Book My Demo
Top 5 Tryout Drills To Evaluate Soccer Players

Top 5 Tryout Drills To Evaluate Soccer Players

As soccer tryouts determine which players will make the team and which players are best suited for specific position, understanding which soccer tryout drills to run is essential.

But before we delve into the soccer drills you should be incorporating into your next soccer tryout (and every tryout thereafter), we will run through some other helpful tips for conducting soccer evaluations.

How Do You Evaluate a Soccer Player?

Establishing relevant evaluation criteria

First and foremost, your sporting organization needs to be crystal clear on exactly what the tryouts are trying to achieve. Without clear-cut goals and objectives, it’s virtually impossible to design and deliver a training camp or tryout session that is of any value to the club or player.

Ask yourself, are you prioritizing skill level, athleticism, and personal traits? Or are you simply looking for players who can play in a specific position? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered before deciding on evaluation criteria.

Our soccer evaluation app goes beyond being just a soccer tournament app. It provides detailed report cards to players and parents after each tryout. Players learn what to improve, while parents can track their child’s progress. SkillShark, your soccer team management partner, makes player development easy.

Form a committee for team selection

Team Selection can be fraught with danger, but one of the best ways to avoid the many pitfalls that come with it is to select the team by forming a committee. 

In most cases, committees can help eliminate common problems such as club politics, coach favouritism, and parental influence. There are various ways to evaluate teams and players, but generally speaking, the easier the method, the easier it is to select the best players and come to a consensus. 

The numbered system has been around for years and seems to work best, especially when selecting junior teams. A simple “1 through 5” score for each of the drills makes the job of the Head Coach and Assistant Coach easier and offers a fair evaluation of the player.

Communicate effectively with parents

Communicating with parents in an open, honest format is one of the most vital aspects of ensuring the success of your tryouts and as a club. Scheduling a parent orientation day is a perfect way to introduce coaches to parents and provides a great way to break the ice.

When talking with parents, coaches should be transparent about the club’s goals, how the tryouts will work, and the evaluation criteria used. You don’t want any ambiguity here. That way, all parents know the standards that have been set out.

We’ve all had parents complain their child should’ve made the team, but many of these problems can be avoided if you have clear-cut criteria.

Did you know, that when using our soccer evaluation app you can provide both players’ and parents’ report cards after each tryout? Players know exactly what they need to work on, and parents can visually see how their kid is performing. (see image below)

This is an excellent way to streamline communication, improve player performance, and showcase the professionalism of your soccer organization. Reports like these are included with any plan when evaluating athletes using the SkillShark App. Reports are generated instantly after each evaluation.

Run individual player reports using SkillShark Athlete Evaluation software

Top 5 Drills for Evaluating Soccer Players

1) Toe Taps in the Square

How To Perform The Drill:

This soccer drill starts with four lines of players lined up behind each other.

Once the coach blows the whistle, the first player in each line dribbles their ball to the cone, stops, tap the cone with their feet 10 times, and then dribbles back to their original starting point. 

When the player returns to their starting position, the following player in the line starts, and the drill is repeated until each player in line has had a turn,

Top-Tip: For this soccer dribbling drill, the coach should emphasize that players maintain control over the ball rather than trying to complete the drills as quickly as possible.

If you’re looking for some awesome soccer training videos that are easy to follow at home, check out Anytime Soccer Training. They’ve got thousands of videos covering everything you need!

Give their free Toe Taps and Tick Tocks ball mastery session a shot by clicking here.

Also, sign up for the 7-Day Ball Mastery Challenge by clicking here. You’ll receive 7 free training videos directly to your inbox.

2) Shooting Box

How To Perform The Drill:

Aim: This soccer shooting drill aims to evaluate how quickly players can shoot the ball after receiving a pass.

Set up four pylons in a square formation (about 6 feet apart from each other). Start by having 1 player in the square and another three players roughly 30 feet from the player in the box—each with a soccer ball.

Now have one of the “outside” players pass the ball to the player in the square. Once the “box” player has received the pass, they should try to shoot as quickly as possible. Repeat the drill until all players have passed the ball to the player in the box, then rotate players.

Top-Tip: Although players need to shoot quickly, the coach should still stress the importance of controlling the ball first.

