Soccer Skills:

Balance challenges

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Soccer Skill: Agility

Ages: All

A few progressively more difficult balance challenges to help your players develop a solid base of balance and stability as the foundation for safe and effective soccer skill development.

These drills start with basic two-leg standing balance challenges for developing righting reflexes needed for evasion and change of direction skills, and progress to more challenging single-leg drills or combination drills.

Virtually every soccer action demands good single leg stability. Include these fun yet effective drills as often as possible, either during warm-ups, as part of a skills circuit or for active recovery following more intensive drills.

  • Number of Players: Any (working in 2's or 3's)
  • Equipment: One ball per 2/3 players
  • Time: 5-10mins
  • Working in pairs, have one player stand with feet approx. shoulder width apart and a partner standing 3-5yds away.
  • Making sure the player keeps both feet on the ground, challenge their balance by serving the ball at different heights and angles for them to head back. Make sure serves are reachable but challenging!
  • Vary the challenge by changing stance wider, narrower or putting one foot forward.
  • This drill can be easily adapted for keepers by allowing them to catch one or two handed.

1. Single -leg challenges:

  • One partner stands on one leg with a partner serving from 3-6 yards away. Server throws the ball underarm to their partner who half-volleys, volleys or controls and volleys the ball back, dependant on the serve and/or their ability. For younger players, keep the reps lower and allow them to put a foot down between serves. Older players can be challenged to maintain single leg stance for a set time and/or number of reps.
  • This works equally well in small groups where, for example in a square, the active player volleys, half-volleys or control and volleys the ball to different players in sequence around the outside of the square.

2. Combinations. Use your own or your player’s creativity to come up with different balance and stability challenges or combinations, for example:

  • Combine squats with single leg balance whereby a player squats down and transitions straight into a single leg stance on the way back up to volley or control and volley a ball served by a partner.
  • Practice ‘re-orientation from dis-orientation’ by performing a single leg balance reach (stand on one leg and reach forwards, overhead or to the side to the point where you almost lose your balance) followed immediately by a serve to volley or control and volley.

Tell The Team: (Remember - stay focused)

  • Challenge yourself with each drill, trying to work towards the end range of your balance ability where it is difficult but manageable to maintain balance.
  • Focus on quality serves, serving to your partner as you yourself would want to be served to.

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About the Author

Richie Whall is a specialist speed & agility coach who has worked with international, professional and academy players and coaches across the UK. With a Masters degree in Sports Science and over ten years of coaching and coach education experience, he has created the Hex Training System to provide innovative and effective training aids and solutions for coaches, teachers, parents and young athletes, that enable them to realize their true physical potential.

Soccer Classroom is always looking for experienced and enthusiastic coaches with drill and article ideas. Learn how to become a writer!

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