What Are the Best Ways to Practice Soccer at Home?

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. Today, I will show you how to improve your game without leaving the comfort of your home!

Soccer Photo

Consistent improvement is a crucial part of a soccer player’s development if they want to make it to the next level. 

Even when players don’t want to or have the means to leave their homes to practice, they must make an effort to improve. 

While finding effective ways to improve at home is difficult, it’s not impossible. 

In today’s article, we will go over seven ways players can improve at soccer without leaving the comfort of their homes. 

We will discuss methods that require no additional gear and ways that involve popular equipment that many players already own. 

If you’re stuck at home, eager to improve your game while others are resting, this article is for you!

Enjoy!

Related article: How to Train Soccer Without a Partner?

Soccer Player Drinking After Vigorous Practice
‘Soccer Player Drinking After Vigorous Practice’ (#1 Pexels – RDNE Stock Project)

How to effectively train for soccer at home?

So, how do you train for soccer away from sports fields, training partners, or a goal? 

The shortest way to describe it is adapting to the home environment and replicating effective training practices with appropriate equipment or, in some cases, no equipment. 

We will first discuss practice methods that all players can do at home that require no equipment and then follow with other great exercises where equipment is necessary. 

With that out of the way, let’s get right into it!

#1: Body Weight Exercises

Body weight exercises are the first to come to mind when considering no-equipment workouts. 

These exercises use only body weight as resistance to workout muscle groups in the body, which is why equipment is unnecessary. 

Instead of focusing on maximal strength with heavy weights, these exercises allow players to build endurance by doing more repetitions while increasing strength. 

Both are crucial elements of performance throughout a soccer match.

The best part is that there are countless exercises for every muscle in the body that players can do anywhere. 

That said, accessories are also available to help players perform challenging variations of different exercises. 

To be more specific, a pullup bar or multi-function pullup bar.

Pullup Bar vs. Multi-Function Pullup Bar

The cheapest and most accessible equipment that can help players perform more challenging exercises is a pullup bar

These are generally fixed to the top of a doorframe to support a person’s body weight.

Pullup bars are great for several different pullup variations to work different muscles, as well as core exercises.  

I recommend this to players on a budget who want more of a challenge compared to no-equipment bodyweight exercises. 

Basic pullup bars are available for less than $10 at sporting stores or online. 

A more advanced version of the pullup bar is a multi-function bar

Multi-function bars allow players to perform more pullup variations, pushup variations, and countless core exercises. 

It allows players to work out more muscle groups than a regular pullup bar. 

Multi-function bars are available for less than $20 for a basic version, but higher-quality models can go for over $50. 

Doorway Pullup BarMulti-Function Pullup Bar
PullupsXX
Core ExercisesXX
PushupsX
Lower Body PotentialX

What do I recommend? 

I recommend finding a multi-function pullup bar for around $20, but a basic bar will do fine for players on a tight budget. 

I bought my multi-function bar for $25, which I still use after several years. 

The versatility makes it worth every penny, unmatched by any other equipment I’ve used. 

With enough creativity, even lower-body exercises are possible.

The only downside of cheaper bars is that they cannot be attached to the door frame, so explosive movements can cause it to fall off. 

Additionally, the door can’t be closed while it’s hanging on the door frame, so remember to remove it before swinging it shut. 

Athlete Performing Pull Ups in the Gym
‘Athlete Performing Pull Ups in the Gym’ (#2 Pexels – Ruslan Khmelevsky)

#2: Resistance Training

Resistance training refers to exercises that use some type of resistance to train muscles in the body for strength and endurance, often with the use of weights.

It is helpful for players to perform resistance training because it is one of the best ways to improve strength. 

This type of training is also relatively easy to perform at home, but it does require minimal equipment to start. 

To start resistance training at home, I recommend using resistance bands or dumbbells. 

Both are accessible in most sports stores, with resistance bands being much cheaper than dumbbells. 

Resistance Bands vs. Dumbbells

One of the best ways to start resistance training at home is with the use of resistance bands

Resistance bands are versatile because they provide additional resistance for any bodyweight exercise, as well as countless warm-up exercises. 

Depending on the strength and brand of the resistance band, they are available for as low as $10. 

I recommend finding a bundle with several resistance bands of different strengths, which costs as low as $20-30. 

Dumbbells are also a great starting point because of their versatility. 

Pretty much every muscle can be trained with dumbbells, making them a great option to have at home. 

Additionally, since dumbbells can provide much more resistance than rubber bands, it takes more time for muscles to outgrow them. 

Adjustable dumbbells are the most practical for home use, which costs over $100 at the low end.  

Resistance BandsDumbbells
AffordableX
VersatileXX
Better for beginnersX
Resistance Potential X

Which one do I recommend? 

I recommend starting with resistance bands, especially for people who don’t typically work out besides soccer training. 

Before doing heavy weight, it’s a good idea to work out with bodyweight exercises because they work several muscle groups simultaneously. 

This prevents certain muscles from getting strong while others stay unconditioned. 

Resistance bands are also much safer than weights, reducing the likelihood of injury. 

