Playing soccer alone is the best way to improve existing skills and learn new ones before you have to worry about competition and interference by other players.
Solo drills can be a path to playing better or a chance to work on things most teams don’t do much in practice, like juggling and catching high aerial balls. What is the best way to play soccer alone?
The best way to play soccer alone is to work on side shooting because it will help you score against the best goalies. It is difficult to stop a ball from coming in at a narrow side angle because the chance of knocking it into the goal is much higher. If you only do one solo drill, choose side shooting.
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Can You Play Soccer By Yourself
You can, and should, play soccer by yourself. Whether you’re on a team, looking to join one, or merely want to improve your skills, solo practice is necessary and fun.
With the proper drills, you’ll see improvement on the field over time. Plus, it’s a great way to stay healthy and active.
Goal Sizes Chart For More Accurate Practice
Below is a simple chart so you know how wide and tall to mark your goals at home. Only the width will matter for some players when using cones or a similar ground-level marker.
However, for those who want to set up a more realistic goal or kick at a wall, the height will help you practice shooting.
Standard Goal Sizes
|Age Range Of Player||Organization Issuing The Standard||Size Of The Goal (Width x Height)|
|2 – 3 years||US Youth Soccer||Min: 3′ x 3′ Max: 6′ x 4′|
|4 – 5 years||US Youth Soccer||Min: 6′ x 5′ Max: 10′ x 5′|
|6 – 7 years||US Youth Soccer||Min: 9′ x 5′ Max: 12′ x 6′|
|8 – 12 years||US Youth Soccer||Min: 18′ x 6′ Max: 21′ x 7′|
|12 and Up||US Youth Soccer||18′ x 24′|
|N/A||Beach Soccer||18′ x 7.25|
|N/A||Futsal (Indoor Soccer)||9′ 10″ x 6′ 7″|
|Pro||FIFA||8 yards x 8 feet|
|High School||NFHS||8 yards x 8 feet|
|College||NCAA||8 yards x 8 feet|
Shooting Drills On Your Own
Shooting is how you win the game. Unless you are a goalie whose job it is to block incoming shots, you need to be able to finish by putting the ball in the goal.
Working on your shooting at home is a great way to increase your skill level rapidly, build muscle and muscle memory and improve your overall aim.
1 – Hit The Mark
Not all soccer practice has to happen on a field. Sometimes it’s just you and your yard or a small area to play.
The best way to play soccer alone means working with what you have, and most people can find a sturdy wall or fence to kick a ball at.
This technique is surprisingly effective as a shooting drill.
You will need a ball, a wall and a piece of chalk. Alternately, you can use tape or any other non-permanent way to make a mark.
You’ll be changing your target, so you need temporary markers to help you with your aim and shooting skills.
- Optional: If you are working with a large enough wall or fence, you can mark the four corners of a goal.
- Pick a spot within your goal area and mark it with an X about the size of your palm.
- Start about 3 yards away and kick the ball at the mark. The point is to hit the target consistently.
- Once you start to get the hang of it, move your mark. Aim to hit every spot within the goal accurately. Doing this will help you score more often.
Variations: Don’t always shoot from the same angle or spot. Move your ball around to the sides, and run at it from different directions.
2 – Side Shooting
One of the trickier shots to master is side shooting. All you need is a goal and a ball for this drill.
The angles from the sides of the goal are tougher to hit accurately, but you’ll get more points for your team once you learn to do it, and it’s difficult for a goalie to block.
You will improve your aim through repetition.
- Set up your goal by marking out the edges with cones if you don’t have a practice goal at home.
- Next, place your ball off to one side at an angle.
- Back up a couple of yards and get a good running start.
- Aim to kick the ball in from different distances in one shot.
Tips On Improving: It’s important to practice from both sides of the goal. Vary up your angle and switch up your feet for the best results.
Passing Drills On Your Own
Although it may seem impossible to practice passing on your own, it’s easier than expected.
You don’t have to pass to a person so long as you have a target. Improving your aim, passing, and ball control don’t need to be overcomplicated so long as you have a wall or even a tree to ‘pass’ to.
1 – Cone & Wall Pass
Work on passing the ball to a partner and between your own feet with this exercise. You will need a cone, ball, and wall.
This drill helps to improve your aim and ball control with the inside of your feet as you pass.
- Set your cone 5-7 yards back from the wall and stand just behind and to one side.
- Kick the ball at the wall hard enough for a good rebound roll.
- Let it come to you behind the cone when the ball comes back.
- Pass the ball from one foot to the other as you move to the other side of the cone, and then return it to the wall.
- Alternating your feet as you pass.
Variation: Instead of passing back right away, you can pass the ball between your feet twice, so you shoot back with the same foot you received the ball with. When doing the drill this way, practice 15 times on one side and then 15 on the other.
Tips On Improving: Kick at a slight angle, so the ball comes back on the opposite side of the cone.
2 – Wall Passing No Touch Turn
This drill aims to help you pass and receive a pass when the ball rolls past your body.
It will also help you work on your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are critical for soccer gameplay. All you need is a wall and a ball for this drill.
- Face the wall with your ball 2-4 yards away.
- Step back a few feet and get a jog-up.
- Kick the ball at the wall low and hard, so it rolls back quickly but doesn’t bounce.
- Let the ball roll past you and turn to chase it.
- Catch up to the ball, get control of it and turn it around.
