A Simple Exercise to Develop Short Passing Ability, Speed Dribbling Technique, Starting Speed and Anaerobic Capacity

By Justin Cresser Author of Total Soccer Conditioning: A Ball Orientated Approach

Today’s exercise is a simple exercise that focuses on speed dribbling, short passing and sprinting over short distances. We have also structured the exercise so that the work-to-rest ratio used targets the player’s anaerobic capacity.

Set-up and Directions:
Divide your players into groups of three. For each group, set up a 15 by 10 yard rectangular grid. Have one the three players stand in the centre of the rectangular grid. Give the other two players a ball each and have them stand on the corners of one of the long sides of the rectangle (See Figure 1).

Play is initiated with the player at the bottom of the rectangle dribbling as quickly as possible, but under control until they reach the corner of the grid. At the same time, the player at the top of the grid plays a pass to the player in the centre of the grid and then sprints towards the edge of the grid on the other side. The player in the centre will return the pass into the path of the sprinting player who should attempt to control it before they reach the edge of the grid (See Figures 2 and 3).

Note: both players go in a clockwise direction.

When both player reach the opposite end on the side of the grid where they started, have them perform the reverse action. That is, players are always speed dribbling along the long side of the grid and performing a wall pass with the player in the centre of the area when they are on the shorter sides (Figure 4).

Continue this sequence for 90 seconds and then have the players rest for 60 to 90 seconds. After each sequence, have the player in the middle switch with one of the outside players. Ensure all players perform a total of 3 to 4 sequences.

Coaching Points:

  • When dribbling, Players must do so as quickly as possible but under control. Have them use the outside of the foot or laces as they make contact with the ball
  • Ensure quality (accurate and well weighted) passes from the players when they are performing the wall pass. In addition, encourage the player on the outside to cover the 10-yard distance as quickly as possible
  • Ensure the inside player is always aware of where both players are and move into position quickly to receive each pass.

You can vary this exercise by having the outside player who initiates the wall pass do so with the outside of the foot instead of the inside. You can also have them perform a single step over before playing the pass. You can also vary the exercise by having the dribbling player perform a specific skill or move while dribbling.

Be sure to vary the direction (clockwise and counter clockwise) after every sequence.

Justin Cresser has coached soccer at various levels both in North America and abroad (Hong Kong and Africa). He is currently the Assistant Technical Director at the Soccer Club of Toronto. He has his Advanced National Diploma from the NSCAA and is also a certified strength and conditioning coach. You can check out Justin's best-selling books here.

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