Soccer Footwork 101
Learn soccer footwork drills with Ali Krieger. If you want to improve your soccer footwork then you will want to read how Ali Krieger goes about her training on the field.
A masterclass with Ali Krieger on how to develop the most important fundamental skill in soccer
Footwork is involved in virtually every part of the game of soccer.
On the ball, footwork is crucial to passing and receiving, dribbling, and shooting. Off the ball, it helps you to open up space on offense and shut down your opponents on defense.
Most skills in soccer start with footwork. So if you’re struggling in a particular area, or just trying to get better overall, improving your footwork is a great place to begin.
The problem is—footwork is a lot more complex than it seems. So it’s difficult to know how to improve it through training.
To be effective, a footwork drill for soccer must involve acceleration, deceleration, and rapidly changing direction.
It also needs to incorporate all surfaces of the foot that are used for dribbling. Plus, it should include deceiving opponents and practicing with both feet.
This is a lot to consider. But if you want to be competitive in soccer—having great footwork is non-negotiable.
Fortunately, if you have access to high-quality coaching and instruction. And can develop the self-discipline to put in the time to practice. Footwork is an area that most soccer players can improve in substantially.
To help you get started, we asked World Cup Champion and renowned international competitor, Ali Krieger, to produce an exclusive training video on how to get better at footwork for soccer.
A Tenacious Competitor
Few athletes can match the perseverance, dedication, and skill of Ali Krieger.
After excelling at soccer throughout high school, Ali went on to play for Penn State University in 2003. She had an impressive college career, starting in 87 matches and receiving All-American honors in her Junior and Senior years.
After graduation, Krieger took the bold step of moving to Frankfurt, Germany, to play with FFC Frankfurt. She earned a starting spot on the team, which subsequently went on to become the UEFA Cup Champions her very first year playing professional soccer.
The following year, in 2008, Ali achieved her dream of making the U.S. Women’s National Team. This marked the beginning of an incredible run of international appearances—including starting in all seven matches of the championship winning team in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In the 2019 World Cup, Krieger earned her 100th cap for the U.S.
These achievements alone make Krieger a wealth of information for soccer players wanting to improve their game. But Ali’s grit and determination in the face of injury related setbacks also holds some powerful lessons.
Kriger’s success in soccer came despite several potentially career ending injuries. Just some of the more serious setbacks included a broken leg, torn ACL and MCL, concussion, and foot injury.
In each case, against all the odds, Ali managed to stage an impressive recovery and comeback. And while her sheer tenacity and mental fortitude as a competitor no doubt played a role. A dedication to maintaining and improving the fundamentals—despite the adversity she has faced—has played a major role in the enduring success Kriger has had in professional soccer.
As you’ll see in a moment, fundamental soccer skills, like footwork, can be improved by any athlete. All you need is a ball, a few cones, and a routine for success from a superstar like Ali.
If you want to develop the skills and mindset needed to become a champion—Versus has everything you need to get better.
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We have an entire library of exclusive training videos from some of the biggest names in soccer. In addition to Ali, a Versus subscription gives you access to U.S. soccer legends like Kelley O’Hara, Ashlyn Harris, and renowned technical coach, David Copeland-Smith.
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Versus has everything you need to get better at soccer. All at an affordable price, on an easy to use digital platform that’s accessible anywhere.
But we don’t want anyone to miss out, so keep reading for an overview of Ali Krieger’s exclusive video training session on soccer footwork.
Triangle Touch Drill Sequence
This simple, yet effective drill is something that Ali still uses to this day to sharpen her footwork.
“The point of this exercise,” states Krieger, “Is to get as many touches on the ball as you can, either going for a minute long or trying to get to 100 touches.”
As you’ll see, the triangle touch drill can be used to practice virtually all aspects of soccer footwork. Meaning, if you take the time to master it—this one drill can be the foundation for all of your footwork training.
We’ll start with a thorough overview of the basics of the drill. Then, explain how to use it to cover each surface of the foot, including the advanced “L” move.
To set up, place four cones in the following formation.
You can do this anywhere on the field, in your front or back yard, or anywhere that has enough space.
Overview & Surface #1 - Inside of the Foot
You’re going to move in sequence through the cones for this drill, reversing and switching feet on each side.
Also, on each set, you will focus on using one surface of the foot.
You will still use other foot surfaces while dribbling the ball. But each time you start moving from one cone to the other—be sure to use the correct foot surface for your first move forward.
We’ll start with the inside of the foot.
To begin, choose a side, then use the inside of your foot to scoop the ball to the middle cone, like this:
On each run through, “add a little deception against your opponent at the middle cone,” instructs Krieger. This might include dropping a shoulder, a foot fake, a step over, or any other move you want.
Continue onto the next cone, remembering to use the inside of the foot to move the ball.
Then turn and take the ball to the back cone.
And as quick as you can, roll it back to the last of the front cones.
Swap feet, and work your way back in reverse. Keep focusing on using the inside of the foot to begin the transition from each cone.
Here’s the drill going the other way, to complete one full cycle:
Bring the ball toward the middle cone.
Far, front cone.
And cut back to the front cone to complete one set.
Once you’ve done two or three sets with the inside of your foot, it’s time to move to the next surface.
Surface #2 - Outside of the Foot
This time, on your first move forward from each cone—use the outside of your foot.
Here’s Ali using the outside of her foot on the second cone of the drill.
And reversing (and switching feet) for the second round through.
And almost finished a complete round.
Surface #3 - Rollover
Now, you’re going to be rolling the ball from cone to cone—using the opposite foot to the direction you are moving.
So, as you move to the right, roll the ball with your left foot, like this.
And when coming left, use your right foot to roll the ball to the next cone.
Surface #4 - The “L” Move
Finally, Ali uses the “L” move to progress through the drill. This is more a skill than a surface.
The “L” move is only completed once per direction—at the beginning cone of each sequence.
Here are the steps to complete an L when moving to the right:
Roll the ball back with your left foot.
Tap it with the inside of your left heel, so it passes behind the right foot.
Turn and continue along the drill.
After the first cone, move the ball through the drill using whatever combination of foot surfaces you like.
Just remember to start each change of direction with the L move. Also, don’t forget the deception move at the middle-front cone.
In a game, you might use an L move to change directions or fake out a defender, so don’t be afraid to be creative with it outside of this drill.
Pointers and Key Takeaways
There’s a bit to remember with the triangle touch drill sequence. Be warned, however, it’s going to be tough at first—but it’s worth persevering.
This drill covers most of the fundamentals of soccer footwork. And can be scaled for difficulty as your skills progress.
Here are a few pointers from Krieger to help you get the most out of the drill:
- The main objective is to get as many touches on the ball as you can
- Go at your own pace—control and constantly touching the ball are key
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (even Ali makes a few in the video)
- Get in 100 touches or one solid minute of work for each surface
- Do each surface two or three times a session
Remember, footwork is the most important fundamental skill to master in soccer. Good footwork is the foundation of every other skill in the game. It is equally important no matter what position you play.
It takes constant practice to make a difference in your footwork. Fortunately, the triangle touch drill can be done anywhere you have a little space, cones, and a ball. To stay ahead of the competition, make sure to practice it often.
We tried our best to do justice to Ali’s demonstrations in the video. But text and static images just don’t compare to seeing her lightning-fast movements in action.
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Versus has everything you need to get better at soccer, all on an easy to use digital platform that's accessible anywhere.
If you want to go deeper on soccer footwork, and what it takes to have a winning mindset, head over to Versus and check out our Game Plans. Any of our packages will get you access to our lessons, plus tons of other training sessions, interactive content, and more.
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