How to Train Soccer Without a Partner?

Expert section: Mate Kontra – I’ve played soccer at a very high level all my life. Throughout my time playing, I’ve been coached by ex-pro, D1, and Academy level coaches, currently playing at the MLS-Next level as a wingback in California. A significant aspect of what separated me from my competition was my individual practice outside of training, exercising key skills that helped me excel in soccer games. Let me share my experience so you can do the same!

Soccer Photo

All players who want to excel at soccer must train even during their free time to separate themselves from their competition. 

While these players often prefer to train with a partner due various advantages it provides, there may only sometimes be a person willing to help them. 

So what should you do? 

For beginners, go out and train anyway. 

But how do you train effectively all by yourself? 

To be concise, players can effectively train individually by practicing skills that translate directly into a team environment. 

If that’s all you needed to get started, then great, we’re glad to have helped!

But if you need more assistance, be sure to stick around because, in the following segments, we discuss ways that soccer players can train their skills without the help of a partner. 


Related article: Best Places to Buy Soccer Equipment for Beginners

LaLiga Soccer Balls Set Up for Practice
‘LaLiga Soccer Balls Set Up for Practice’ (#1 Unsplash – Travel Nomades)

How to Train Soccer Skills Without the Help of a Partner? – Four Skills

So how do you go about training soccer skills without the help of a partner? 

As we said previously, effective individual training consists of practicing skills that translate directly into a team environment without studying tactics or changing the style of play. 

The central idea is to improve skills that require no additional steps to translate onto the pitch other than practicing them. 

We will be talking about each of the skills that fall under this category, as well as ways to practice them without the help of a partner. 

If you want reassurance that your practice will translate onto the pitch immediately, I recommend talking to your coach about it. 

Ask them to advise you about your weaknesses and how you could practice them. 

With that said, the following skills are an integral part of improving in soccer regardless, and practicing them has helped me drastically improve my game in just a couple of months. 

But remember, consistency is the key to improving. 

Soccer Players Playing a Rondo Minigame
‘Soccer Players Playing a Rondo Minigame’ (#2 Pexels – Edgar Wetsing Tankou)

#1: Ball Control

Having the ability to receive and control the ball with all parts of the body is a crucial skill to master in soccer. 

Before dribbling the ball, making a pass, or scoring goals, players must be able to receive the ball flawlessly and set themselves up for success. 

The easiest way to maintain possession of the ball is to receive the ball well and give no chance for the opponents to catch you off-guard. 

So how do you practice it? 

Wall Juggling

Wall juggling is the best method for improving ball control, even better than partner juggling. 

It incorporates every part of ball control into one exercise that requires constant focus and good technique. 

So how is it performed?

First, find a smooth wall at least head level height, and ensure it’s not private property. 

The best places to find these walls are sports parks, public parks, or playgrounds. 

Then, juggle the ball next to the wall. 

Between juggles, kick the ball against the wall and let it bounce back so that you can control it in the air and keep juggling it. 

The goal is to take two touches between passes against the wall. 

The first is the controlling touch to set up for the pass, and the second is the pass to the wall. 

Be sure to practice controlling the ball with various body parts, such as laces, outside and inside of the foot, thighs, chest, and shoulder. 

From my experience, it takes several weeks of consistent practice to master this drill, but it will drastically improve your ball control skills. 

Professional Soccer Player Controlling Soccer Ball
‘Professional Soccer Player Controlling Soccer Ball’ (#3 Pexels – Franxo Monslavo)

#2: Passing

Many passing techniques are crucial for success in soccer, but nothing beats the most fundamental way; the short pass.

Short passes are crucial because they’re the quickest and the most efficient method of outplaying the opponents on the pitch. 

Consistency and great technique are required to be effective on the pitch, which players can practice individually. 

Mastering short passes translates directly onto the pitch in the form of more successful passes, making you a reliable player during games.

Here are three ways to practice short passes.

1. Wall or Rebounder

To master the short passing quickly, I recommend using a wall or rebounder to practice the skill. 

The exercise involves players passing a ball against a smooth wall with great technique. 

Each time the ball bounces back, players take one touch to pass the ball flat across the playing surface to hit the wall again. 

This exercise allows players to perform up to thousands of repetitions in a single session, which is a great way to develop muscle memory for correct technique. 

I prefer a wall, or even a tall curb, over a rebounder because walls will always provide a bounce with speed similar to my pass. 

Rebounders often absorb most of the energy and give a weak bounce for players. 

Using weak bounces to practice can be harmful because if players get used to it, they will not learn how to control firm passes in a real match. 

2. Goal Frame

A similar method for practicing passes is with the help of a goal frame. 

Goals free to use on a sports field will often have a metal frame that holds its wheels for easy transportation. 

Lowering the wheels raises the frame several inches above the ground so players can use it as a rebounder. 

Whenever a wall was unavailable or I couldn’t afford a rebounder, this was my go-to method to perform as many passing repetitions as possible.

It works as well, if not better than the previous method. 

The benefit is that players can wear their cleats when using the goal frame, considering the goal is on grass or turf, while walls are usually on concrete. 

3. Your Exercise + Pass Between Cones

If walls or rebounders are unavailable, a great way to practice passes is to practice passing between two cones.

I recommend combining it with another short exercise, such as agility or dribbling sequences. 

These make the exercise more dynamic and enjoyable. 

Several soccer balls are helpful during exercise, so players don’t have to retrieve them after every repetition.  

This way, players can repeat the technique consecutively without stopping. 