3) Attack on the Cones

How To Perform The Drill:

For this soccer dribbling drill, the assistant coach should create a 15 X 15 foot box using 4 cones, then place one cone in the center of the box. Divide you soccer players into two lines, around 20-feet away from the box.

The first player in each line will dribble their ball to the cone in the center and then quicjly return to their starting position while trying to maintain control of the ball. As players gain confidence, the coach should encourage each player to go faster.

Top-Tip: Although this drill looks easy, it’s highly versatile because it’s “time-based,” meaning it’s perfect for players of all levels. For junior players, ensure they keep their “eyes up” to avoid colliding with other players. 

4) Corners

How To Perform The Drill:

Within a 40×40 yard grid, create grids (that are about 5×5) in each of the four corners. Split your players into two teams. The objective of this soccer passing drill is simple, players in the middle of the larger grid need to get the ball to one of their teammates standing inside one of the smaller box grids.

The players will work as a team, passing to each other while the other team does their best to defend and intercept the ball.

Top Tip: The coach should emphasize the importance of teamwork, focus on clean and consistent passing skills, and teach players the importance of patience and decision-making.

5) 1 vs. 1 in the Circle

How To Perform The Drill:

Aim: 1 vs. 1 is a soccer footwork drill perfect for evaluating foot control and speed.

Split your players into two teams. The coach starts outside the center circle and throws the ball in. Two players start from different lines. Whoever gets possession of the ball first will then return the ball successfully to the coach without stepping or dribbling outside of the circle.

Once the first players in each line finish the drill, the next two players will have a turn until all players have completed 3 attempts. 

Top Tip: The coach should focus on fair play and avoid creating a “win-at-all-costs” attitude.

Watch the “1 vs. 1 in the Circle” drill

New call-to-action

FAQ — Evaluating Soccer Players

SkillShark is a leading evaluation software and app designed to assist coaches in assessing and improving the performance of soccer players. It streamlines the evaluation process by providing instant feedback reports after each assessment, saving coaches valuable time compared to traditional data entry into spreadsheets.

Yes, SkillShark is a versatile tool suitable for evaluating athletes in various sports. While this blog focuses on soccer, SkillShark can be applied to multiple sports, making it a valuable resource for coaches across different disciplines.

Getting started with SkillShark is easy. You can request a free demo to learn how the app works and see if it suits your coaching needs.

There are no strings attached to trying out SkillShark, and the demo will provide you with valuable insights into its features and benefits.

SkillShark offers customizable templates for assessments, allowing you to tailor your evaluations to meet specific criteria. It provides instant player report cards, which give you a quick overview of a player’s performance. Additionally, SkillShark allows coaches to enhance evaluations with video feedback, providing a comprehensive views of player’s abilities.

Absolutely! SkillShark is suitable for coaches at all levels, whether you are working with beginner-level players or professionals. The customizable templates and flexibility of the app make it adaptable to your coaching requirements, regardless of the players’ skill levels.

SkillShark is versatile and can be used for both individual player evaluations and team assessments. Coaches can tailor the evaluations to meet their specific coaching objectives, whether they are working with individual players or entire teams.

Yes, SkillShark can be used for soccer evaluations across various skill levels, from youth players to professionals. Coaches can adapt the assessment criteria and templates to suit the developmental stage of the players they are working with.

If you have any more questions or need further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to SkillShark’s support team for assistance at

You can measure soccer players on skills such as:
• Coordination
• Shooting
• Position
• Passing
• Dribbling

1. Choose soccer tryout drills 2-3 weeks ahead of time.
2. Select evaluators 1 week before and communicate with them (i.e., run through the drills and explain what they should look for at each station they are evaluating).
3. Focus on positive relationships. Aside from coaching soccer tryouts, take the time to get to know athletes and provide verbal tips for improvement when you can.

SkillShark offers a free printable soccer tryout template. All you have to do is download and print, then you are ready to evaluate!

While we do offer a soccer evaluation form, we do recommend checking out the SkillShark app, removing pen-and-paper evaluations.

About The Author

Brenton Barker: Former Professional Sports Coach/Manager

Brenton is an Australian with 20 years of experience working with professional athletes. These athletes have combined to win more than ten international events. He holds a Degree in Sports Coaching and was the former Head Advisor to the Japanese Government Sports Institute.