Tennis drill to boost soccer skills

A soccer tennis drill is an excellent way of developing juggling skills and first-touch for your young players - and the big bonus is that it’s great fun to play as well.

First touch control of soccer balls

We all know how important it is to be able to quickly control bouncing balls during a game. A soccer tennis drill is the best way to get your players to practise quality touches with a ball. Without even trying, they will learn to receive chest balls, thigh controls, instep volleys and head touches. Soon they will be sliding sideways to get in front of the pass instead of flicking a loose leg at it.

Body parts become tennis rackets

In this soccer drill, tell your players it is the same as tennis but their heads, feet, thighs and chests are the rackets. You can keep score, as in tennis games with “love-15-30-deuce” etc... or just play up to any number. Your younger players will struggle with control skills at first, but if you give players a chance to rescue a point with toe lifts or a skill to flick the ball up it helps keep things going. Make up your own version of this soccer drill. The key soccer coaching tip to remember is keeping points going with lots of quality touches.

Set up for a soccer tennis drill

  1. Create a net out of cones, or use a couple of five-a-side goals side-by-side Then cone off a small sized area to fit the number of players and the net.

  2. Divide up teams. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or even 4v4 on a large court. You can play odd numbers like 2v3, etc.

  3. One player serves from deep in their court across the net to the other team. Tell your players not to try to win the point on the serve, but just get the point started. Bounce the ball and then half-volley it across for the serve. Your player can also throw the ball in the air and head it over to get the drill started.

  4. The opposing player controls the serve. Tell your players to get their bodies in front of the ball and use their thighs, chest or head to make contact. Then you start counting bounces on the ground. Young teams can take 3 or 4 bounces but the older ones are allowed only 1 or 2. Coaches are only allowed one!

  5. Keeping the ball in the air by juggling is encouraged. It doesn’t count against the player and they can manoeuvre the ball close to the net for a better shot.

  6. Players can pass to each other in the drill. Tell them to chip a deep shot up to their team mate who then can try to put it away. This soccer drill can be lots of fun while your players use their skills with keepy-uppys, soft touches, volleys and half-volleys.

using tennis in a drill to help ball control

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