1v1 drills for soccer help players learn how to develop their skills and learn how to react when competing against their opponent. It is common for coaches to spend a lot of their time coaching 1v1 drills because 1v1 situations occur very often in soccer during natural play.
It can be challenging to develop a variety of 1v1 soccer drills for your players to practice. It is helpful to know some different 1v1 games for players of all ages and skill levels to improve their footwork and individual skills.
1. The Numbers Game
Set up a 20 x 25 grid area and at each end, make a goal. Use cones or pug goals for the goals. Set two more cones on the third side of your field so your players can form a lone team.
Give your players a number to pick between one and six, or less spending on the number of players. The players should remember the number, and each player will have a corresponding number on the other team.
You will call out a number, and each team member with that number will run around the back of their goal before entering the field. You kick a ball into the grid, and your players play a 1v1 game. The players will rejoin the lines, and you call out a new number for the next round.
2. 1v1 4 Goal
This drill is designed to help young players work on their 1v1 skills, making it suitable to incorporate into U6 drills. It also will prepare your players for 3v2, 3v3, and 2v1. You will need four small goals and five players. Four players will take up a position in the goal, and one player becomes the attacker.
The attacker should attack one goal and try to score. If he scores, he must return to the middle and try again with another goal. They swap roles if the defender tackles the attacker and wins the ball. The attacker is now the defender, and the defender is now the attacker. This is how the 1v1 soccer game continues. Each player with the most goals at the end wins the game.
3. Mini Game
You will need small cones to lay out the pitch dimensions and larger traffic cones to create goals. Mini Game can be set up many times across a large area to accommodate all of your players.
The ball starts with one player who attacks the opposite goal. The attacker should keep the ball close to his feet and dribble the ball through the cones. The defender in the drill should try to win the ball back. If he wins back the ball, he is now the attacker. The original attacker should get into a position to defend against the attack.
4. Goals from Chaos
Set up a 25 x 25-yard area with small cones and make two goals on each side of the square using tall cones.
Your goals should be about two yards long, and there should be eight goals total. Place a small cone between each pair of goals for a quarter of your players to line up behind. You should have your balls ready. Split the players into four groups and have them line up on each side of the square.
Players in lines 1 and 3 should each have a ball. The first player in line 1 passes the ball to the first player in line 2. Those players play a 1v1 game and attempt to score two goals they face by dribbling their ball past their opponent.
The first players in lines 3 and 4 do the exact same thing. Two games are going on at the same time but in different directions. Once the game is finished, the following players in line start the next 1v1 game.
This drill goes great with our 3-in-1 soccer rebounders. Each time someone misses a goal, the ball is returned back into play to prevent players from having to chase it down.
5. 1v1 Madness
Set up a 35 x 25-yard grid with small cones. Add three small goals on either end of the grid. The goals should be about two yards long. You will need enough balls for there to be one in between every two players. Separate the players into pairs and give a ball to each pair.
Players should begin at the same time. Each pair must compete for possession of the ball given to them. In each pair, one player will defend the goal on one side of the field, and the second player will defend the goal on the other side. The players will compete for two minutes in pairs and try to outscore their opposing team.
If the ball goes out of bounds, it gets turned over to the non-defending player, and they dribble the ball to continue the game.
6. It’s a Knockout
Set up a 20x20-yard grid with small cones. Make a small goal, about two yards long, in each corner of the grid with tall cones.
Get your balls ready by your feet to help prepare for the drill. Divide your players into four teams. Each team must stand in a straight line behind one of the goals but outside of the grid. You will play one ball into the grid, and the first player from both lines runs in to compete for possession of the ball.
The players play a 1v1v1v1 game with each other and try to score on any of the goals except their own. Once someone’s goal is achieved, the player gets eliminated and joins the back of their team’s line. You will kick in a new ball, and your remaining three players will play another 1v1v1v1 game.
7. In The Zone
You will need two small or four tall cones to act as goal posts. Set up both goals about ten yards apart, facing the same direction.
There should be one cone in between the goals. Place another cone about twenty yards away from the goals and then a line of small cones about five yards from the goals to make an end zone. Divide the players into two groups, the defenders and the attackers.
The defenders should line up behind the cone between the goals, and the attackers should line up behind the cone at the other end. Each attacker should have a ball. When you whistle, the attacker should advance the ball, and the defender should rush to stop them.
The attacker should take the ball past the defender into the end zone and try to score in either of the goals. The defender should prevent the attacker from entering the end zone and gaining the ball’s possession.
8. Attack and Defend
Your teams will take turns attacking and defending during this one on one soccer drill. When one team attacks the goal, the other team should protect it.
The defending team becomes the attackers during the next go, and the original attackers will be the defenders.
Try to use an 18-yard field for this drill to ensure our players have enough space. Set up two players on either side of the goal and two out of the area. This drill is excellent for practicing goalkeeping training with your players.
Player 1 passes the ball to player 2. Player 1 runs out of space and defends 1v1. When a goal has been scored, player 4 gives another ball to player 1. Player 3 will close down the space and stop player 1 from scoring.
9. 1v1 Practice
This 1v1 soccer drill consists of two teams and two goals with a ball in the middle of the goal as the target. You can add in goalkeepers instead if you choose. Your teams should alternate attack and defend in a 1v1 game. After attacking, the attacker should quickly turn to defend.
The first team to meet the target ten times is the winner. For this drill to run smoothly, keep the ball close to your feet, alternate the goals you attack, and increase the intensity of the attacking play. You can also add boxed areas to make the spaces smaller in which each player attacks and defends.
10. Ultimate Transition
You will need four gates, two red and two blue. You should try to match the color of the gates with the teams to make things more simple and more competitive for your teams. The blue player should dribble into the area and attack one of the blue gates.
The red player should close the space down and quickly stop the attacker. If the red player wins the ball, they should attack while the blue player defends. The last team that makes a goal is the next team to attack. The ball is “dead” if it leaves the drill area.
When attacking, your players should keep the ball close, exploit the space, use disguise, use a turn of pace to beat the defender, and stay sharp. When defending, the players should jockey back while keeping an eye on the ball, shut the space down quickly, and push the attacker wide.
These 1v1 soccer drills will help ensure your players are ready to play against their opponents. Drills help teach players how to improve ball handling, gain confidence, learn direct actions and movements, improve their one-on-one soccer skills, and work on dribbling.
1 on 1 soccer training drills are also an excellent way for you to teach your players a fun way to play the game while also being practical.