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VIDEO: How to improve your change of direction with Dan Crowley

How do I set up this drill?

Put five cones in a line, four yards apart, with a football at one end. Grab a partner.


How do I do this drill?

Stand behind the first cone and place the ball to the left of it, in line with your left foot. Reach your right foot across and pull the ball back with the sole, before pushing it diagonally forward to the right, level with the cone, with the inside of the same foot. Now reach your left foot across and pull the ball back in the same way, before pushing it forward to the left. Repeat the action continuously, alternating feet and pulling the ball back when it’s in line with the cone.


How do I progress the drill?

Make your partner stand with a ball at the opposite end of the cones. When they pass, open up your body and take a touch between two cones with your nearest foot. Then do a pull-push with the opposite foot and pass the ball back to your partner with that same foot. Move forward and continue doing this up the line of cones.


When you reach the end, weave backwards between the cones without taking your eye off the ball at your partner’s feet. Once back at the first cone, work on the other side, using your opposite foot to do the actions described above.


Next, repeat the drill while identifying the coloured discs flashed in random sequences in front of you by your team-mate. To make the drill even harder, decrease the space between cones.


What are the key coaching points?

Start slowly, adding speed to the movement once you’ve perfected the mechanics of the drill. When doing the pull-push, you’re looking to create a V-shape movement with the ball, so rotate your hips and shoulders in the direction you want to push it.

When receiving a pass, check away and move onto the ball, making sure your shoulders and hips face the way you want the ball to go. Before passing, look at your partner for accuracy.

How will this drill help?
You’ll become more comfortable controlling the ball using the sole and inside of each foot. The drill works on your first-touch direction, too, as well as your speed and your passing with both feet.

Having to identify the disc colours ensures you keep your head up in possession, which is ideal in a game situation for scanning the pitch to see opponents and open team-mates. Also, the push-pull skill in itself can be used in a 1 v 1 situation to create space for yourself.

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