More girls than ever before are choosing to play soccer! Spurred on by the brilliant role models of the English and US women’s national teams, more and more girls are trying out soccer and enjoying it!
Follow our easy guide to soccer drills for girls below, and your soccer skills will improve in no time:
Please note that these drills can be used at any age, but they are for beginners of the sport.
As with any sport, remember to warm up before participating in any drills below.
To warm up:
- Jog gently on the spot for 1 minute, rest, and recover.
- Jumping jacks for 1 minute, rest, and recover.
- Burpees for 1 minute, rest, and recover.
- Circle your arms forwards, and circle your arms backward for 30 seconds each way.
- Run with high knees for 30 secs changing to run kicking your bottom for 30 seconds.
Once the girls are warm, let’s begin:
1. Passing the ball
Passing the ball to another player is a key skill in soccer, and to develop accuracy, you will need lots of practice.
Ask the girls to get into pairs and give each pair a football.
Each pair should find a space opposite one another and count how many times they can kick the ball back and forth to one another without it going off track.
Start the count from the beginning again if the ball goes wide or short.
- Try to aim the ball accurately by tapping it with the side of your foot.
- Practice aiming the ball at your partner’s feet.
- Try to increase the speed of your kicks.
- Watch the ball and try to stop it as it moves toward you.
2. Moving pass
When the girls can confidently tap the ball back and forth to one another from a static position, it’s time to move on to the moving pass drill.
Start walking and gently jog around in a space, passing the ball back and forth as above.
- Remind the girls of the points above.
- Try to look ahead to see where your partner will be and kick to that point.
- Stop the ball firmly with your foot before you kick it back to your partner.
3. Dribbling the ball
Dribbling the ball is how you move across the field in soccer, avoiding the other team taking possession of the ball. You will need a large space with clear boundaries to practice this drill.
Start this as a solo drill and give each girl a football. Ask her to dribble the ball around the space, keeping control of the ball.
- Move slowly until you get a good feel for controlling the ball with both feet.
- Use small taps with your favored foot and walk or jog after the ball, keeping it in your sight at all times.
- If the ball does run out of the boundary, run after it to retrieve it and start again.
- Try to be aware of other girls around you and weave your way in and out of them.
- Keep practicing until you can confidently control and move the ball in space.
4. Dribble the ball in a straight line
Once you have practiced the drill above, you can move on to a more controlled exercise.
Use a running track if you have one, or mark straight lines with cones or markers.
Use both feet for this drill to carefully control the ball from one end of the line to the other.
Remind the girls to work slowly at first. We are looking for accuracy, not speed, in this drill.
5. Dribble the ball around obstacles
Put out 10 cones or markers in a straight line.
Demonstrate how to tap the ball with the side of your foot, weaving in and out of each cone until you get to the end of the line.
- Use small kicks or taps at first.
- Try taping the ball with your foot in the direction you want it to go.
- Use your arms to help you balance as you turn corners.
- Keep your eye on the ball at all times.
- It’s a tricky drill, so if you lose the ball, there is no need to worry – start again.
6. Shooting drill
This is a drill to practice a direct forward kick into the goal. There is no need for a goalkeeper in the drill at this stage. You are looking for accuracy of aim into the goal.
- Take a good look at where you want to aim the ball.
- Point with your outstretched arm and look along your arm to where you want the ball to go.
- Swing back the opposite arm to your kicking leg.
- Kick forward as hard as possible and try to get the ball into the goal.
- When the girls can shoot accurately into the goal, extend the difficulty by extending the distance away from the goal.
7. Shoot from the side drill
Repeat the shooting drill, as above, but this time, place the ball to the side of the goal to make it more difficult. Repeat the same teaching points and keep practicing.
8. Running drill
Running at speed is essential in soccer, as the fastest players almost always make the most impact. For this drill, split the girls into teams and explain that you are working on improving running speeds.
To start with, they run on the spot as fast as they can. Use a stopwatch, give recovery time and repeat. As they run against the clock, give the following tips:
- Lift your knees as high as you can – Aim to touch your chin with your knees.
- Try to keep your head up and your chest and shoulders back.
- Try kicking back so that your feet almost kick your bottom.
- Pump your arms at your sides and notice how powerful you feel.
