Individual Football Drills for 4-7 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 – Ball Control

Equipment – A size 3 football and cones

The first important skill in football is keeping control of the ball. If you have the ball, the opposition does not. The best way to start this off with 4-7 year olds is to get them used to kicking the ball using 4 main parts of their feet; the inside, outside, toe and sole. There are great ways to get players into starting into learning about the ball and then progressing it up. Here is how to set the drill up and move it along:


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

Diagram of football training drill

1. Happy Feet

This drill gets players to practice using both their feet by switching the ball between both feet. This encourages close ball control and allows players to get used to using both of their feet. This drill focuses on ball control of the inside of the feet and allows players to keep the ball close to them ready for dribbling and passing.

Players stand in middle of their grid and have to keep the ball moving using the inside of their feet, starting slow and then picking up the speed. To make this drill harder, the children can try doing this with their head up.

2. Toe-Touches

This gets the players used to using the bottom of their toes as part of their ball control. The Toe-Touches are the best way to master touching the top of the ball. The reason why we do this is to learn how to pull and drag the ball effectively.

To do the Toe-Touches, the players lift their knee up and touch the top of the ball with the toe, then swap feet. Start off slowly and then increase the speed the player becomes more comfortable.

This drill also helps increase cardio!

3. Walk The Dog

This is the best drill to help teach players about ball control using the bottom of their feet, the sole. The reason why the sole of the feet are useful is so players can master rolling the ball away from defenders and help set up attacks.

This activity, the players imagine the ball is their dog and they have to keep it next to them. To roll the ball, players simply keep one foot on the ground and then use the sole of the other foot to roll the ball. It is best to start by rolling the ball across the body, so if using the right foot then roll to the players left. Players can then swap feet and move around their grid.

4. Out and In

The final part of the foot to learn for ball control is to outside of the foot. To master this will help the player move away from defenders and maneuver around the pitch.

Players start with the ball in front of them and use the outside of one of their feet to move the ball away from them. To make sure the ball does not go too far away from them, they then use the inside of the same foot to bring the ball back towards them. Players can then swap feet to learn on both sides.

In Action Activity – Four Sides

It is always best to bring together all of the skills together for one action activity. One good activity is called Four Sides, and the children can decide on the names of the sides. These can be after football teams, cartoons, celebrities or whatever theme you would like. For an example, let’s call the sides North, East, South and West. Players start in the middle of their grid and then the coach shouts out a side to go to; e.g. North. Players then have to use either the inside, outside or sole of their feet to get the ball to that side, and then use the sole or toe to stop the ball on the line. If the ball goes outside of their grid then it falls into the swamp!

To help move it forward, players can to Toe-Touches whilst on the line before the next “side” is announced. Players can keep tally of how many times their ball went outside their grid and into the swamp, and see if they can beat it next time, eventually getting down to zero!

These are five simple 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