What Types of Cones are Effective for Soccer Training?

Expert section: Mate Kontra – I’ve played soccer at a very high level all my life. I’ve been coached by ex-pro, D1, and Academy level coaches, currently playing at the MLS-Next level as a wingback in California. Here are the types of cones you should use to train for soccer. 

Soccer Photo

Cones are one of the most valuable tools that players can use to practice core skills due to their versatility in creating different exercises. 

Anything from basic techniques on the ball to advanced agility work is possible using cones without any additional equipment. 

The issue is that too many types of cones, or obstacles, are available on the market. 

Different cones can have vastly different uses, and many players are unsure which one they should purchase. 

But don’t worry, because we made this article specifically to discuss the different cones available on the market today. 

We will include different versions of each cone, their uses, the best skills to train with them, and our opinion based on experience. 


Related article: Why Cone Exercises Are Important for Your Soccer Development

Soccer Player Cone Exercise
‘Soccer Player Performing a Cone Dribbling Exercise’ (#1 Unsplash – Nigel Mispa)

The 5 Types of Cones You Should Use for Soccer Training

So now that we know a little bit about cones, which ones should you use for soccer training? 

Here is our list of different types of cones, discussing skills to train with them and our honest opinion about each. 

Let’s get right into it!

Various Soccer Cones on a Trolly
‘Various Soccer Cones on a Trolly’ (#2 Pixably – alexandraloves)

#1: Flat Sports Cones 

Flat sports cones are the most common type of cone used for soccer training. 

These cones have four versions, each differentiated by their size compared to each other. 

To keep a logical order, we will start with the smallest version and then progress to the largest. 

1. Rubber Pucks

Rubber pucks are the smallest of the four, as they’re flat rubber disks designed to minimize interference with the ball during an exercise. 

They’re the most useful in small areas due to their size, and they can even be used indoors on slick surfaces due to their rubbery texture.

Out of all cones, they interfere the least with the ball during an exercise, so they’re great for practicing skill moves or dribbling techniques. 

Various colors are available, so they’re clearly visible regardless of the playing surface. 

Remember, these pucks are completely flat, so it’s easier to notice them from a distance if they have a bright color. 

Our opinion? 

Rubber pucks are a must-have for players who practice in a small environment or on a slick surface, such as concrete. 

I have experience with plastic cones, and not only do they constantly interfere with the ball in small environments, but they can also be quite slippery. 

Stepping on them while practicing on a hard surface, such as concrete, can be dangerous because they slip very easily. 

Rubber pucks resolve both issues simultaneously because they don’t interfere with the ball during an exercise and stick to all surfaces. 

2. Mini Cones

Mini cones are similar to rubber pucks in size, but the difference is that they have a cone shape and are made of plastic. 

These cones minimally interfere with the ball during an exercise because they’re small, making them great for practicing skill moves or dribbling techniques. 

The only drawback is that they’re made of plastic, which can be hazardous to use on flat surfaces, such as concrete.

Plastic slips on concrete, so stepping on them can cause players to fall and injure themselves. 

Our opinion? 

For players planning on practicing only on turf or grass, I recommend mini cones for their versatility. 

They’re small enough to be used in a tight environment to practice ball skills but also large enough to be visible from a distance when used as an out-of-bounds marker. 

I prefer mini cones for individual practice on turf because they’re completely visible and barely ever interfere with exercises. 

I only recommend using larger cones when the playing zone is massive because that might cause visibility issues with mini cones. 

3. Regular Cones

Regular cones have the same shape as mini cones but are roughly twice as large. 

These cones occupy more space than mini cones and rubber pucks, so they often interfere with exercises that include a ball. 

Since they interfere more often, these cones are better for setting up agility, change of pace, or conditioning exercises. 

The larger area required for these exercises makes regular cones the perfect size for visibility.

Our opinion? 

Regular-sized cones can be used for almost anything, but they’re not necessarily the best in any category. 

For example, there are better options for minimizing exercise interference, and there are also better options for marking playing zones. 

With that said, it’s possible to use regular cones for exercises that include a ball, but sometimes it gets very frustrating. 

4. Large cones

As the name suggests, large cones are the biggest of the four main types of soccer cones. 

These are primarily used to mark large playing areas and conditioning exercises that require more space. 

Their size makes them visible from any distance, so they’re great for applications such as marking 50-100 yard distances for conditioning exercises. 

Other than that, they don’t have any use because they’re too large. 

Our opinion?

I’ve never used large cones for training because even the regular cones are too large for exercises that include a ball. 

Regular cones are already large enough to interfere with ball exercises, so large cones are no-question impractical for individual training. 

I recommend using large cones only for marking playing areas or conditioning distances because they’re too large for everything else. 

I’ve tried countless exercises with large cones, and they’re more enjoyable with small cones. 

Soccer Dribbling
‘Woman Soccer Player Dribbling Ball With Close Control’ (#3 Envato – Image-Source)

#2: Pyramid Cones

Pyramid cones generally have the same use as large cones due to their size and shape. 

