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Soccer drills with cones - how to train with cones

Updated on Mar 11, 2024
8 mins read
Soccer drills with cones - how to train with cones
Soccer drills with cones - how to train with cones

It’s no secret that practice is the only way to becoming a top-tier soccer player. Luckily, you don’t need expensive equipment to train for soccer. The humble cone, for instance, is a relatively inexpensive addition to your training equipment. Yet soccer drills with cones offer endless ways of working on players’ speed and agility- 2 of the most critical fitness components for a player.

Why Cones are Important in Soccer Practice Sessions

The game of soccer is full of decisions. Players constantly make decisions based on their position in the pitch and whatever is happening behind, in front, and their peripheral vision. Recognition- the ability to continually scan the field- helps in understanding where there is pressure, space, and opportunity, regardless of having the ball or not.

Recognition goes hand in hand with 2 other aspects; anticipation and reaction. Anticipation is all about reading the game to predict the end result following a game-action situation. Excellent anticipation skills will mean nothing if the player can’t react accordingly to ensure that his team stays on the winning side. This is where reaction skills meet recognition and anticipation.

Where does cone exercise come in? In soccer practice drills, the cones mimic the pressure that players find themselves in during the game. As the coach, you can use individual soccer drills with cones to create specific scenarios that your team needs to perfect.

Cone Drills Should Be a Means to an End

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of cone-based soccer training drills that players can use to perfect their anticipation, recognition, and reaction abilities. Practicing different drills is crucial to refining various soccer skills.

But like a great coach, what’s even more critical is ensuring that the players understand what is there to learn in every drill. Comprehending what the cone exercise is all about will help them relate the drill to realistic game scenarios, which will better sharpen their decision-making skills.

Good Cone Drills for Soccer

1. Straight Cone Dribble Drill

This drill focuses on improving the players’ close control. Close control is a crucial soccer skill that requires the players to keep the ball very close to the boot while being aware of their teammates and opponents. Holding the ball at a closer pace while dribbling means that the player can change direction swiftly and move it away from the defender even when under intense pressure.

How to set up

  • Arrange 10 cones in a straight line from one penalty arc to the other. Vary the distance between the cones between 0.8m and 1.5m.

How to execute

  1. At the beginning of the drill, the player will be standing by the first cone with the ball and the coach/trainer at the sideline.
  2. The coach starts the drill by kicking the ball towards the player at high speed.
  3. The player should receive and have control of the ball and then dribble through the cones. Notably, the player should alternate between controlling the ball with the inside part of both feet, outside of both feet, and inside and outside of the right foot, and inside and outside of the left foot.
  4. On the 10th cone, the player goes around the cone with the fewest touches and then sprints towards the first cone at the highest speed possible without losing the ball.
  5. The coach should instruct on the number of reps and any ball control variations to make.

2. Attack the Cone Dribbling Drill

This is another fun dribbling soccer drill that also emphasizes the need for close ball control and speed. This activity’s simplicity also makes it a good warmup drill for your training sessions.

How to set up

  • Start by grouping your team into small groups of 4 players each. Each unit will require 4 balls and 5 soccer training cones.
  • Set 4 cones to create a 15x15 yard square. Place the 5th cone in the middle of the square.
  • Let a player stand by each of the 4 cones that make the square (you don’t need a player by the middle cone).

How to execute

  1. At the trainer’s cue, all the players dribble the ball towards the middle cone.
  2. Once they reach the cone in the middle, they turn around and pace towards the original cone. The players should push themselves to dribble a little faster with each rep.
  3. Another variation of this drill relies on the same set-up. However, unlike having all 4 players dribbling simultaneously, only the 2 players who are directly opposite of each other dribble at the same time.
  4. In this sequence, the players don’t stop at the middle cone. Instead, they make a move and proceed to the opposite cone before returning to the original cone.

3. Forth and Back Soccer Drill

This 6 cone drill soccer focuses on developing fast feet. When done correctly, it will hone the player’s ability to turn and sprint on a dime. Note that the players need to give their all in terms of speed and strength to reap this drill's benefits.

How to set up

  • Setting up for this drill is generally easy. You position 6 cones in a straight line and with an equal distance between the cones.

How to execute

  1. The player starts by dribbling the ball through the first cone. After reaching cone 2, turn and sprint back to cone 1, this time in a straight line.
  2. At cone 1, dribble with the ball again through cone 1 and 2. At cone 3, make a move and sprint back to cone 1.
  3. Continue to the 6th cone. After the last cone, take a 30-60-second break and start again.

4. 1vs1- 4 Cone Drill Soccer Game

When playing soccer, great players anticipate and read the results of a given action long before taking place. This ability, coupled with frequent changes in direction and speed, enables the players to keep the defenders on their toes at every time. This is precisely what this drill is about.