It’s less efficient than the previous training methods because it takes more energy to perform fewer repetitions, however, it’s quality practice. 

To be successful at this exercise, players must constantly focus on technique and accuracy, while the previous two methods have room to be sloppy. 

It’s impossible to perform it correctly by going through the motions, which is why I love this exercise. 

Soccer Player Passing the Soccer Ball
‘Soccer Player Passing the Soccer Ball’ (#4 Pexels – Hardy Pictures)

#3: Dribbling

Dribbling is a core skill necessary for players to manipulate the ball effectively. 

It’s crucial to master the technique because muscle memory is relied upon while players scan the field for open teammates or other options. 

So mastering dribbling techniques on the ball will immediately affect a player’s game because it allows them to look up more often to make better decisions. 

But how do you practice dribbling when alone? 

How to practice?

The simplest way to practice this skill is to dribble in a straight line without looking down at the ball. 

It perfectly mimics the movements in a match, so it translates directly into a team environment. 

But this is too easy to master; it doesn’t even provide a challenge. 

So what’s a more challenging way of practicing dribbling techniques? 

A popular way to practice dribbling is by performing sequences around obstacles or cones

Dribbling sequences allow players to perform endless repetitions and develop muscle memory quickly. 

But remember, this does not train reactions or reaction times because players perform the same move repeatedly. 

How can you incorporate reaction training into dribbling practice with cones? 

The best way is to drop cones randomly on the ground, with approximately one foot of space between each cone. 

Mini cones or rubber pucks work the best, but it’s possible to set it up with normal-sized cones too. 

After setting it up, dribble through the gaps between the cones, taking a different path for each repetition. 

Be sure to use both feet with different parts of the foot and various dribbling skills that still need to be improved. 

Female Soccer Player Practicing Dribbling Sequence
‘Female Soccer Player Practicing Dribbling Sequence’ (#5 Pexels – Anastasia Shuraeva)

#4: Shooting (Finishing)

Though scoring goals may be a less universal skill, most players will be in a scoring situation sooner or later. 

Training finishing skills will ensure that when it comes time to put the ball into the back of the net, it will be like second nature. 

Finishing translates directly to the pitch in the form of having the ability to score goals. 

Of course, it does require tactical knowledge to create a goal-scoring opportunity, but once you’re in it, your finishing ability is the only determining factor of scoring. 

Goal contributions are huge difference-makers in most soccer matches, so it’s a vital skill for almost any player. 

So how do you practice it? 

Bottom Corners

The most consistent way to score goals is by slotting the ball on the ground past the keeper as if it was a pass. 

Players can do this by placing the ball as far as possible from the goalkeeper so they can’t save the shot. 

The best way to practice this without a goalkeeper is to place two cones on the goal line, close to each post, to create two small gaps on the opposite sides of the goal. 

Players will then practice their finishing by firmly passing the ball through these gaps at the corners of the goal. 

I usually combine this exercise with another, such as an agility or dribbling sequence, to make it more fun. 

Side net

Side net is similar to the previous exercise to practice finishing because it also focuses on putting the ball in the corner of the goal, but this time for aerial shots. 

The best way to put the ball into the corner of the net, where the goalkeeper can’t reach it, is to aim for the side net behind the goalposts. 

Correct technique is similar to a cross, deliberately aiming with the inside of the foot to curve the ball into the corner of the goal. 

Players can practice this technique isolated or with a combination of other exercises.

I prefer combining it with a short dribbling exercise before shooting to make it match-realistic, but both are enjoyable and work well. 

Soccer Player Shooting a Soccer Ball
‘Soccer Player Shooting a Soccer Ball’ (#6 Pexels – Lucas Andrade)


Ball control is a crucial skill that will translate directly into a team environment and can be trained alone. 

Wall juggling is the next best method if a partner isn’t available because it simulates game scenarios perfectly. 

Additionally, it allows players to practice with all parts of their body to control the ball. 

Passing is the second skill players can practice in an individual training environment. 

Walls, rebounders, and curbs are among the best ways to practice the skill because they allow players to use repetition to develop muscle memory for great technique. 

These methods require no partner and are widely available for players to use. 

Dribbling is also a core skill players can practice individually to enhance their performance in a team environment. 

With dribbling sequences, players can develop muscle memory for great dribbling techniques, which they can rely on during a game. 

Players can encourage creativity and improvisation by setting up random obstacle patterns with cones for dribbling practice. 

Believe it or not, finishing is another skill that all players should practice. 

Sooner or later, everyone will experience a goal-scoring situation in which finishing the play is the only skill that matters. 

Players can make a huge difference in important games by learning to put the ball in the back of the net, potentially winning a decisive match for their team. 

Image Attribution & Licensing

Featured Image: ‘Soccer Player Drinking After Vigorous Practice’ by RDNE Stock Project (Licensed via Pexels)

#1: ‘LaLiga Soccer Balls Set Up for Practice’ by Travel Nomades (Licensed via Unsplash)

#2: ‘Soccer Players Playing a Rondo Minigame’ by Edgar Wetsing Tankou (Licensed via Pexels)

#3: ‘Professional Soccer Player Controlling Soccer Ball’ by Franco Monslavo (Licensed via Pexels)

#4: ‘Soccer Player Passing the Soccer Ball’ by Hardy Pictures (Licensed via Pexels)

#5: ‘Female Soccer Player Practicing Dribbling Sequence’ by Anastasia Shuraeva (Licensed via Pexels)

#6: ‘Soccer Player Shooting a Soccer Ball’ by Lucas Andrade (Licensed via Pexels)