They’re large and stick out from the ground, so players can easily see them from a distance. 

However, pyramid cones are much taller, so players can see them from farther away. 

Our opinion? 

Pyramid cones have little to no benefit for soccer training. 

The only time it was better to use pyramid cones instead of flat cones was in a group conditioning setting. 

We used pyramid cones to mark the running trail to ensure nobody got lost in the area. 

While this can be a great use of pyramid cones, they don’t have any advantages over flat cones. 

#3: Poles

Poles are similar to cones because they’re commonly used to perform agility exercises. 

The difference is that poles extend to head height, while cones are ankle height or below. 

However, training with poles is also more challenging because players have to move their entire body around the obstacle, compared to a cone they can step over. 

Additionally, it increases the complexity of agility exercises and makes it possible to create realistic dribbling and shooting exercises. 

Our opinion? 

Poles are a fantastic tool for practicing agility and changing directions without a ball.

While performing exercises with a cone is simple, shifting the entire body around an obstacle requires more skill. 

So using a pole instead of a cone will benefit players in the long run because they will be more skilled at shifting their center of gravity and changing directions. 

It’s also possible to perform exercises with a ball through poles.

Though, I don’t recommend dribbling exercises with poles because players will focus on the agility aspect, not the dribbling technique, which can create bad habits. 

#4: Hurdles

Hurdles are another excellent tool to practice because they function similarly to cones. 

They’re also available in different sizes for different types of exercises, but shin height hurdles are the best for soccer training.

The primary use for hurdles is agility or plyometric exercises that improve players’ athleticism. 

But for a more dynamic training session, they’re often combined with exercises that also involve a ball. 

For example, I frequently combine passing practice with agility training by kicking a ball below a hurdle after each exercise repetition. 

Our opinion?

Aside from plyometric training and different passing & dribbling exercises, hurdles don’t offer more than regular flat cones. 

Flat cones can do the same job as hurdles, which is why it’s unnecessary to spend extra if you already have cones. 

But either way, cones are more versatile than hurdles, so there is no reason to purchase hurdles instead of cones. 

Unless they’re used to indicate the specific exercise in circuit training or have a particular use, I recommend flat cones over hurdles. 

Women Soccer Players Performing Agility Exercises With Hurdles
‘Women Soccer Players Performing Agility Exercises With Hurdles’ (#4 Envato – Image-Source)

#5: Agility Ladder

Lastly, agility ladders are also similar to cones because they provide an excellent platform for agility and coordination exercises. 

As cones can be set up for players to perform change-of-direction exercises, agility ladders are already made to be used for agility training. 

They have to be unfolded onto the ground, and players can start performing the exercises. 

The most significant difference is that agility ladders are only suitable for training off-ball skills, while cones can be used with or without a ball. 

Our opinion? 

Agility is a key component of soccer that all players must be great at to succeed. 

And while agility ladders are a great way to improve the skill, cones are a better purchase overall because they’re more versatile, allowing players to perform more exercises. 

Additionally, they don’t need to worry about bringing more gear to the pitch because most skills can already be practiced with a couple of cones. 

Personally, I own an agility ladder, but I don’t use it very often because I always have cones in my ball bag. 

Agility Ladder Set Up for Soccer Training
‘Agility Ladder Set Up for Soccer Training’ (#5 Pexels – Chris K)


There are several types of cones, or obstacles, that are useful for practicing soccer skills. 

The most notable examples are flat cones, pyramid cones, poles, hurdles, and agility ladders. 

However, if we had to recommend only one, it would be mini soccer cones, preferably in a bright yellow color to ensure that it’s visible on any surface. 

Here is why:

Soccer players commonly use cones to practice dribbling techniques, skill moves, or agility work. 

Mini soccer cones are great for practicing dribbling techniques because they’re tiny, which minimizes interference with the foot and the ball. 

For the same reason, players can also effectively practice skill moves with mini soccer cones. 

Agility work is also practical with mini cones because it allows players to construct their change-of-pace exercises without additional equipment. 

Furthermore, mini cones stick out from the ground, so they’re visible from a distance, making them great for marking playing zones or conditioning checkpoints. 

Overall, mini soccer cones perform the best across the board, with or without a ball. 

Image Attribution & Licensing

Featured Image: ‘Soccer Player Setting Up Soccer Exercises With Cones’ by Pressmaster (Licensed via Envato Elements)

#1: ‘Soccer Player Performing a Cone Dribbling Exercise’ by Nigel Mispa (Licensed via Unsplash)

#2: ‘Various Soccer Cones on a Trolly’ by alexandraloves (Licensed via Pixably)

#3: ‘Woman Soccer Player Dribbling Ball With Close Control’ by Image-Source (Licensed via Envato Elements)

#4: ‘Women Soccer Players Performing Agility Exercises With Hurdles’ by Image-Source (Licensed via Envato Elements)

#5: ‘Agility Ladder Set Up for Soccer Training’ by Chris K (Licensed via Pexels)