This article is the first in my series of showing you how to in soccer?

On this occasion it is to show you how to move on and off the ball with ease. The aim of good movement is to create space for yourself and also to get yourself quickly back into your position when defending.

It will provide you with some drills on how to do this and show you why it is so important to get it right for your team.

Have you ever wondered why some teams always look like they have all the possession of the ball during a game, and some teams are so defensively strong with it being so hard to score a goal past them?


learning to play soccer


It is all about the movement of the players within the field of play.

How come all teams don’t have the ability to do it and control any football match?

The answer is they could do but the teams with better technical player will always be able to hold onto the ball for longer.

You as a player need to both effective in attack and defence for you team.

You can do this in two-ways by creating space for yourself, and by always being in the right positions on the field.

Let me explain to you how you can improve your movement with show you some drills on how to get it right?

In this clip below watch how Neymar creates space for himself.


What to do when your team has the ball?

This is the key skill you must learn if you want you team to keep hold of the ball and move up the field into attacking areas of the field.

It looks so simple when it is done right and your teammate will thank you forever as they will always have a teammate to pass the ball to in some space.

This is how you must be thinking through out the whole game, where can I move to, so that I have a bit of space for my teammate to be able to pass the ball to me at all times.

Your movements need to be short and sharp.

What do I mean by this?

If you are only a few feet away from your teammate and they want to pass the ball to you, but an opposition player is in the way, then if you have a quick fast movement say two or three feet either side of where you are, the pass will be on and your teammate can pass you the ball.

How fast can you get back into shape?

This is where your fitness and hard work will come into play.

Your team as a whole would have been sent into the game with a formation or shape from the manager or the coach of how they want you to play as a team. For example in a 4-4-2 formation ( four defenders – four midfield players – 2 strikers).

Your aim as an individual as a player within that team is to try to retain that formation throughout the whole game, unless the coach or manager tells you to change things to a different formation or shape

If you are attacking and the move breaks down and your opponents spring forward in a counter attack, your aim is to sprint back to your position, to help your team defend your goal. eg If you are the left back then that is where you need to end up.

You need to be thinking all the time out how quickly you can move to get back

Also be ready to cover your team-mate and play in their procession giving them time to get back and help out, if they are caught out of position. For example if you are a full back and the play is moving into central midfield and you think if step into that procession it and cover where the ball is going that will allow a team-mate more time to get back behind me even slotting into my fullback position

THe best players are always anticipating where the play is going and where do I need to be standing.

How to drills to improve your movement?

Drill 1 – get back into position quickly

explaining how Drill 1 works











Description from the picture above:

Shadow moves using a triangle formation is one of the best ways to improve your movement

This involves four players.

  • To start three players try and keep the ball away from one player the aim is for the three players to move around in a triangle formation passing the ball from one to the other. While the one player needs to keep moving around triangle trying to cut the ball out, anticipating where the ball is going.
  • Everytime you receive the ball immediately pass and move, pass and move.
  • Always try to be in a triangle apart from each other.
  • It needs to be one and two touch football practice so that the chasing player is constantly having to shift and move .

Do this session for five minutes then swap players round until all Four players have been in the middle chasing the ball.

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Drill 2 – pass-receive-turn and move

explaining how Drill 2 works










Description from the illistration above:

Set up two lines of players opposite each with a gap of at least five meters or more between them

  • one player starts by standing in the center between the two lines of players
  • the player at one end of the first line passes the ball into the player in the center who must control the ball, turn and spin, and pass the ball onto the first player on the other line.
  • The player in the center must then sprint onto the back of the line he just passed the ball to.
  • The first player who passed the ball moves into the centre position, as soon as they have passed it, be ready to receive the ball from the first player on the opposite line.
  • This player in the centre then receives the ball, and must turn and spin and pass it to the line he originally came from, once they have passed the ball ,sprint to the back of that line he passed it to.
  • Each player must move into the central pocession once they reveived it then spin, turn, pass and move, and then sprint to the back of the line.
  • This carries on until all the players have been in the middle.
  • This drill works best with one or two touches on the ball from every player.

The aim of this drill is to get you moving into different areas quickly.

Drill 3 – spell the word move with the cones

explaining how drill 3 works

Description from the picture above:

This exercise is done by the individual. It is simply sprinting around the cones from one letter to the other

  • you will need 18-20 cones
  • allow at least 2 metres between each letter
  • each letter should be at least 2 metres high or wide.
  • set up a row of cones which spell out the words M..O..V..E.
  • You start at the left-hand corner of the M. Go up the left-hand side, the go down the inside of the M and back up again, and around the outside of the M
  • Then move onto the O sprint around the circle once.
  • Then onto the V go up the left-hand side, down the inside of the V in the middle, up the inside of the V and down the right-hand side of the V.
  •  then finally sprint over to the E go up the first line, then across the top line of the E then down all the inside of the E from in to out until you are finished.