- Dribble back in and repeat the process.
Tips On Improving: Try kicking the ball to the wall facing parallel instead of looking at the wall directly. Doing this works just as though you were passing sideways to another player. You can also use both feet and kick with the toe, inside and outside of the foot, by changing your angle of approach when you ‘pass.’
Defensive Drills Alone
No matter what position you play, the defense should always be a part of your strategy. Typically you only need to defend when you’re on your team’s side.
Still, even a forward striker will occasionally find themselves in a position to stop an attack.
1 – High Ball
Playing catch and kick on the ground is too easy at home, but dealing with higher incoming balls is difficult.
High Ball is simultaneously the easiest to practice and hardest to master. You need a ball and a little space to practice catching and controlling an incoming ball.
- Make sure you have lots of space around you.
- Throw your ball up in the air.
- Catch it on the top of your foot, or use an inseam touch to control the ball when it comes down.
Tips On Improving: You can combine this with other drills like shooting or aerial blocking with your body later as you improve. However, it’s best to master one skill at a time when you’re new to a sport.
2 – Aerial Wall Stops
The wall volley will help you improve your juggling and learn to deflect without your hands or feet. You only need a wall and a ball for this aerial drill.
The goal is to chip, juggle, kick, or throw the ball at the wall, so you must deal with incoming airborne balls.
- Set yourself up a few yards from the wall. The distance will vary by player, but it needs to be far enough that you can bounce a ball off the wall and catch it mid-air.
- Start with a basic chip where you kick the ball up off the ground. This should bounce it back at the shin, thigh, and core levels.
- Stop the ball with your shins, upper legs, and lower body 20x.
- Move up to juggling. Balance the ball on the toe of one shoe, and bounce it up so you can kick it with your other foot. You should have slightly higher returns to catch with your body. Repeat this 20x as well.
- Finally, throw the ball at the wall to get a higher bounce that comes in at your upper torso.
Tips On Improving: Practicing your ball juggling is one way to help yourself with this drill. However, it’s also a great reason to do exercises involving arm and chest strength. You can’t throw the ball in a game, but to do this drill well, you may need to pick it up and bounce it off the wall, which fatigues you much more quickly if you only work your core and lower body.
Dribbling Drills By Yourself
Dribbling doesn’t always get the field time it deserves when teams practice because many dribbling drills are made for solo players.
However, this is the most essential soccer skill. If you can’t dribble, you can’t play.
The two drills below will help you build endurance and control when you dribble.
1 – Cone Weaving
You will need a series of cones spaced about a yard apart and a ball for this standard drill.
The longer your line of cones, the better, but you can work with just 2-3 if necessary. All you’ll be doing is practicing your quick direction changes by weaving between the cones.
- Set up a straight row of evenly spaced cones.
- Start at one end, just to one side of the cones, and pass around the far side of the first cone.
- Direct your ball between the cones, so you pass through and around the next cone, and repeat that as you move forward. You should be making a zig-zag or wavy line around the cones.
- When you reach the end, circle around the last cone and repeat the drill going in the other direction, do this 20-50 times.
Variation: You can also set up a long line of cones and dribble to the end in a straight line, then go around the last cone and come back for an easier dribble. To make it more difficult, set up two rows of offset cones, so you’re going further to zig-zag around each one.
2 – Sidewalk Chalk Dribble
The Sidewalk Chalk Drbble is great for small porches, paved yards, and sidewalks. All you need is a piece of chalk and a ball.
This drill will test your maneuverability and control while also helping you work on endurance in a small space.
- Find a clear area, preferably at least four feet wide and ten feet long, but more is better. A paved driveway works well.
- Pick a starting point and mark an x or dot.
- Mark an endpoint at the other side.
- Now, draw a random one with curves, angles, or even loops. Please make sure each section is large enough for you to navigate it with a ball reasonably. Don’t make shapes like zig-zags that are only 8 inches long. Instead, opt for 2-3 foot lengths on a side and larger curves or twists.
- Dribble your ball along the line like a path from one end to the other and back. Focus on following the path and keeping your ball on course.
Variation: If you don’t have pavement and need to practice on dirt, use a stick to scratch out your course instead. Never use the same pattern twice. Make new random dribbling paths.
Helpful Tips To Know About How To Play Soccer Alone
No matter how often your team practices, you need to spend some of your free time playing soccer alone if you want to be the best.
Solo practice is essential for building skills and confidence.
Here are more helpful tips to know about how to play soccer alone.
- You may not be at an official practice, but you should still stretch and warm-up before you drill solo. Doing this will help prevent injuries and discomfort. Moreover, stretching will help improve your flexibility.
- Strength training isn’t technically a drill, but you should add it to your solo workout if you want to get better at soccer. The muscle you build playing and practicing is excellent, but you can do even more if you take some time every few days for free weights or other strength-building exercises that aren’t part of playing soccer.
- If you have a lot of space to practice, consider setting up some dummies or cardboard cutouts to dodge around. It can help you get a feel for moving the ball around other players.
Playing soccer alone is all about taking time to build on your existing skills. You can learn new tricks or devote a block of time to working out the kinks in your technique where you are weakest.
The best way to play soccer alone is by doing drills and working on your endurance and consistency to dominate the field at game time.
If you need to make the team, play alone. When you want to get better, play alone.
Soon you’ll be the sort of strong, versatile player everyone wants on their side. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to kick a ball around.