Here at Soccer Training Solutions, we’ve already given you some helpful tips for how you can improve your soccer skills in your backyard.
But today we’ll focus on dribbling, a crucial skill for anyone trying to play at a high level, and show you how you can improve your skills in your backyard with only one cone.
(And if you don’t have a cone handy, you can substitute any small object like a shoe or soccer ball. Ditto for any nearby grassy area if you don’t have a backyard or if it isn’t set up for soccer practice.)
The following two drills will help you work on your change of pace and change of direction, which are the only two elements you need to beat a defender on the dribble.
Pair these two elements together, and you will be extremely difficult to stop on the dribble.
The first drill below works on change of pace, and the second drill works on both a change of direction and a change of pace.
Drill 1: Change of Pace Dribbling
Set a cone on the ground and start about 15 yards away with a soccer ball at your feet. Make sure there is about 15 yards of open space past the cone too for you to dribble into.
To begin the drill, dribble at a medium pace toward the cone. When you pass the cone, sprint dribble for another 15 yards after the cone.
Try to run as fast as you can after the change of pace while still keeping the ball under your control. The change of pace is crucial. At the end, use the sole of your foot to stop the ball. (And make sure you switch up which foot you use.)
Once completed, turn around and do the exercise again. Try to do it 10 times in a row, which will also help you get fitter.
Drill 2: 1 v Cone
For this next drill, use the same basic setup at the previous drill, but this time you will dribble at your cone which acts as a defender for you to beat.
In order to beat your “defender,” you will perform a move, which can be anything from a step over to a 360 spin.
Practice each move 10 times slowly and then 10 times at a faster pace. You should complete your move about a yard away from the cone. Here are some moves that you’ll want to try.
Rake – Use the sole (bottom) of one foot to pull the ball across your body and slightly backwards to the inside of your other foot. In a game situation the pull would take the ball just out of reach of a defender, and pushing the ball with your other foot would allow you to accelerate past.
Step Over – Move one foot around the front of the ball and slightly over the top so your heel passes across the top third of the ball. At the same time drop your shoulder to make it look like you are going to take off in that direction. Then you use the outside of your opposite foot to accelerate the other way.
Inside Out – Use the inside of one foot to touch the ball slightly inside as if you were going to knock it to your other foot or continue dribbling inside. Then use the outside of the same foot to move the ball back to your original direction and past your defender.
These are just a few of the drills that you’ll want to try for the 1 v Cone drill. For more training ideas, as well as complete training plans, take a look at our Individual Soccer Training System.