Walk back to the start and go again.

Now go through the same shape with the ball.

The aim of this drill to get your body moving in different direction with short sharp movements.

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Watch how the pundits do it?

I am a big believer in watching from the best and you will learn the most.

With so much analysis on the game from pundits and football people these days, you only have to watch television for fifteen minutes before and after any game, and they will break the analysis of the play down frame by frame and show you how the top players are moving throughout the game.

It sounds too easy to do but you have probably been doing this already and you didn’t even know you were gaining tactical knowledge of the game.

Next time you are sitting down to watch the game look out for what they say. It might just show you something you never knew about the movement of the players.

Always be on the move!

Like the song lyrics say “I like to move it move it”, that is what you should be working towards to improve your game from this how to in soccer lesson? Pass and move, pass and move, for the full length of the game.

That’s easy enough when you have the ball but continually moving when you are chasing the ball is tough and hard work. Make sure you keep working on your fitness as this will help you with learning this valuable soccer skill.

You will find it easier to run about with short, sharp, and fast moves the fitter you get.

Two key things to take from this lesson, one is to always be looking for space to receive the ball and two be ready to shift yourself back into the team formation in an instant.

Please as always leave me a comment on this topic in the box below.

Good luck and get moving

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osinachi1 · 13/04/2019 at 10:59 pm

When watching the video on the review i was able to see how neymar controlled the ball and how he created space for himself, this review is very good and i will advice both professional footballers and upcoming footballers to go through the review because they will be amazed and i also thank the author for this wonderful review.

    Matthew Hofman · 14/04/2019 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Osinachi and thank you for the lovely message. I am impressed you learnt something form this how to in soccer post, that makes it all worth while. It is really kind of you to be spreading the word about this article and my website. Look out for more great stuff coming soon. 

RoDarrick · 13/04/2019 at 8:23 pm

Wow! This is awesome. Very rate to come across posts like this but coning across this is nothing short of being called golden.

i am a soccer enthusiast and a nonprofessional player too. I always love watching great players like neymar, messi and Ronaldo. Ive always been mesmerised at how swift their movement is and how quick they can change. I never realised there are theories that explains movement in soccer too.

i really like this post and everything I have learnt in this post, I will put to practise. Looking forward to more of this posts from you.

    Matthew Hofman · 14/04/2019 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Rodarrick. It is really awesome that you took time out to message me. I too love to watch the top players and see how easy they make the game look, even though the have spent many years learning, training, and practicing to get it right. Thank you for the amazing comments and I am happy you learnt something from this article. please like and follow all my pages and check back in soon for more great stuff just like this.

afolabi anumicheal · 13/04/2019 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for writing this article on how to in soccer. I must commend you for a job well done for taking your time to explain ths in soccer,althogh I do play football for the fun of it at my leisure but never for once has anybody explain this to me. I don’t find this article educative and informative on how to be a better player on the field 

    Matthew Hofman · 14/04/2019 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Afolabi.. I have tried to keep the explanations as simple as possible on the drills so that any level of player can find some use from it. thank you for taking the time out to leave me this wonderful comment. If you want to improve your game then keep training hard on it and you game will get much better.

    best wishes my friend

los · 13/04/2019 at 8:15 pm

Hi Matthew,

Thanks for this informative article on move on and off the ball. I really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot. I especially liked that you incorporated a video in your article. A visual presentation always helps. 

Furthermore, your drawings also help a lot. I will try to use your tips next time I go out and play.

Keep up the great work!

    Matthew Hofman · 14/04/2019 at 1:31 pm

    HI Los  great comments and message from you. I agree with you it always make things a bit easier to learn anything, with a visual picture or video. keep trying and following the tips and your soccer game skills will skyrocket.

    take care and good luck to you.

Tracy cole · 13/04/2019 at 8:14 pm

Hi! This is a very interesting topic. So much has been said in this post. And I really appreciate your experience as a footballer  to hear from you on this matter. I am a football fan but i have always been poor on football pitch. This is a lovely  tip and tricks and I think its a must for all football lovers to check on

    Matthew Hofman · 14/04/2019 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Tracy. I am so thrilled you found the topic interesting and informative, that was my intentions to help improve anyone’s soccer skills. The key is to get out there and practice them. That way you are learning how to put the tips into practice.

    Thank you for the warm and kind comments

    Take care

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