The touch of boot to leather will be a welcome feeling for footballers up and down the country. Back out on the pitch after a summer of sitting around with no football to play, it’s time to get fit and firing for a season of success.
But have you added to your footballing armoury or kept up your training of basic skills? To leave your opponents in the dust in the new season, we delved into the Football Coach Academy to dig out a selection of new drills for you to incorporate. They might not seem like the most advanced football skills, but the drills will develop and improve your play.
For the deadly striker – shooting practice
As a frontman who wants to pip last season's tally on the goalscoring charts, you need to be able to capitalise on every chance that comes your way. The ultimate striker is just as clinical with their left foot as their right.
To improve your shooting, practice this accuracy-enhancing drill. Set out a small box of cones just outside the corner of the penalty box. After one heavy touch and sprint into the area, anchor your standing leg and rifle the ball into the far corner.
Modify this challenge by hitting the ball with the outside of your foot, or switch to the other side of the penalty box and build up some strength in the opposite foot. This could help you get away from the habit of always shooting with the same foot.
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For the silky number 10 - Bergkamp flick
Remember that epic spin from Dennis Bergkamp as he left a bamboozled Newcastle defence in his wake and slotted home?
Did the Dutch legend mean it? Either way, that goal holds its place in many a Premier League top goals reel, and strikers up and down the country have spent hours trying to replicate it.
To pull it off, jab the bottom half of the ball with the outside of one foot. The ball spins past you one way while you swivel around your standing foot in the opposite direction. Coolly apply the finish and collect your goal of the month award. Simple.
For the tricky playmaker - step over
The step over – a classic piece of attacking play that every skilful player should have up their sleeve. However, pulling it off in a game scenario can be a potentially hazardous and embarrassing scenario.
The key to a good step over is pace and timing. Perform the move too far away from the defender and they'll read you like a book; perform it when too close and you'll easily be dispossessed.
To make sure you beat your man every time, attack the defender at pace, stepping over quickly and pulling away to leave your marker behind.
For the pacy winger - running with the ball
Running with the ball might seem like an obvious part of playing football, but it requires skill and technique to execute correctly.
For wingers who want to beat the full-back but have limited space to do so, the drill below can help you combine pace and control, with the ball moving.
Again, practice is key to boosting your skills with the ball at your feet. Set out a line of cones 12 yards apart, treating each one as a checkpoint. Take one touch per cone, ensuring you use your laces to help maintain speed.
For the rock at the back – defensive headers
Defenders might be feeling a little left out at present. This may have been an attack-heavy countdown so far, but we'll finish with a pointer for those whose job it is to keep the goals out.
Clearing the danger with your head is one of the best football skills to master for defenders, but there are a few tips to really mastering it.
Get a spring in your step and meet the ball at its highest point, driving your body to get as much elevation and power as possible behind your clearing header.
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