Athlete Performing Bulgarian Split-Squats with Dumbbells
‘Athlete Performing Bulgarian Split-Squats with Dumbbells’ (#3 Unsplash – Matthew Sicharuk)

#3: Tennis Ball Juggling

Tennis ball juggling is primarily great for improving technical ability on the ball. 

Soccer balls may not be appropriate inside the house due to their size and weight, so tennis balls are a suitable replacement. 

Tennis balls are small and light, so they won’t damage windows, screens, or furniture. 

Not only that but due to the small size of the tennis balls, it takes more skill to juggle them, making it easier to get better at it. 

Juggling is a crucial skill for soccer players because the better they are at it, the better their ball control is. 

Any skill related to receiving or kicking the ball will also improve by getting better at juggling. 

Tennis balls sell for as low as $10 a pack and even lower for dog toy tennis balls. 

Regular Tennis Balls vs. Dog Toy Tennis Balls

Regular tennis balls are the primary choice for improving juggling skills due to their availability in sporting stores. 

They are hard but light, making them easier to feel while juggling. 

A better feeling of the ball allows players to learn the ball quicker and improve rapidly.  

Unlike regular tennis balls, dog toy versions are much softer and often smaller. 

This makes them safer to use in the house because they’re unlikely to break anything.

Dog tennis balls also several dollars cheaper, and if you own a dog, you could borrow theirs for free. 

Regular Tennis BallsDog Toy Tennis Balls
Challenging to JuggleXX
Widely AvailableXX
CheapXX
More Potential for DamageX

Which one do I recommend? 

I recommend purchasing dog toy tennis balls over regular tennis balls, especially if your house has fragile decorations. 

Regular tennis balls are hard enough to break screens or even crack the paint on the wall when kicked hard enough. 

Dog toy tennis balls are designed with indoor use in mind, so they’re much softer and cause minimal damage in the worst case. 

Cut Dog Chewing a Toy Tennis Ball
‘Cut Dog Chewing a Toy Tennis Ball’ (#4 Unsplash – Tadeusz Lakota)

#4: Foam Ball Wall Juggling

Similar to tennis balls, foam soccer balls are challenging to juggle. 

But why would you get a foam ball instead of a tennis ball? 

Well, foam balls are much softer than tennis balls, so they are unlikely to cause any damage with use around the house. 

More specifically, it will not cause damage to the walls, which allows players to practice wall juggling. 

Wall juggling is a more advanced way to juggle the ball, and it provides practice that resembles game situations much better. 

But not only do foam balls provide the option to practice wall juggling, but they also eliminate the need for a tennis ball. 

A quality example of a foam soccer ball costs around $10. 

Tennis BallsFoam Soccer Balls
JugglingXX
Wall JugglingX
Limited DamageXX
No Damage to WallsX

Which one do I recommend? 

I recommend foam soccer balls because of how much wall juggling helps a player develop their ball control. 

It is a crucial exercise that all players do at higher levels, so being able to do it at home is a significant advantage. 

However, if you do not have an open wall in your home where you can take advantage of wall juggling, a tennis ball works too.  

Golden Retriever Playing With a Tennis Ball
‘Golden Retriever Playing With a Tennis Ball’ (#5 Pexels – Julissia Helmuth)

#5: Cones

Believe it or not, cones are an amazing tool for developing great technique on the ball.

They’re versatile tools that can create all kinds of exercises with a soccer ball, primarily to get better at dribbling

A garage is the perfect home environment to practice with cones, but they can also be used indoors if they are clean. 

So then, what kind of cones are available, and which one should you get? 

For beginners, three types of cones are most useful for practice; regular cones, mini cones, and rubber pucks. 

Cones Comparison

Firstly, the regular cones are the largest of the three, and I find them too large. 

They get in the way of my foot and the ball often, which makes the exercise unnecessarily difficult. 

Sometimes difficult is better because it means more improvement, but in this case, it doesn’t help at all. 

Regular soccer cones cost as low as $6 for twelve pieces. 

Mini cones are the same shape as regular soccer cones but a much smaller size.

These do a better job of not interfering, so I recommend these over regular cones. 

They’re also more portable and cost the same as regular soccer cones, so there is no reason not to get them. 

Rubber pucks are similar to mini cones, but they take it a step further. 

These are small, circular sheets of rubber with bright colors that don’t interfere while practicing. 

They stay out of the way by being thin and flush with the ground.

I love rubber pucks because they make it easy to have a quality session with minimal disruptions. 

Lastly, stepping on the rubber pucks is safer than cones because cones can slip and potentially injure someone. 

The only drawback of pucks is the price, which is between $10-20.

Regular ConesMini ConesRubber Pucks
Minimal DisruptionsXX
CheapXX
Easy to CleanXX
Minimal Injury RiskX

Which one do I recommend?

I recommend rubber pucks for home practice. 

Rubber pucks are the smallest of the three, so they’re the least likely to interfere with the ball or a player’s foot, which is great when practicing in a small area at home. 

I’ve also slipped on cones before, and although I didn’t get hurt, it was not a pleasant experience. 

