Individual Football Drills for 8-12 Year Olds – Ball Control

Individual Football Drills for 8-12 Year Olds – Ball Control

When starting in Football, you don’t have to be with your team in order to perfect your skills. A lot of football development starts from within and perfecting the skills by yourself. This will help enhance your own abilities before taking it on to working with your team and connecting it as a team sport. We have several football drills set out here for young, budding footballers who are just starting their journey into football. These football for beginners exercises can be used for PE at home or individual football play at school or clubs.  

Football For Beginners Drill 1 – Ball Control

Equipment – A size 4 football and cones

Ball control is the most important skill in football, from starters to the very top of the game. Moving on from our first session with 4-7 year old players, we have some drills for taking ball skills on to the next level. These can be for players aged 8-12 year’s old in classes or at home on their own. All will help with developing the ball control, ball skills and game attributes that will assist players when moving into dribbling, passing and shooting.

Set Up – If working with several players then provide each player with a grid made of 4 cones at 3m apart. If individual then find some space

Football For Beginners Drill 1 – Ball Control

Activity One – Keepie Ups

A great skill for all players to practice juggling the ball, working on feet-to-eye coordination, and balance in the game. Players can start with their own ball in their hands and drop it to their foot, kicking the ball with the upper part (aim for the laces on the boot) and then try to catch the ball again. The knee of the leg that is kicking the ball should be slightly bent, and the foot/laces facing upwards. The grid allows for slight movement during the skill and allows for distance from other players.

Once the player feels like they have mastered this, they can try for two before catching, then three, and so on. If the player is feeling fairly proficient with this, they can move on to starting the Keepie Ups from the ground. To do this, the player must roll the ball back to them starting with their foot on top of the ball. As it rolls towards them the player then gets their foot underneath the bal to then get it in the air.

Activity Two – Throw Up Control

Moving ball control on, players can learn how to control a ball when it is dropping down. This can be used in games when controlling a cross field ball, a kick from the goal keeper, or receiving the ball at a throw in. To practice this, players start with the ball in their hands and then they drop this to the ground. Before the ball hits the ground, players try to cushion the ball with the top of their foot, on the laces. As the ball hits the laces, the player then moves their leg back and the ball should gently land on the ground and not bounce, thus providing the player the ball under control ready to move forward.

As players master this they can move it on to throwing the ball up in the air, getting it higher and higher to test their control. To help bring in more body parts with their control, players can start to bring in using their knee to slow the speed of the ball down.

Activity Three – Balance The Ball

Ball control is also about keeping your balance, and the best way to improve this is to practice balancing the ball on the foot. To start this is to balance the football between the toe and the shin of the player. Once the ball is stationary, the player has to keep their balance to. Once they feel comfortable, players can start to raise their leg that has the ball balanced. The challenge is to keep the ball balanced between the toe and shin for as long as possible, whilst also maintaining their own balance.

To move this activity on, players can practice getting the ball to the balanced position between the toe and shin whilst the ball is on the ground. To do this, players will start with the ball slightly away from the body and under their boot. They then roll the ball towards them and move their toes under the ball, attempting the trap the ball between their toes and shin.

Activity Four – Sprint and Stop

To improve the ability of ball control when moving, players can dribble the ball in one direction and then on command of the coach stop the ball dead. They do this with the bottom of their foot on the top of the ball. The players will find this easier if they maintain the ball close to them at all times. To start off, players can just roll the ball using the bottom of their boot, and then when stopping the ball will be right by theem. When moving to using the inside of their foot, players can start off walking so the ball does not go out of control.

Once players start to feel comfortable they can take it up to a jog and then get faster and faster in their line. The ball must stay a yard from them so they always have good control ready for that STOP command.

Activity Five – Wallie

An old street football classic, using wallie is a great way to test ball control where the player can challenge themselves. The player starts with the ball in their hands and then can throw it against the wall, and control the ball with their feet. The ball must remain a yard by the player. If the ball rolls away they need to work on controlling the ball with the inside of their foot. If the players feel confident, they can then move the ball up higher to control it with their knee.  

Once the player feels comfortable with controlling the ball with their body from throwing the ball against the wall, they can move to kicking it. The player uses the inside of their foot to kick the ball against the wall, and then tries to control it again using the inside of their foot. The harder the player kicks it, the harder it will be to control it. Players again should try to keep the ball within a yard of them when controlling.

These are five simple individual football activities that can be used at home, Clubs or school to help maintain good ball control whilst keeping players social distanced. This can be repeated to help encourage better control, whilst also moving on to other session.

Keep checking out our blogs for more individual football drills to do skills classes or PE at home. Coming soon are:

Football For Beginners Drill 2 – Dribbling

Football For Beginners Drill 3 – Passing

Football For Beginners Drill 4 – Shooting

Football drill essentials