Youth Soccer Ball Control Drills: Mastering Dribbling and Footwork



Youth Soccer Ball Control Drills: Mastering Dribbling and Footwork

In youth soccer, mastering ball control is fundamental for young players to develop their skills. Good ball control enables players to maintain possession, make accurate passes, and create scoring opportunities. This blog explores a variety of drills and exercises designed to improve ball-handling skills in young soccer players, helping them become more confident and effective on the field.

Basic Youth Soccer Ball Control Drills

Youth soccer ball control training begins with mastering the basics. Basic ball control drills focus on dribbling and close control, which are essential skills for young soccer players. These drills help build confidence with the ball and improve agility. They also help players learn how the ball reacts to different touches and improve their ability to control it in tight spaces.

Basic Juggling Drill

Juggling involves keeping the ball in the air using different parts of your body, primarily your feet. Start by juggling the ball with your dominant foot and then switch to your non-dominant foot. This drill helps in developing a good touch and control over the ball.

Single-Foot Juggling Drill

Juggle the ball using only one foot, switching between left and right feet. This exercise helps improve balance and control with each foot individually.

Thigh Juggling Drill

Juggle the ball using alternating thighs. This drill improves control and balance while using different parts of your body.

Head Juggling Drill

Juggle the ball using only your head. This drill improves coordination and helps players gain confidence in using their heads to control the ball.

Kick and Catch Drill

Kick the ball up in the air using one foot and then catch it with your hands. Alternate feet and repeat. This kick and catch drill improves coordination and balance.

Advanced Ball Control Drills

Advanced ball control drills focus on improving first touch and close control. These drills prepare players to maintain possession under pressure and execute precise passes and shots.

Youth Soccer Ball Mastery Drills

Ball mastery drills involve more complex movements, combining agility and ball control. These drills help players manipulate the ball with speed and precision, improving their overall ball-handling skills.

Pass and Receive Drill

Pair up with a teammate and practice passing and receiving the ball. Focus on controlling the ball quickly and accurately, preparing it for your next move. This drill improves passing accuracy and first touch.

Turning Under Pressure Drill

Set up cones around you in a small circle. Receive passes from a teammate and quickly turn to pass the ball back. This drill improves close control and the ability to turn under pressure.

Cone Slalom Drill

Set up cones in a slalom pattern and dribble the ball through them using both feet. This drill improves dribbling, agility, and the ability to change direction quickly.

Youth Soccer Precision Dribbling Drills

Precision dribbling drills challenge players to navigate through obstacles with the ball. Setting up cones in various patterns and practicing dribbling through them helps improve control and decision-making. 

Speed Dribbling Drill

Set up cones in a straight line and dribble the ball through them as quickly as possible. This drill improves dribbling speed and control under pressure.

Dribbling Through Cones Drill

Set up cones in a straight line and dribble the ball through them. Use both feet equally and focus on quick changes of direction. This drill helps improve dribbling skills and agility.

Inside-Outside Dribbling Drill

Dribble the ball with the inside and outside of your feet alternately. This exercise helps players learn to control the ball with different parts of their feet and improves their ability to change direction quickly.

Figure 8 Dribbling Drill

Set up two cones in the shape of a figure 8 and dribble the ball around them using both feet. This drill improves dribbling skills and helps players become comfortable dribbling in tight spaces.

Cone Weave Dribbling Drill

Set up cones in a zigzag pattern and dribble the ball through them. Use both feet and maintain close control of the ball throughout the drill. This exercise improves dribbling, agility, and coordination.

Obstacle Course Dribbling Drill

Create an obstacle course with cones and other equipment and dribble through it using both feet. This drill improves dribbling accuracy, agility, and the ability to dribble in tight spaces.

1v1 Dribbling Drill

Set up a small field and pair up players to compete 1v1. Encourage players to use their dribbling skills to beat defenders and score goals. This drill improves dribbling under pressure and decision-making.

Youth Soccer Ball Control Techniques

Technical Ball Control Training focuses on improving players’ ability to handle the ball with precision and confidence. This training enhances dribbling, passing, and receiving skills, allowing players to maintain better control during games. Consistent practice leads to improved performance on the field. Learning soccer goalkeeping techniques such as shielding the ball and maintaining possession are crucial for young soccer players. Shielding drills teach players how to use their bodies to protect the ball from defenders and create space to pass or shoot. 

Youth Soccer Footwork and Control Drills

Footwork drills enhance agility and help players improve their ability to turn and change direction with the ball. These drills simulate game situations, preparing players to react quickly on the field.

Change of Direction Drill

Set up cones in a T-shape and dribble the ball through them, changing direction at each cone. This drill improves agility, balance, and the ability to change direction quickly.

Ladder Drills

Use an agility ladder to practice quick foot movements. This drill improves footwork, coordination, and the ability to change pace.

Shielding the Ball Drill

Pair up players and practice shielding the ball from each other. Use your body to protect the ball and maintain possession. This drill improves strength, balance, and the ability to shield the ball under pressure.

Maintaining Possession Drill

Set up a small area and have players pass the ball around while defenders try to win it back. Emphasize accurate passing and quick decision-making. This drill improves ball control, passing accuracy, and decision-making.

Ball Control Exercises for Youth Soccer Players

Comprehensive exercises integrate ball control into game-like situations. Players should practice passing, receiving, and dribbling under pressure, improving their ability to perform these skills during matches.

Small-Sided Games

Organize small-sided games with specific rules to encourage players to use their ball control skills effectively. This exercise improves decision-making, teamwork, and the ability to apply ball control in game situations.

Match Simulations

Set up scenarios that mimic real game situations and have players apply their ball control skills to solve them. This drill improves game awareness, decision-making, and the ability to perform under pressure.


Mastering ball control is a journey that requires consistent practice and dedication. By incorporating these drills into their training sessions, youth soccer players can improve their ball-handling skills and become more confident on the field. Encourage players to practice with both feet and to challenge themselves with more difficult drills as they progress. With time and effort, players will see significant improvements in their ability to control the ball, setting them up for success in their soccer careers.


How can I keep control of the ball in soccer?

To keep control of the ball in soccer, use both feet to dribble, keep the ball close, and practice shielding the ball from defenders with your body.

How can I improve my 10-year-old's soccer skills?

You can improve your 10-year-old’s soccer skills by having them practice basic drills like dribbling through cones, juggling the ball, and passing with a partner regularly.

What is an under-11 dribbling drill?

An under-11 dribbling drill is a simple practice where young players weave the ball through cones. This helps them improve their dribbling skills and agility.

How do you control a bouncing soccer ball?

To control a bouncing soccer ball, gently touch it with the inside of your foot to bring it down, or use your thighs or chest to cushion the ball and make it easier to control.

What is a ball drop drill?

A ball drop drill is a simple exercise where a player drops the ball and kicks it back up, catching it again. This helps improve coordination and ball control.

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