Soccer Off-Season Training Gear Cones
‘Soccer Training Cones Piled Up’ (#6 Envato – rawf8)

#6: Futsal Shoes

For players who own a garage and have space to practice there, a pair of futsal shoes are great for training soccer at home. 

They allow players to practice game-realistic exercises using a real soccer ball, just like at a sports park. 

Additionally, players who live in a neighborhood with a playground or public park can find a wall to practice wall juggling with a soccer ball. 

As we said, wall juggling is a crucial exercise that high-level players master because it drastically improves ball control skills.

If you need assistance finding the right pair of futsal shoes, please check our guide on how to find the best futsal shoes

White Futsal Shoes Behind a Net
‘White Futsal Shoes Behind a Net’ (#7 Unsplash – Braden Hopkins)

#7: Rebounder

Lastly, a rebounder is one of the best tools to practice at home.

Rebounders are a great tool to practice passing when walls or curbs aren’t available. 

They’re also loud and heavy, so a garage may be necessary to take full advantage of what rebounders have to offer. 

We will discuss two main types of rebounders; netted and hard rebounders. 

Here is a comparison between the two. 

Netted Rebounders vs. Hard Rebounders

Netted rebounders are recognizable due to the rubber net used to rebound the ball to the player. 

These examples are usually large (head height) and have multiple surfaces at different angles to provide different bounces. 

They’re great for outdoor use because they allow players to practice additional skills besides passing. 

Judging by their size, it would be difficult to take full advantage of all the features in a garage – it might be doable with a high ceiling. 

Netted rebounders cost around $150 at the lowest and $200+ for a quality example. 

Hard rebounders are recognizable because they have a flat surface used to rebound the ball to the player. 

These are usually smaller in size, roughly 12 inches tall and 3 feet wide. 

They’re a great alternative for a wall and also work well in a garage to practice passing skills. 

Hard rebounders cost around $100 for a quality example. 

Netted ReboundersHard Rebounders
Garage UseX
Multiple FunctionsX
PortableX
AffordableX

Which one do I recommend? 

For indoor use, I recommend hard rebounders.

Not only are they much easier to use due to their size, but they’re much cheaper. 

I recommend netted rebounders for outdoor use because players can rake full advantage in an open environment, but hard rebounders do just fine in a garage. 

Little Kid Playing Wall Ball With a Soccer Ball
‘Little Kid Playing Wall Ball With a Soccer Ball’ (#8 Envato – annvlasova)

Summary

The easiest way to improve at soccer without leaving home is by performing bodyweight exercises for strength and endurance. 

No equipment is necessary to get started, and there are exercises to target any muscle in the body. 

Players who enjoy it should consider investing in a multi-function pullup bar. 

Resistance training can also drastically increase strength in players, which is a crucial part of performance during a game. 

Minimal equipment is necessary for resistance training, but price differences are massive. 

Resistance bands are a great starting point, while adjustable dumbbells are a more advanced and expensive option. 

Tennis Ball Juggling is one of the best ways to improve ball control without leaving home. 

These balls are much smaller than soccer balls, making them a great option for indoor practice. 

Dog toy tennis balls tend to be better because they’re softer, so there is less chance of breaking fragile decorations. 

Foam Ball Wall Juggling is a more advanced method for practicing ball control at home for players who have enough space in their houses. 

Instead of a tennis ball, a foam ball is used to prevent damaging the wall in any way. 

These can also be a great replacement for tennis balls in general because they’re safe to use indoors.

Cones are a great tool for practicing dribbling techniques for soccer. 

Three main types of soccer cones are available on the market; regular cones, mini cones, and rubber pucks. 

I recommend rubber pucks because they interfere with exercises the least while allowing players to practice in small areas.

Futsal shoes are useful for players with a garage, rebounder, or usable wall to practice soccer outside their homes. 

They allow players to use real soccer balls instead of tennis or foam replicas, making the training more enjoyable. 

Additionally, being able to train in the garage allows for a larger selection of exercises to perform. 

Rebounders are a great option for players who already own a pair of futsal shoes but do not have access to an upright flat surface, such as a wall. 

This equipment helps players develop muscle memory for passing techniques, drastically improving their game. 

I recommend hard rebounders for indoor use because they’re small and cheap. 


Image Attribution & Licensing

Featured Image: ‘Elite Freestyler Practicing Soccer Skills’ by Ivan Siarbolin (Licensed via Pexels)

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

#2: ‘Athlete Performing Pull Ups in the Gym’ by Ruslan Khmelevsky (Licensed via Pexels)

#3: ‘Athlete Performing Bulgarian Split-Squats with Dumbbells’ by Matthew Sicharuk (Licensed via Unsplash)

#4: ‘Golden Retriever Playing With a Tennis Ball’ by Julissia Helmuth (Licensed via Pexels)

#5: ‘Soccer Training Cones Piled Up’ by rawf8 (Licensed via Envato)

#6: ‘Soccer Training Cones Piled Up’ by rawf8 (Licensed via EnvatoElements)

#7: ‘White Futsal Shoes Behind a Net’ by Braden Hopkins (Licensed via Unsplash)

#8: ‘Little Kid Playing Wall Ball With a Soccer Ball’ by annvlasova (Licensed via EnvatoElements)