8 Best Soccer Drills For Midfielders (With Videos)

Known for often being both the fittest players and having the most possession on the field, midfielders are some of the most important players on a soccer team.

However, knowing their responsibilities in the role is only half the battle; the other half is training to ensure proper control, accuracy, and speed so they can be the best they can be.

With this in mind, I have compiled eight of the best drills for midfielders that I have used and benefited from.

If you are a coach, these drills will help ensure your team is ready for anything. If you’re a midfielder looking to improve your gameplay, then these drills will take your skill and technique to the next level.

The best soccer drills for midfielders are:

  1. 2 V 2 Possession Drill
  2. First Touch Change of Direction
  3. Aerial Change of Direction
  4. Tight Space Maneuver and Pass
  5. Aerial Pass
  6. Four Turns and a Pass
  7. Single-Leg Weave
  8. Sharks and Minnows

This list of drills for midfielders works to improve on various aspects of the game and provides a variety of exercises that are useful in helping train midfielders.

Many of these can also be adapted slightly to focus on specific skills.

To help you use these drills with your team, I have broken down each one below to describe the play, show you their benefits, and lay out a step-by-step walkthrough, along with a video, to help you explain them to your players.

female soccer midfield player and title of post

To kick-start your soccer training, I highly recommend you also check out my 30-day Soccer Fitness program.

Following a soccer-focused workout program that gives you some clear direction to your training will set you up perfectly to make the most of these drills.

Combining the technical side of these drills with a dramatic increase in your fitness will set you apart from the other players around you.

A great soccer player is a fit soccer player. I created this fitness program to help you reach your potential and be that player.

Let’s look through each of these drills now.

1. 2 V 2 Possession Drill

Maintaining possession of the ball is one of the most basic aspects of a midfielder’s role.

I find that this drill is easiest to do with four players. You should use two players per team, and the losing team gets replaced at the end of the round.

The drill takes place in a box made by placing four corner cones about 15 yards apart.

You can also change the size or add obstacles to make the drill more challenging.

The goal of the drill is for one of the teams to keep possession of the ball and make five consecutive passes while dribbling without being dispossessed by the other team of two players.

The drill starts when the team that gets given the ball makes their first pass; at this point, the other team needs to use tackling or intercepting to win possession of the ball.

Benefits of This Drill

With two teams facing off against each other, there are benefits for both sides:

  • The defending team starts by focusing on quick passing, ball control while dribbling, and agility, while the other team focuses on intercepting, tackling, and applying pressure to the defending team. 
  • Doing this provides the benefit of training many different essential aspects of soccer using one drill.

Check out this video below to get an idea of what the drill requires.

2v2 Possession Drill

Walk-through of the Drill

Step 1: Using cones, create a box for the two teams to work in, with the ideal size being around 12 to 15 yards by the same dimensions.

Step 2: Choose the defending team and give them the ball.

Step 3: The round starts when the defending team makes the first pass, at which time they start dribbling and passing between the two players.

Step 4: Once the defending team starts, the second team must try to win the ball’s possession using interception and tackling.

Step 5: Whichever of the teams can win and keep the ball while dribbling and making five consecutive passes wins the round.

Step 6: The winning team stays in the box while the losing team switches out with another team of two players.

Step 7: If neither team wins before the allotted time runs out, for example, 90 seconds, both teams get replaced.

2. First Touch Change of Direction

Depending on the number of midfielders available, players can do this drill alone or with a partner to help.

If you wish to do this drill alone, you need a wall to bounce the ball off.

I use this drill to familiarize midfielders with the movements they need to make to change the ball’s direction when it touches their foot and allow them greater directional control.

To start this drill, you can use two cones, poles, or markers to serve as obstacles for the player to move the ball around.

The rep starts when the player kicks the ball against the wall or to the other player, after which it should return straight, and the player needs to use their feet to change the direction 90 degrees to the left or right.

Players should repeat this action until they clear the obstacles both ways.


This drill will help your team and players practice greater directional ball control at first touch. In the process, this allows them to:

  • Be more agile.
  • Make faster decisions.
  • Change direction quickly after receiving a pass.

Check out this drill in the video below:

Midfielder Specific Drills - Individual Midfielder Training
First Touch Change of Direction Drill

Walk-through of the Drill

Step 1: Set up the obstacles by placing poles, cones, or other markers in a straight line between 1 and 1.5 yards between each. Two obstacles should be enough, but you can do more to make the rep longer.

Step 2: Position the player in the middle of the two obstacles.

Step 3: Start the rep by signaling that the player needs to kick the ball forward.

Step 4: If using a second player, the ball should return to the starting player in a straight line. Alternatively, the ball should return if bounced off a wall.

Step 5: The starting player needs to angle their foot to receive the ball and change its direction 90 degrees to the left or right while not stopping its momentum, allowing it to travel past the first obstacle.

