every two players, and have them work free form checking to players with balls and executing the required tasks assigned to the various colored balls.

This is a great drill for working on decision making. Players have to focus and think about what they have to do upon receiving the ball. A nice little warm –up.