1v1 Soccer Drills And Games | 12 Of The Best

1v1s are a fantastic and fun way to improve the skills of your players. While your team is in possession of the ball it is essential you have players who can apply pressure to the opposition defenders in 1v1 scenarios, as they can give you a huge advantage. This post will provide you with a variety of 1v1 soccer drills

These are the best 1v1 soccer drills and games

These are the 1v1 soccer drills and games that I use with my players.

2 goal madness

2 soccer players are playing a 1v1 while defending and attacking 2 goals
2 goal madness

Purpose:

The purpose of this 1v1 soccer game is to help players dribble and attack the space

Set up:

  • 7 x 10-yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 8 cones (to make 4 goals/gates)
  • 2 players

How the drill works:

This will be a regular 1v1 soccer game, however, instead of defending 1 goal in the middle, the players will have to defend 2 goals in each of their corners.

If a player is able to dribble through either of the opposition’s gates they will get 3 points but if they manage to pass the ball through the gate they only get 1 point.

Goal kicks, corners, and throw-ins will be replaced with a player being able to dribble the ball back onto the pitch

Coaching points:

  • Dribble with your head up so you can see where the space and opposition player is
  • Use a quick skill combined with a sharp change of direction to beat the defender
  • Use a change of speed Accelerate away from the defender

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you see where the opposition and space are?
  • What can you do to help beat the defender?
  • After you have used a skill how can you get away from the defender?

Bounce players 1v1

there are 2 players in the middle playing a 1v1 game, with 2 neutral players on the outside
1v1 with bounce players

Purpose:

The purpose of this 1v1 soccer drill is to help them exploit space with give-and-go passes

Set up:

  • 7 x 10-yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 2 goals
  • 4 players

How the drill works:

This will be a regular 1v1 game, however, players will be able to combine passes with the neutral players in the wide areas to help them exploit the space in a 1v1 scenario.

If a player is able to combine passes with the neutral player and score a goal it will be worth 3 points instead of 1.

Coaching points:

  • Neutral players will need to create angles to receive the ball
  • Players in the middle will need to create space for themselves by moving
  • Try to use 1 or 2 touches when combining passes to exploit the space quickly

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How do the neutral players make it easier to receive a pass from a middle player?
  • What can the players in the middle do to create space for themselves?
  • How can you exploit space quickly while combing passes?

Block the gates

There are 2 soccer players. One soccer player is dribbling a football through the cones, while the other player is trying to block them
Block the gates 1v1

Purpose:

The purpose of this 1v1 soccer game is to improve a player’s awareness and be able to adjust to change direction quickly.

Set up:

  • 15 x 20-yard area
  • 12 cones ( 6 gates)
  • 1 soccer ball per pair

How the drill works:

In the pair, there will be an attacker and a defender.

The attacker will have the ball and their objective is to try and dribble through as many gates as possible.

For each gate they dribble through they will get 1 point.

The defender must try to stand in front of the gates to block the gate so the attacker cannot pass through.

However, the defender cannot steal the ball.

At the end of the round, the players swap roles, with the player having the highest score at the end of the round is the winner.

Coaching points:

  • Dribble with your head up to you can see where a free gate is to dribble through
  • Keep the ball close to your feet to allow for quick changes in direction
  • Quickly accelerate through the gate before the defender gets there

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How do you know where a free gate is that isn’t blocked by the defender?
  • What can you do to change direction quickly?
  • If you see an open gate, how should you approach it?

Tag me if you can

There are 2 soccer players standing on opposite sides of the circle. One of them is a tagger and they are trying to tag the other player
Tag me if you can 1v1 drill

Purpose:

The purpose of the drill is to improve a player’s close control and changes in direction

Set up:

  • 1 circle (8 yards in diameter)
  • 2 soccer balls per pair

How the drill works:

Each player will have a soccer ball and start on opposite sides of the circle.

One of the players will be a tagger with the other player in the pair trying not to get tagged.

The tagger must try to tag the other player as many times as possible in 3 minutes, at the end of the 3 minutes the roles will swap.

Each time a tag is made players will restart again, on opposite sides of the circle

The player with the most tags will win the round

Coaching points:

  • Use both feet while dribbling
  • Keep the ball close to allow quick changes in direction
  • Dribble with your head up to see which way your opponent is moving

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • Why should you use both feet when dribbling?
  • How can you quickly change direction?
  • How can you see which direction your opponent is moving?

