Individual training is important for players who don’t have the option to practice with their team every day. There is no silver bullet routine that all footballers should follow. Instead, you have to setup a routine that fits your own goals and daily schedule.
Regardless what your budget is, money will not determine the success of your training routine. The effort you put in is key. If you actually have the chance to invest some money, don’t spend it all on one overpriced ball. Instead, buy at least four or five cheap ones. Having a number of balls saves you critical time during practice. For example, if you take a bad shot and your ball flies off somewhere, you can simply pick up another one without interrupting your drills. You may also want to consider buying a set of marker cones or slalom poles that you can dribble around.
Finding a training ground
So you don’t live near a soccer field – where can you practice? You can train in any open area where no one will distract you. For dribbling and anything agility-related, it’s usually safer to work on a grass surface. It doesn’t have to be at a soccer field; improvise with whatever you have available like the nearest public park, your backyard and so on. If you do have access to a soccer field, you can work on shooting and free kicks there.
Ideally, you want to find a flat wall and practice by kicking the ball against it. This can improve all of your skills, especially trapping. Many top players have admitted that a good amount of their childhood involved practicing against the wall.
Pushing yourself out of the comfort zone
Your training needs to have a specific goal. Pick something out of your comfort zone and try to improve on it. For example, if you lose possession of the ball too often then you may want to practice trapping. The idea is to focus on one aspect of your skills and work on it for a number of consecutive sessions.
Practicing drills vs messing around
Start by observing the skill that you want to learn from better players. Look at them from different angles and carefully study their movements – where they plant their supporting foot, how they use their upper body, how they follow through, etc. To master any skill, you have to work on repeating the specific movement again and again for hours until it becomes your second nature. Setup your drills so that there are as few interruptions as possible. You don’t want to stop every other minute in order to chase or collect the ball.
Consistency is the major difference between pro and amateur players. Being consistent means that you can reliably perform a given skill in any situation. Let’s take shooting for example. In addition to shooting a non-moving ball, you can also shoot while dribbling, without a preparation touch, while turning and so on.
Individual training is all about improving your performance in games. Therefore, your drills should be as relevant to the game as possible and need to be performed at full speed. Messing around with the ball isn’t really training so decide what drills you are going to do before going out to practice.
Getting into a routine
Next, you have to get in the habit of performing the drills each time you go out to practice. Usually, it’s good to work on one particular skill for at least 7-10 sessions. Remember than a simple routine performed rigorously will yield better results compared to an over-ambitious routine that is barely followed.