An Overview of Professional Soccer Techniques, Tactics and Training Drills

May 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Fitness Training

Article by Mark Heffernan

Professional soccer is one of the most watched sports in the world, no matter what name it goes by. The high level of skill and fitness professional players exhibit on the field makes the sport look easy. However, even the professionals believe that “practice makes perfect”, and practice techniques, tactics and run through training drills on an almost daily basis. Below is an overview of the techniques, tactics and training drills that go into being a professional soccer player.

Training Drills

As with any sport, part of being a professional soccer player includes continual training drills. There are as many training drills are there are moves, but most can be broken down into defensive and offensive components.

Professional defensive training drills include how to jockey opponents, giving the player’s side a chance to regain the ball, performing block or sliding tackles and heading. To improve these skills, players practice keeping a good defensive line, recovery running, defending set pieces and crosses, and the necessary decision making skills on when to press, cover or drop, to name a few.

Offensive training drills include set plays, which help keep the professional players fit and as well as improving and keeping control of the ball. The drills can vary from tight space dribbling to 3vs3 and crosses with a finish at the goal.

As a coach or player, it’s always best to start with basic drills during a session, then lead up to the more complicated 3vs3 or 8vs8 plays. With this method of slowly increasing the energy and focus level, the players have a chance to warm their muscles up and “relearn” the movements needed before getting into serious drill.


Every professional player and coach has a specific technique on how to carry out a play or move, and the techniques grow as the player progresses in the mastery of the sport. However, even professional players return to the basics.

Although a basic soccer technique, kicking the ball is often overlooked. Many beginners start by using their toe, which causes inaccuracy, as well as presenting the possibility of injury to the foot. Practicing the proper way of using the instep sets the movement in muscle memory, so that, when the professional players are on the field, they don’t have to worry about the movements. The proper way to pass or shoot is embedded in muscle memory and becomes automatic.

When you practice professional soccer techniques, make sure you don’t skip over the basics. While advanced techniques are important, learning the basic footwork is what got you to the advanced level in the first place. Don’t leave them out of the drills you set up.


Professional soccer tactics are all about how the sport is played. Where do the players need to be for defending corners? What are the roles of the players in attacking corners? How do you build a defensive wall?

When going through tactics, you’ll be looking at many formations: 3-5-2 formations, 4-4-2 formation and the 4-5-1 formation, favored by professional clubs, among others. Practicing tactics provides the same benefits as the training and technique drills. It sets the moves in the player’s mind, so they don’t have to think about it in the middle of play.

Techniques, tactics and training drills all go into making a professional soccer player. With dedication and diligence, along with the proper training, you will find yourself advancing to a higher level than you ever thought possible.

At Inside we emphasis soccer training programs presented in video clips, training drills and training tips. With world-class content we’ll help you coach consistent with your beliefs and philosophy or play with confidence.

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