Step 6: After moving past the obstacle, the ball should get kicked back to the other player or the wall, and the process should repeat with a change of direction once the player reaches the end of the obstacle line.

Step 7: Repeat the last two steps until the starting player is back in the middle of the obstacle line.

Check out my recommended 10 Soccer Ball Control and Footwork Drills (For All Ages) for more drills that can help a midfielder in this area of their training.

3. Aerial Change of Direction

With this drill, you can line the midfielder up and make them repeat the drill while cycling through the other players on the team.

I start this drill by making a 5-by-5-yard box with four cones and laying down two extra cones on the sides 10 yards away.

Next, a ball gets placed in the middle of the box, and a player has to lift it into the air by juggling it before changing direction towards one of the outer cones. Check out my favorite drills to improve your soccer juggling skills here.

By changing the angle of their feet, the midfielders need to move the ball towards one of the outer cones, dribble, turn around, and return the ball to the center of the box, where the process gets repeated, or the players get swapped out.

Here is an example of how to do this drill:

3 Individual Training Drills for Midfielders
Aerial Change of Direction Drill

Benefits of The Drill

The benefits and goals of this drill are to:

  • Train your midfielders to get the ball off the ground.
  • Control it if it comes from the air.
  • Help control dribble speed, agility, and direction changes.

Walk-through of the Drill

Step 1: Create a 5-by-5 box by placing four cones as corners and two additional cones as the outer targets 10 yards away.

Step 2: Place a ball in the center of the box and position the player behind the ball.

Step 3: On your signal, the player should lift the ball, juggle it, kick it higher, and then direct it to one of the outer target cones with their foot when it comes back down.

Step 4: After directing the ball, the player should dribble with the ball to the cone as fast as possible.

Step 5: Once the player reaches the cone, they need to turn 180 degrees and return the ball to the center of the box.

Step 6: The next player can take their place behind the ball, or you can change directions.

4. Tight Space Maneuver and Pass

As a coach, you need multiple drills available to get the best out of your players.

For this drill, I find it’s best to arrange the player and a stationary ball between two cones around 5 yards apart and place a target net about 20 yards away from the player.

You can also use multiple nets if you have them.

To start the drill, the player must dribble the ball in a figure 8 shape around the two cones before making a low and firm pass to the target net.

If you have multiple nets, the player can repeat the process for all the target nets, or players can get swapped out each round.

You can use this video below to help.

4 Must-Try Soccer Drills for Midfielders
Tight Space Maneuver and Pass Drill

Benefits of This Drill

The benefit of using this drill is that you can do it individually or as a team of players cycling through. In addition, this drill focuses on the following:

  • Improving a midfielder’s dribbling ability.
  • Improving low-and-firm passing.
  • Teaching midfield players better ball control while dribbling the figure 8 shape.

Walk-through of The Drill

Step 1: Start by placing two cones about 5 yards apart and setting a target net about 20 yards away from the cones.

Step 2: Position a player with a stationary ball in the middle of the two cones.

Step 3: On your signal, the player must dribble a figure 8 around the cones and return to the center.

Step 4: Without stopping, the player must then take a step toward the net and make a low and firm pass into the net.

Step 5: The player can retrieve the ball, and another player can repeat the process. Alternatively, one player can do a few reps at a time, and the target net can get moved.

5. Aerial Pass

Maintaining control of the ball while it is in the air is a key aspect of any midfielder’s game.

One way I find it helpful to improve passing and aerial control is by doing this aerial pass drill.

You can again cycle players through after each turn or focus on a single midfield player.

During this drill, the player must get positioned in a 5-by-5-yard box, with the goal posts about 30 yards away to the front.

The player must start with a juggle before directing the ball outside the box and making a long forward pass.

This drill focuses on aerial control and a long aerial pass, so you must focus on technique and ensure the pass gets done with a good amount of backspin.

You can use this video below to show you how this drill gets done.

3 Individual Training Drills for Midfielders
Aerial Pass Drill

Benefits of This Drill

This drill has the following benefits:

  • It works on more than one skill at a time, including a long pass and aerial control.
  • You can do this alone with a single midfielder or as a team, cycling through each player.
  • It’s also a great drill for a beginner.

Walk-Through Of The Drill

Step 1: Use four cones to create a 5-by-5-yard box about 30 yards from the goal box.

Step 2: Select a player and position them in the middle of the box.

Step 3: The player must juggle the ball to show aerial control on your signal.

Step 4: Next, the player must angle their foot and softly kick the ball out of the box to the side.

Step 5: Without stopping, the player must run to the ball and make a long aerial pass into the goal while focusing on technique and backspin.

Step 6: Repeat the drill while switching sides or cycle other players in.

6. Four Turns and Pass

The four turns and pass drill is simple but can vary drastically depending on the turns you focus on.