Top of the ladder

There are 3 pitch with 2 players on each pitch playing a 1v1. The winners a moving up while the
Top of the ladder soccer game

Purpose:

The purpose of this 1v1 soccer drill is to allow players to get a lot of repetition in 1v1 scenarios in a competitive environment

Set up:

  • 10 x 7-yard area ( 1 area per pair)
  • 2 goals per area
  • 1 soccer ball per pair

How the drill works:

Each pair will play a 1v1 on each area for 3 minutes.

The player who wins will move up the ladder while the player, who loses will move down the ladder.

In the final round, the two players in the area will then play for their overall placement.

For example, if there are 3 pitches, the top pitch will play for first and second, the middle pitch, third and fourth, and the bottom pitch, fifth and sixth.

Coaching points:

  • Be confident in your 1v1s and try new things
  • Use a variety of different skills to try and beat the defender
  • Combine the different skills with changes in pace and direction

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How do you get better in 1v1 scenarios?
  • What can you do to try and beat the defender?
  • What should you combine your skills with?

Attack now defend

There are 2 teams taking shooting on the same goal. As soon as 1 team has had a shot the other team will dribble in to try and score
Attack no defend soccer game

Purpose:

The purpose of the 1v1 soccer game is to help players quickly transition from attacking 1v1 to defending 1v1

Set up:

  • 10 x 15-yard area
  • 1 goal
  • 1 soccer ball per player
  • 2 teams of 4

How the drill works:

1 player from the first team will dribble and score a goal (this goal does not count as it was unopposed)

As soon as the shot has been taken the first player from the opposing team tries to score, with the player who just shot becoming the defender.

A new player will come in when the ball goes out of bounds or a goal is scored.

The team that scores the most goals after 5 minutes will be the winning team

Coaching points:

  • Quickly exploit the space while the defender is unorganized
  • Use changes of direction and speed to beat the defender
  • If you are the defender, transition quickly to stop the attacker from scoring

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What should you do if you see the defender unorganized?
  • How can you get past the defender?
  • As soon as there is a transition what should the defender be focusing on?

2 Goal trouble

The defender starts with the ball and passes the ball to the attacker. the attacker is trying to score in either of the 2 goals
2 Goal trouble

Purpose:

The purpose of the 1v1 game, similar to some other 1v1 soccer drills and games, is to help players identify space to attack when dribbling

Set up:

  • 1 soccer ball
  • 3 goals
  • 2 players (1 attacker, 1 defender)

How the drill works:

The defender will start with the ball between the 2 goals and pass the ball to the attacker.

The attacker will then have to try and score in either of the 2 goals in front of them.

If they manage to do this they will get 3 points.

However, if the defender is able to steal the ball and score in the single goal then they will get 1 point.

After 5 attempts the defender and attacker will swap.

Coaching points:

  • Dribble with your head up so you can see where the space is to attack
  • Keep the ball close while dribbling and using skills to beat the defender
  • Use a quick change of direction and speed to attack the space.

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you see where the head is?
  • What type of touches should you take to keep the ball close?
  • What should you do when you want to attack space?

Trucks and trailers

One  soccer player is a truck and the other is the trailer. The truck is trying to get as far away from the trailer as possible.
Trucks and trailers game

Purpose:

The purpose of the 1v1 soccer drill is to improve players dribbling and passing ability

Set up:

  • 15 x 10-yard area
  • 2 soccer balls pair

How the drill works:

In their pairs, one of the players will be the truck with the other player being the trailer.

The truck must get as far away from the trailer as possible, with the trailer trying to stay as close to the truck as possible.

When the coach says freeze both players will stand still, with the trailer then pass their soccer ball to hit the truck’s soccer ball. (The truck cannot protect or move their soccer ball)

If the trailer manages this, they will get 1 point.

After each round, the players will swap roles

Coaching points:

  • Keep your head up to see where your partner is
  • Take small, fast touches while dribbling to be able to change direction quickly
  • Use the inside of your foot when passing the ball

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you see where your partner is?
  • What can you do to help you change direction fast?
  • Which part of the foot should you use when passing the soccer ball?

Here are some more fun soccer games for kids

Get to the endzone

this 1v1 soccer drill has 2 players. The defender is passing the ball
Get to the end zone

Purpose:

The purpose of this 1v1 game is to help players attack the defender and use deceleration to stop the ball.

Set up:

  • 10 x 7-yard area with 2, 1-yard end zones
  • 1 soccer ball per pair

How the drill works:

In their pairs, the players will be an attacker with the other player being a defender.

