Soccer is my favorite sport. I started playing in high school and intramural in college and would play with friends on my free days. I met most of my closest friends through soccer but never became as good as I wanted to be (at least not good enough to be a starter on a college team), and lot of times I had to play alone to improve my skills. If you a serious player or just want to improve your skills, I have created this post to share things that I did in the past on my own that of you can easily do on your own as well.
Find a Wall
Playing with your friends is the best way to improve in soccer, but they may not always be around. When you are training solo, your best friend is a wall. The wall will always return the ball to you allowing you to get more touches on the ball. The wall is good for working on passing, first touch, shooting and trapping.
With the inside of your foot, pass the ball to the wall and when the ball returns to you use your first touch to cross the ball over to the opposite foot and pass back to the wall. Do at least 10 passes with each foot. I would also do a set off the ground volleying the ball off the wall and alternating feet. You can also volley ball to wall, stop with your thigh then volley back to the wall using inside of your foot. 10 passes each foot, then do the same but with your upper foot (laces).
Shooting and trapping
Another good drill is to choose a spot on the wall and take a shot at it. You can also bring some chalk with you and mark spots on the wall. These will be your targets. When the ball comes back, take one touch and shoot again at the next target. Again, at least 10 shots with each foot.
Walls are great however they cause alot of wear and tear on the ball. A wall made out of wood may not cause as much wear and tear like a concrete/brick wall. Make sure to switch up your training. You can also lob the ball against the wall then stop with your chest to set up for a shot.
Heres a great video I found that pretty much illustrates this.
Cones are a great training tool and inexpensive. You can get this at any sports store near you. I liked to use cones for working on dribbling. When setting up the cones you want to give yourself at least 2ft of space between each cone. I would get at least 5-10 cones to start.
After the cones are set up, you are going to work on your inside foot. Zig-Zag thorough each cone using only your inside foot. Do at least 3 reps. When finished, use your out side your foot next. Make sure to keep the ball close to you, your knees bent and your head up. Do not look at your feet. You want to see what is ahead of you.
I had a friend who I played in high school with and he used to tell me how when he was a kid living in Brazil, he would dribble his soccer ball all the way to school. He did this everyday. If you are a parent reading this and if your kid walks to school or maybe he/she walks to the bus stop. I highly recommend doing this (go with them of course if you can, safety first). This a great way for you to work on ball control and keeping your head up to be aware of your surroundings. So if the place you train at is walking distance, dribble all the way there.
*Fun Tip: Using small ball, like a size one helps a lot!
There are also soccer training programs you can purchase that have training drills that can be done at home. Kinda like those at home work out videos back in the day. Here are some training programs that I recommend.
*if you want to read my reviews on the training programs listed above you can see them on my product reviews page.
Playing at the Beach
If you live near the beach, take advantage. Playing in the sand has many benefits. If you don’t live near a beach, or you don’t live on the coast, maybe you can find a volley ball court with sand and take the net down. Since the sand is bumpy and uneven, passes on the ground are usually going to be iffy, forcing you to be more aerial. This will help you improve your volley shoots, headers, long passes, and lobs. Which are all key skills on the field. Playing bare foot is also great for improving your ball control and first touch. Not to mention since the sand is uneven, this is a great work out for your legs and core. You will need some friends to play at the beach with you. There wont be to much you can do on your own. I know the post is supposed to be focused on things you can do on your own, but I just wanted to add this in because if you are fortunate to live near a beach this is a great way to have fun with your friends and improve your skills. If you are looking for something a little more, or do not like using a wall, there are some great products out there that can help you.