Next, remind the girls of the teaching points they learned in the static running drill above and start to run around in space.
- Short-speed runs can be timed and worked on to beat your record.
- Zig-zag runs or dodging around cones, or markers can improve reactions.
- Finally, ask everyone to run around the space, dodging each other. Every player starts with ten points. Penalty points are deducted for anyone who bumps into another player.
9. Relay race drill
Relay races are brilliant for encouraging good teamwork and motivating girls to run as fast as possible. Split the girls into teams of four, two on one side of a track and two on the other. Blow the whistle, and the two teams should run against each other. Remind them of all the teaching points above.
10. Stop the ball drill
It is essential to practice this soccer drill, as controlling the ball on the field is a key skill.
Split the girls into pairs. One person should pass the ball to the other.
The receiving player should stop the ball firmly with their foot and hold it still.
Pass it back and repeat.
- Don’t take your eye off the ball as it rolls toward you.
- Move your body quickly to get in a good position to stop the ball.
- Tap the ball firmly with your foot (left or right foot.)
- Press down on it to hold it still.
- Keep practicing and increase the distance between pairs to provide more challenges.
11. Defending drill
Divide the girls into two groups.
One group should perform the shooting drill as above. The other group is defending the goal and trying to deflect the ball. Each shooter should line up and take their shot.
The defender group also lines up adjacent to the shooters.
As the shooter takes her shot, a defender should try to run in and kick the ball out of the way of the goal.
- Only one shooter and one defender at a time.
- Defenders must move quickly and run across the goal to intercept the ball and kick it away.
- Shooters need to kick accurately and with speed to score.
- No need for a goalkeeper at this stage.
12. Attacking drill
This drill is about intercepting the ball – another key skill on the field. This is very similar if you have played piggy in the middle. Split the girls into teams of three. Two girls should pass the ball back and forth at speed, stopping the ball with their foot when they receive it and then kicking it back to their partner.
The third player stands in the middle and should try to intercept the ball to stop it from getting to the other side.
- Kick the ball quickly, and at different angles so the attacking player has less chance to intercept.
- The intercepting player needs to keep their eye on the ball and move at speed to intercept it.
- The receiving player must be prepared to move to either side to stop the ball.
- Whichever played kicked the ball, if it is intercepted, they become the attacker.
13. Throwing drill
This is a great drill for goalkeepers, but all players need to be able to throw the ball accurately when the throw-ins happen so everyone can participate.
Work in teams of 4 girls. Each girl should stand in a corner to make a square.
Give 2 of the girls a football. When you blow the whistle – they have to throw the football to someone else in the square as quickly as possible, pretending it is a hot potato.
- Use two hands to catch and throw.
- Hold your two hands out with your fingers spread wide around the ball.
- Place the ball behind your head and throw it toward the next player.
- Use your feet to swivel and turn your body toward your throw.
14. Goalkeeper drill
Marking the goal needs agility, speed, accuracy, and confidence. Repeat the shooting drill above, but this time, place a girl in the goal to save the ball. Keep the line of girls shooting at the goal, add the defenders, and encourage the goalkeeper to save as many soccer balls as possible.
- Watch each shooter’s feet to predict which way the ball will go.
- Stay light on your feet and move from side to side, ready for the ball to come from any direction.
- Keep your eye on the ball at all times.
- Kick the ball away
- Catch the ball and pull it tightly into your body, so it doesn’t escape.
- Jump as high as you can to intercept the higher shots at goal.
- Land safely on bent knees.
If you enjoyed those and want more, there are some further ideas on the website:
After a good workout, remember that it’s just as important to wind down as it is to warm up
Try the wind below to stretch your muscles and get your heart rate safely back to normal.
Find a space.
- Walk or skip briskly for 1 min.
- Stop in space and stretch:
- Reach up as high as possible, then touch your toes a few times.
- Stand with your legs apart and reach both hands to one foot, then the other.
- Swing your arms from side to side to stretch out your waist and sides.
- Reach one arm over your head and bend into the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
- Balance on one leg and pull the other foot to your bottom. Use your free arm to help you balance. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Forward lunge on both sides, side lunge on both sides.
- Walk around for another minute.
- Stop and take a deep breath as you reach up to the sky. Release all your air as you bring your arms down.
Remember, the key to any learning is to make it fun.