This drill is perfect for a single player, though you can swap out players, and uses two cones or poles placed about 1 to 1.5 yards apart and a target net to pass to.

The drill starts with the player nudging the ball forward before doing a turn of the coach’s choice to avoid the cones or obstacles.

Similar to the earlier first touch change of direction drill, the player should repeat the nudge and turns until they clear the obstacles both ways before passing into the net.

After this round, retrieve the ball, and the next player can start, or you can do more reps.

Midfielder Specific Drills - Individual Midfielder Training
Four Turns and Pass Drill

Benefits of This Drill

This drill is a great way to:

  • Focus on the turns your midfielders can use.
  • Allow them to get comfortable avoiding obstacles before performing it in a field
  • Practice passing.

Walk-through of The Drill

Step 1: Place two cones or poles as obstacles about 1 to 1.5 yards apart and 10 to 20 yards away from a target net.

Step 2: Place a ball between the obstacles and a player behind the ball facing the target net.

Step 3: Choose a turn; l-turns are excellent for this drill, and let the player start with the first turn while avoiding the obstacles.

Step 4: The player must repeat the turn until they clear the obstacles in both directions.

Step 5: After clearing the turns, the player must make a low pass into the target net.

Step 6: Repeat the above steps for more reps, or retrieve the ball and swap out the player.

7. Single-Leg Weave

The single-leg weave is a simple drill focusing on ball control while defending.

As a midfielder, keeping control of the ball in vulnerable positions may be the difference between winning and losing a game.

For this exercise, you need to line up between 6 to 10 cones in a straight line, and if you want to add a pass, you can add a target net.

The drill starts with the player using their outside foot to control the ball between the cones about half a yard apart.

Once the player reaches the end of the cones, they need to turn around and use the other foot to repeat the exercise to the other end.

If you have a target net, the player can do a pass of your liking into a net about 20 yards away.

You can use this video below to help.

Improve Your Single Leg Dribbling - Soccer Exercise
Single-Leg Weave Drill


This drill is excellent for:

  • Teaching your midfield players how to defend while keeping possession from an attacker on their side. 
  • Practicing control
  • Adding a pass at the end of the drill can extend the benefits.


Step 1: Place a line of cones about 0.5 yards apart; anywhere between 6 to 10 cones should work. You can also set up a target net 20 yards away.

Step 2: Start the drill and let your player use one foot to dribble through the cones while keeping possession.

Step 3: At the end of the line, the player must turn and dribble back while keeping possession.

Step 4: (Optional) The player can also make a pass to the target net after returning.

Step 5: Retrieve the ball, repeat the drill, or cycle through all the players, adding challenges if needed.

To improve a players dribbling ability, check out my recommendations for the Best Soccer Dribbling Drills.

8. Sharks and Minnows

Based on a well-known game, this drill creates a limited field where players can move.

First, you need to choose one or two players to be the sharks in the middle of the field.

While the sharks stand in the middle of the field, you can use a whistle or signal to start the round, where the Minnows need to try to get to the other side.

If a player cannot reach the other side, they will be added to the middle as a shark until only one person remains.

The criteria for becoming a shark can change depending on the skill level, and while some people use tagging to add a shark, others have to remove the Minnows’ ball or take full possession of it.

Sharks and Minnows
Shark and Minnows Drill


The benefits of using this drill are twofold:

  • Midfielders will have to exercise ball control to be able to keep the ball while also attempting to be fast enough not to get caught.
  • It will allow your midfield players to get used to keeping their eyes on the ball and the other players simultaneously, a crucial part of being a midfielder.

I find this is also an excellent drill for kids and youth soccer players who love using fun games to improve their skills. If you often train with young players, check out my list of 9 Fun (and Effective) Youth Soccer Drills For Kids.


Step 1: Create a limited area where players can operate using cones, poles, or something else. A good example would be 38 yards in length by 22 yards wide.

Step 2: Choose one or two sharks and place them in a line in the middle of the playable area.

Step 3: Line up the remaining players or “minnows” on one of the sides of the field and give each one a ball.

Step 4: Start the round by giving a signal and have the “minnows” attempt to run past the sharks while keeping possession of their balls.

Step 5: The round stops when the players get eliminated or get to the other side and any players that didn’t make it now move to the middle and become sharks.

Step 6: Repeat the last two steps until only one player remains as a “minnow.”

Step 7: (Optional) Increase the difficulty of the drill by creating challenges for the “minnows.”

Next Steps

Whether you are training with one player or the whole team, the drills mentioned above are a great way to train your midfielders or almost any other player.

Mastering these drills will ensure your players are agile, have good reflexes, understand directional control, and are comfortable keeping possession and passing when needed.

To take a midfielder’s skills to the next level, however, there are more drills that can aid a player’s training.

Ben Clayfield

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Find out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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