The defender will start with the ball and pass the ball to the attacker.

As soon as the pass is played the defender can pressure the attacker.

The attacker must try and dribble past the defender and stop the ball in the endzone.

If they manage this they will get 3 points, however, every time they dribble through the endzone without stopping the ball they will get 1 point.

If the defender is able to steal the ball and stop it in the attacker’s end zone they will get 1 point.

The players will rotate roles when a point is scored or when the ball goes out of bounds.

Coaching points:

  • Use skills and body feints to try and get past the defender
  • Combine your skills and body feints with a change of speed and direction
  • Take smaller touches to keep the soccer ball close to you

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What can you use to try and get past the defender?
  • What else can you try to help beat the defenders?
  • How can you keep the ball close to you?

1v1 Chaos

There 2 teams in this 1v1 soccer drill, where 3 individuals 1v1s are taking place.
1v1 Chaos

Purpose:

The purpose of the drill is to help players be more aware of their surroundings while dribbling

Set up:

  • 15 x 10-yard field
  • 2 teams of 3 ( 3 defending, 3 attacking)
  • 3 Soccer balls
  • 4 goals

How the drill works:

The defending and attacking team will pair up, with the defending team starting with the ball and passing to their opposite attacker.

This will create 3, separate 1v1s.

The attackers must try and shoot at any of the 3 goals, for each goal they score they will get 1 point.

However, if they can all score in different goals they will get 5 points.

If the defenders are able to take the ball they can score in the opposite goal for 1 point.

The defenders and attackers can only play against their pair in the initial match-up.

The teams will change roles when all the goals have been scored or if the ball goes out of bounds.

Coaching points:

  • Keep your head up while you dribble the ball so you can see what is happening around you
  • Accelerate into gaps between the defenders to exploit space
  • Use different skills combined with a change of direction and speed

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • Where should you be looking while dribbling the ball?
  • How can you exploit the spaces?
  • What can you do to beat the defenders?

Protect the ball

There are 2 players in a 1v1 soccer drill. One player is holding off another player
Protect the ball soccer game

Purpose:

The purpose of this 1v1 drill is to help players to stop them losing the ball in soccer

Set up:

  • 10 x 10 -yard area
  • 1 soccer ball per pair

How the drill works:

In their pairs, 1 player will start with the ball with the other one trying to take the ball.

At the end of 30 seconds whoever has the ball will get a point.

The winning player will be the one who has the most points at the end of the round.

Coaching points:

  • Stand in a side-on-body position between the ball and the defender
  • Control and dribble the ball using your front foot
  • keep your knees bent with a wide stance to help keep your balance

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What position should you be standing in to protect the ball from the defender?
  • Which foot should you be using to control and dribble the ball?
  • How can you help keep your balance while protecting the ball?

Race to the cone 1v1

there are 2 soccer players in this 1v1 soccer game. One player is a leader and the other is a follow. The first play past the cone wins
1v1 Cone race

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill, similar to the other 1v1 soccer drills is to help players get better at using quick changes of direction at speed.

Set up:

  • 4 cones (1-yard either side of the middle for both players)
  • 2 tall cones (10-yards apart)
  • 1 soccer ball per player

How the drill works:

Both players will start in the middle with a soccer ball, standing opposite each other.

One of the players will be the leader and the other the follower.

The leader must choose a tall cone to race to, with the follower trying to beat them.

The leader change direction while in between their cones, however, once they are past the cone they must run to the tall cone on that side.

If the leader wins they get 3 points, if the follower wins they get 1 point.

After each round, the players will swap roles.

Coaching points:

  • Use small touches to keep the ball close so it is easier to change direction.
  • Try body feints to trick the opposition player as to which direction you are going
  • Once you know which tall you want to go to take a big touch and accelerate towards it.

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What type of touches should I take when wanting to change direction?
  • How can you trick the opposition player?
  • What should you do when you know you want to race toward a tall cone?

1 vs 1 Games | final thoughts

These 1v1 soccer drills will provide your players with a wide range of skills that they can use to get past the opposition defender.

Remember there are a variety of ways a player can succeed in a 1v1, a player doesn’t always have to dribble past their opponent.

If you are practicing 1v1 soccer drills, you may want to introduce 1v1 defending drills too!

If hope found the 1v1 soccer drills and games helpful, please share them with a coach who could use these too!

Want more drills? We have over 300+ soccer drills.

Thank you for reading and sharing,

Toby

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