This drill enhances ball control during the game in relation to the opponent. It teaches the player to concentrate and make fast- sometimes fake- moves when deciding where to move the ball around the opposing players.

How to set up

  • Use 4 cones to make a square grid measuring 15x15 yards.
  • This game is played by 2 players at a time. Group your team into pairs if there are more than 2 players.

How to execute

  1. The game starts with the 2 players standing behind 2 directly opposite cones.
  2. At the whistle blow, player 1 kicks the ball towards player 2. Player 2 starts dribbling the ball towards any of the 3 other cones. At the same time, player 1 chases after player 2 and tries to win the ball.
  3. Player 2 wins 1 point for beating player 1 to reach any of the cones on the sides successfully. However, he gets 2 points for dribbling the ball around player 1 to get to the cone directly opposite his starting point.
  4. Repeat several times with player 2 starting the game.

5. 1 vs 2 Soccer Dribble Drill

This is one of the best 2 cone soccer drills that we’d recommend if you have a few timid players in your team. Low confidence when handling the ball or tackling opponents is the biggest obstacle for most beginners. It’s not only frustrating, but it also leaves the affected players extremely embarrassed, consequently taking the fun out of the game. At worse, low confidence makes all the hard work that the player puts in to learn soccer ball control drills practically useless.

In this soccer running and dribbling drill, player A attempts to tackle two opposing opponents (player B and C) before making a shot at the goal.

How to set up

  • You’ll need 4 cones for this exercise.
  • Make one gate using 2 cones around the penalty arc.
  • Set up the second gate within the penalty box in front of the goal post and some distance from the first gate.
  • With the goalkeeper at the post, there will be one player at each of the two gates. Their role is to tackle the offensive players and prevent them from slipping through the gates towards the goal.
  • All the other players will form the offensive team and will stand in a line a small distance away from the first gate.

How to execute

  1. When the coach/trainer blows the whistle, the first offensive player will dribble the ball and attempt to go around the player guarding the first gate and then the second gate.
  2. After making it through both gates, the offensive player shoots at the goal and tries to score.
  3. The defenders should utilize all their skills and strength to prevent the offense players from going past the gates.
  4. If any of the defenders manage to steal the ball from the offensive player, the latter must join the offensive line again.
  5. If the offensive player manages to get to the goal, the attacker becomes the first of the next pair of defenders.

This is one of the best technical soccer drills that allow the players to put all the skills they have learned into practice. Encourage the players to try any trick that they are confident in.

6. T-cone Soccer Dribbling Drill

The T cone drill soccer workout activity is a popular recommendation in most soccer dribbling drills with cones and a ball. This cone weave drill soccer activity is great for coaches and trainers, focusing on controlled touches, dribbling with speed, and general fitness.

How to set up

  • Use 4 cones to make a T. Place one cone to make the base of the T and 3 cones to make its top.
  • This set-up accommodates only 1 player at a time. You may want to create several set-ups to have more players participating at once.

How to execute

  1. The first player will sprint with the ball from the T’s base and dribble around the middle top-cone.
  2. Next, the player heads to the top-right cone and dribbles around it before pacing to the top-left cone.
  3. After dribbling around the top-left cone, the player dribbles around the top-middle cone a second time and then sprints toward the first cone at the T’s base.
  4. Every player repeats the drill for one minute.

The coach should encourage the players to vary their dribbling style by using both feet and the inside and outside parts of each foot.

7. The Driving Test- Agility Cone Dribbling Drills for Soccer

True to the definition of agility, these agility soccer dribbling drills with cones combine quickness with the ability to make multi-directional movements in a dime. Because soccer is not a linear game, players should work on making their movements crisp, precise, and snappy.

The driving test is one of the best ball control drills that focus on agility and excellent ball control. In this workout, the players need to dribble while paying attention to the coach’s commands. Depending on the instructions, the players are forced to speed up or slow down at a moment’s notice.

How to set up

  • Use cones to create a 20x20 yard grid.
  • Each grid should hold 6 players. You may create another grid to accommodate the rest.

How to execute

  1. All the 6 players are inside the grid, each with a ball.
  2. Coach stays outside the grid and calls out the following commands randomly: go, stop, speed up, slow down, right turn, left turn, and u-turn.

Blazepod has changed sports training with its revolutionary, professional, and eye-catching pods. These pods can be used by athletes of all ages in single-player or multiplayer mode. The Blazepod App comes preloaded with different soccer practice drills, and it also allows you or your team players to add workout activities data. Learn how you and your team can reach your full potential in soccer by using Blazepod today.