Improving your agility and speed will help you become a better soccer player. Agility and speed can be improved with soccer footwork drills. I often times think to myself, of how much better I would have been at soccer had I learned the importance of agility and footwork drills at a young age, In fact, it wasn’t until about high school age that I really started to focus on these characteristics.
The Importance of Footwork Drills for Soccer
It goes without saying but, footwork drills play a huge role in soccer development of players. Footwork drills will help improve agility, touch, technique, speed, and confidence. The best players in the world spend countless hours working on footwork soccer drills. Footwork drills are easy to practice and can be done alone. They should be incorporated into any soccer training regiment to help improve your all around game.
The Inside – Outside Drill
This is a very easy drill to learn and implement. As the name implies, you will be shifting through a line of cones or flags. As you run through the line, you will alternate and go inside then outside of each flag.
The idea is to go as fast as you can, making quick cuts through the flags or cones without hitting them. Start by running this drill without using a ball. It is important to learn the dynamics of the drill and once that has been learned, you can increase the difficulty by running the drill with a soccer ball.
The “Inside-Outside” drill works on your agility and when you use a ball, it forces you to work on your ball control. You want to keep the ball close as you go through the cones/flags. Think of the flags/cones as defenders, you want to zig-zag through them while maintaining control of the soccer ball.
Quick-Feet Ladder Drill
This next drill also works on your agility and speed. It also has the added benefit of working out your calf muscles because you want to go through the ladder obstacle as quickly as possible.
- Start on one end of the ladder obstacle about 10-15 feet behind it.
- Sprint head-on to the ladder obstacle and as you approach it, make sure to get one foot in followed by the other.
- Repeat for the rest of the obstacle.
- When the player reaches the end, have them do a full sprint back to the line.
By the end of the drill, the players will want a water break. Split the team into two and have them race. Competition forces you to try harder resulting in a better workout.
This drill can be made to workout different parts of the body by changing up how they go through the ladder. Make them bunny hop through the ladder, or even have them go through it doing the “high knees” technique.
Obstacle Course Combination with Finishing Drill
Combine both of the previous drills into one large obstacle course. You make it more interesting by adding a “finishing” aspect at the end of the obstacle.
- Have the players complete the “inside-outside” drill.
- Complete the “ladder obstacle” drill.
- Next the player will sprint 10 yards towards a soccer ball (ball can be still or in motion by having someone pass the ball into the runners path)
- The runner would then shoot the ball and try to score on the goalie or an open net.
Adding a finishing aspect to the end of a drill is a great way to keep players motivated during conditioning drills. Also, it helps mirror fatigue they may experience during a game. This is a great way to mentally prepare for these game-like scenarios.
There isn’t much to it when it comes to simple soccer footwork drills anyone can learn. Agility, speed and footwork go together and play an important role in developing fundamental skills. Be sure to add finishing drills or competition aspects to these footwork drills in order to increase motivation. Players who stay motivated during soccer workouts grasp more of what you are trying to teach and it improves their performance.
The accessories mentioned above for the footwork drills can be substituted with items from home. However, if you are missing any of them, I have taken the liberty of finding some cheap options from Amazon.
**Full disclosure – My Soccer Clinic does make a small commission on Amazon items promoted in our articles.