5 Training Drills You Can do at Home
The modern game has evolved so much in recent years that players are trying all kinds of skills and tricks to help them get that all-important edge over their opponents. Whether you’re a six-year old playing in the school playground or a 25-year old winger playing for your club, you’re always trying new ways to beat your opponent and score the perfect goal that makes the crowd (no matter how small) go wild!

I’m sure you all remember those days in the playground dribbling a tennis ball past three of your friends and slamming it against the fence that drove your teachers insane, (but what a goal it was); or those endless summer days in the park arguing about whether the ball had gone in or over the invisible crossbar, and that love of the game starts at an early age. This means that it’s vital to get the basic skills becoming almost automatic as soon as possible, especially if we’re to cling onto that dream of being the next Ronaldo or Messi, (Gascoigne or Shearer for those a little older but clinging onto the dream!)

Unfortunately many kids don’t get the opportunity to practice their skills at home because they either don’t have someone to help them, the equipment to do it, or the space to do it and this does affect their development as players. Some of the very best are coached on an almost daily basis at a young age and that doesn’t just set them apart from others in their age group, but helps them to stay interested and involved in football.

A lot of training drills done at club or school level can be taken home, and many of them require very little space. In fact, the less space you can perform the skill in, the more likely it is to be effective when trying to beat an opponent or play yourself out of a difficult area of the pitch. To help you work on your skills – or help your child – here are five relatively simple drills you can do at home:

Cruyff Turns
All you need is a cone and a ball and a few yards of space for this one. Dribble the ball from any angle towards the cone and using the inside of your foot turn back away as if turning away from a tackle. This trick was named after the Dutch legend Johann Cruyff, someone who used this trick to great effect.

Ronaldo Step-Overs
When Cristiano Ronaldo first joined Manchester United, he would run down the wing and perform several step overs in an attempt to bamboozle opposition defenders. He would often do so many that you could almost see cartoon birds flying around the heads of the defenders! To try this yourself, again use a cone as a defender and practice stepping over the ball, taking the outside of your foot right across from the inside of the ball as if you’re going one way, and then take it in the opposite direction using the outside of the other foot.

Bouncing Ball Control
Controlling the ball is one of the most important skills in the game as it makes the difference between keeping possession and going on the attack and maybe scoring a goal, and losing the ball and conceding. At a young age you often find the ball gets hit a long way in an attempt to clear from your own goal and taking a bouncing ball under control becomes key. To practice doing this, throw the ball up in the air and practice bringing it down under control without letting it bounce. Use a marked area as your own piece of space to feel some form of pressure.

Obviously, the game is all about scoring goals – if you don’t, you’re not going to win! All you need is a goal (check out our range of Samba goals for the back garden) and some form of marking out a specific area to target. Everyone rightly says when shooting at goal to aim for the corners, away from the grasp of the goalkeeper. If you can work on slotting the ball in the four corners, then you’ll become an expert finisher in no time. Be strict with yourself and make the target as small as possible and gradually move away from the goal to challenge yourself – it’ll all pay off when you drill a beauty in the bottom corner in your next game!

Heading is something a lot of players struggle to control, but by marking yourself a target area, throwing the ball up and heading into that area – either landing or bouncing it there, or just in between the designated space – you’ll soon find that your ability to pass, clear and shoot with your head improves.