Kids got the dribbling basics down?
Teach more advanced ball control...

Coaching advanced ball control helps the players to use dribbling basics, turns like the Cruyff turn, Cuts (inside and outside), step-overs, and controlling the soccer ball out of the air to help young players train on their edge.

What does this mean? The players are now good with the soccer ball at their feet so in order to make further improvements they have to train faster - this will lead to mistakes and challenge the young players to now further improve. This is called training on your edge!

Advanced dribbling - turning practice

Getting the players warmed up...

How do coaches get players going when soccer practice begins?

Some simple and easy ways to get players going is to have the players perform some juggling and practice some of their turns before we get into the exercises.

The coach gets the kids working on some ball control like volleys, thigh and chest control.

The coach could have the kids playing in free space before going to cones in limited space. This gives the kids a chance to get used to the turns without restrictions while they are warming up. Once the players are warmed up and ready to go the coach moves to the cones.

Dribbling and turning soccer practice

This is a great game for soccer practice or adding it to your soccer practice plans...

Equipment: cones and soccer balls.

Game: The coach makes a circle with 8 cones, plus an additional cone in the center of the circle.

  • The coach has a player stand on an outside cone with a ball.
  • The players dribble into the center cone with quick touches with the laces or inside of the foot.

  • They only want to go 3/4 of the way because they will run into the other players.
  • They practice a nice sharp turns like a pull back, Cruyff turn or an inside or outside foot cut and then dribble back to the starting cone.
  • Each player will work on each turn for a min and rest for 1 min.


  • The players dribble in to the middle using foundation touches with a turn near the middle cone.
  • The players dribble around the outside cone when they are dribbling back.
  • The coach can have the players work in pairs so the second player receives a pass when the turn has been completed.
  • Leave one cone on the outside open - no players standing there - so every time the players dribble in when they dribble out they go one cone to the right or left until they get back to their original cone.

This exercise will help the players get much sharper as well as lots of repetition.

Advanced ball control Circle exercises

Equipment: Cones and Soccer balls

Game: The coach makes a circle with 8 cones. Smaller circles will promote more advanced ball control and bigger circles will promote more fitness with less skill.

The coach has half the group of players inside the circle and half the group on the outside of the circle.

  • The players on the outside of the circle will serve the soccer balls, while the players on the inside of the circle will run from player to player on the outside performing whatever skill the coach wants the players to work on.
  • The players should look to accelerate from server to server, slowing down as they receive the soccer ball.

Skills that coaches can employ using the circle exercises...

  • Passing and receiving
  • Controlling the soccer ball (sole, laces, inside, thigh, chest)
  • Headers.

Variations: The coach will have the players in the middle of the circle with the soccer balls. The players will now dribble and pass the soccer ball to the outside players getting a return pass and using a turn to find the next open player.

Skills that coaches can employ from the inside of the circle.

  • Passing and receiving
  • Turns
  • Combination play (Give and go, over lap, take over).

The coach can match up players in the middle (in pairs), so they are put under pressure from the defender. The defenders will only apply light pressure (not taking the soccer ball). This allows the attacking player to get used to taking a touch with a defender in the area.

Coaching point: The coach might notice that players do everything at the same speed or too fast. This will allow the coach to teach players how to accelerate to the ball, slow down, coming in under control as they get closer and receive the soccer ball.

When players can race in and slow down and control the soccer ball they are achieving a more advanced level of ball control.

Advanced ball control turns and passing

Equipment: Cones and soccer balls

Game: The coach makes a circle with 8 cones on the outside and a cone in the center of the circle.

The players start on the outside of the circle with one soccer ball.
The player with the soccer ball dribbles into the circle and uses a turn...

  • Pull back -sole of the foot
  • Cut - inside/outside
  • Step over
  • Cruyff turn
  • L - move

The players make a sharp turn. Once the player has turned, they pass the soccer ball to a player on the outside of the circle. The player on the outside repeats the action.

Coaching points:

  • The players should make good, sharp turns without the soccer ball getting caught up between their feet. Once the player has turned they should make an accurate pass to an outside player.

  • The players receiving the soccer ball should be on their toes, focused on making a good first touch when they enter the circle.

  • Once the players are warmed up the coach adds a second ball to the game and speed up the play. The coach can add more balls to the game to challenge the players as he or she sees fit.

Players are making lots of turns and having to get their heads up to make a good decision when finding a pass. Players achieve a level of advanced ball control when they can turn and find a pass under pressure.

The coach can throw advanced ball control concepts at the players over several practices while the kids are still learning.

The players will then break off for small sided games. The players have just gotten a lot of touches on the ball and practiced many little turns and passes. The coach should encourage the turns and ball control in the small sided games.

Return to Coaching Kids Soccer from Advanced ball control

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Coaches, do you want to make soccer fun and motivate your players? Soccer patches are a great motivational tool that can be used for goals, assists, good defending or skills competitions. The kids love patches!!