What is the best soccer training drill to develop speed to goal?
Players: 10 to 16 (2 equal-sized teams of 5 to 8)
Objectives: To improve dribbling speed; to develop general endurance
Setup: Play on a regular size field. Have two teams of equal numbers and give each a name, such as “Strikers” and “Kickers,” for example. Players from both teams, each with a ball, stay within the center circle of the field. Each team defends an end line of the field. Use colored vests to differentiate teams. No goals or goalkeepers necessary.
Procedure: To start, players from both teams dribble randomly within the center circle. After 10 to 15 seconds, say a team name, such as “Strikers!” All Striker players immediately abandon the circle to dribble at top speed toward the Kickers’ end line. Kickers leave their balls and give chase, trying to catch and dispossess Striker players before they can dribble their balls over the end line. A Kicker who steals a ball dribbles it back into the center circle. The round ends when all balls have been dribbled over the end line or returned into the center circle. Play 8 to 10 rounds, alternating teams from attacking to defending.
Scoring: The attacking team scores 1 point for each ball dribbled over an end line. The defending team scores 1 point for each ball stolen and dribbled back to the center circle. The team scoring the most points wins.
Practice tips: Adjust the field size to accommodate the age and abilities of your players. Younger players (12 and under) use a three-quarter field. Defending players should take the most direct recovery to a point between the end line and the opponent they are tracking down. Once goal side, defenders can challenge for the ball. Don’t allow slide tackles from behind.