Outdoor Training Sessions | Turning and Changing Direction

Training - Turning

Standard warm-up (5–10 min/hr)


This warm-up drill should be used at the beginning of all the sessions, including this  session. This warm-up is designed to:

  • Start the practice with some light activity for the players.
  • Improve the player’s skill handling the ball.
Field setup and video

Place cones to form a rectangular-box shape. The box should be big enough to gives players room to move but not too big that the players cannot see each other or they cannot hear your calls.  For example with 10 players,  create a box approximately 20 by 30 yards. This box will be used for the entire training session.

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Balls: One per player.

Player dribbles ball around within box using all sides of both feet and then does one of the following moves called out by the coach for a few seconds. Then coach calls out to dribble  before calling next move.

  • Toe tapPlayer quickly taps bottom of toes on top of ball alternating between right and left foot. Hide
  • ShufflePlayer passes ball between the feet while lifting legs and jumping slightly. Hide
  • Step overWithout moving the ball the player steps over ball to the right with the right foot and then steps over the ball to the left with the left foot. Hide
  • Circle right or left with inside of footUsing the inside of one foot, the player moves the ball clockwise with left foot or counterclockwise with right foot. Hide
  • Circle right or left with outside of footUsing the outside of one foot, the player moves the ball clockwise with right foot or counterclockwise with left foot. Hide
  • Roll ballStanding behind or beside the ball, the player rolls the ball forward, left or right using the bottom of foot. Hide
  • PullbackPlayer dribbles ball forward a couple of steps and then pulls the ball back with bottom of right foot while turning 180 degrees. Player then dribbles a couple of steps and pulls ball back with bottom of left foot while turning 180 degrees. Hide
  • Shield ballUsing a combination of the circle left or right and the pullback with right foot or left, player moves forward and back in a half circle  to shield the ball from a pretend opponent. Leave it up to the player, but the player should be encouraged to use the weaker foot an equal amount of time as the stronger foot. Hide

Option. To add some fun to the drill, get the players to count the number of times they do each move and have them call out their score to create a bit of competition.

Coaching points

Encourage the players to:

  • Keep the ball close to maintain control.
  • Move as quickly as possible.
  • Keep their head up as much as possible.
  • When applicable, use both feet and use both sides of the foot.

Technique: Turning (10–12 min/hr)


This drill will help develop the technique of turning with the ball using a number of different moves.

Field setup and video

Setup a line of cones approximately 8 yards from the side where the players will line up.



Balls: One for each group of two players.

  1. Have the players chose a partner and line up in single file with partner and one ball along the touch line. Have the groups spread out along the touch line.
  2. First player in line dribbles out to the cone line, does a turn, and then passes the ball back to their partner.

Turns can be any of the following:

  • Turn using inside of foot.
  • Turn using outside of foot.
  • Pullback or drag back.

For more experienced players:

  • Cruyff turn. Fake the pass or shot and turn the ball back with the inside of the toe of the same foot.
  • Step-over turn. Step over the ball, turn body back in opposite direction of step-over and touch the ball back with the inside of the opposite foot.
Coaching points
  • Always keep the ball moving.
  • Turn with the ball so you can always see it.
  • Encourage use of both feet.
  • Progress to emphasize quickness and consistency.

Skill: 1 vs 1 with 4 goals (10–12 min/hr)


The purpose of the skill drill is to further develop the skill of turning and changing direction by introducing a defender.

Field setup and video

Remove the inside cones from the Technique session and setup a mini grid using just half the field with two goals per side in the corners and a cone at each end in the centre between the goals.

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Balls: Coach keeps balls and feeds in one at a time.

  1. Divide the players into two teams and have one team put on the pinnies.
  2. Have one team line up in single file in the centre between the goals on one side and the other team line up in the centre between the goals on the other side.
  3. The coach passes the ball in from the side to either one of the players at the start of the lines.
  4. The player with the ball tries to dribble through one of the goals of the other team while the defender tries to take the ball away.
  5. If the defender takes the ball away, they should try to dribble through the opponent’s goal.

Option: If you want to match up the players by skill level, give the players  from opposing teams the same number and then call out a number.

Coaching points
  • Encourage the players to use turns and quick changes of direction to get past the defender.
  • Encourage the players to control the ball when they first get it.

Small-sided game: Switch (20–25 min/hr)


The purposes of the small-sided games are to:

  • Let the players have some fun. Most players prefer to play a game to doing drills.
  • Give the players an opportunity to practice what they have learned.
  • Get the players ready to play a real game against another team.
Field setup and video

Remove any cones from inside the box and convert or make sure the end lines  have three goals.

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Balls: Coach keeps and feeds in balls one in at a time.

  1. Divide the players into two teams and have one team put on the pinnies.
  2. Divide each team into two groups.
  3. For each team, have half the team move into positions inside the playing field and the other half line up along their end line.
  4. On “Go!”, have one team start with the ball and try to get the ball into the other team’s goal.
  5. At appropriate intervals, such as when a goal is scored or the ball goes off the side, tell the players to switch. On “Switch”, the inside players move to the end line and the end line players move into the field. When necessary, to keep the game moving, the coach feeds new ball in to restart game.
  6. On restarts, use “Go!” and defenders can’t move until the first pass is received.
Coaching points
  • Help the players make the right decision on when to dribble, pass, and change direction.
  • This is where the following teaching techniques are used most: Direct command; Question and answer; Guided discovery.
  • Let the players play to get a flow going and give them a feel for a game situation, but look for opportunities to stop the play and teach them what they did wrong or right using one of the teaching techniques.