Soccer drill to advance use of space

Controlling the ball quickly, away from defenders and into space, will give players more time to assess their options and execute their next move, whether that is a shot, pass or dribble. Use the following soccer drill to coach these skills.

  • It improves the ability to keep possession.

  • Creates more possession time.
  • Increases the team's speed of play.

In this drill, players need to think about:

  • Where their opponents and team mates are.

  • Their body position – half-turned in the direction they want to control the ball.
  • Ball travels across body to the back foot.
  • Contact the ball’s horizontal mid-line or above.
  • Cushion the ball to play it again without having to chase or reach for it.

    image showing how to receive the ball, control it and pass it

Tips for setting up the drill

  • You need a ball and four players in a 10 x 10 yard area.

  • Two players stand one behind the other on one side of the square, with the other two players lined-up opposite.
  • The first player passes the ball across the square, where the player receiving controls it – using the inside, or arch, of the foot – and passes it back, ideally with their second touch.
  • Once a player from either side has played a pass, they turn behind the second player in line, who repeats the soccer drill.
  • Keep the ball moving.
  • Use the right foot to control to the right, and the left to control to the left.
  • Stress the importance of good passing skills in this soccer drill.