Whether you are looking to master Juninho’s free-kick knuckleball or develop Neymar’s dribbling skills, soccer training mannequins are a necessity for soccer players of all ages and skill levels. This type of soccer training equipment is perfect for every position, as it is adaptable to shooting, dribbling, conditioning, and even goalkeeping drills.
What are soccer training mannequins used for?
Soccer training mannequins are a type of equipment that has been used for decades. Players would stay behind after a training session to practice their free kicks and challenge their teammates. For years, mannequins were limited to free-kick practices. Now, with the technological improvements in soccer training equipment, mannequins have acquired a greater role in offering drills for every position.
Over the years, new materials have been used to produce soccer training mannequins. The traditional four-mannequin wall has been replaced with singular pieces that can be used for different types of drills. While the traditional free-kick mannequin is still a popular item, newer mannequins come in inflatable or foldable forms. The foldable models are light and perfect for dribbling, while the inflatable ones, modeled after the ones used by NFL defensive linemen, are great for goalkeeping drills and simulating in-game situations.
Things To Consider
When looking for soccer training mannequins, you’ll want to consider the following:
- What type of kicks are you looking to practice?
- How much do you want to spend on a training mannequin?
- How much space do you have to use a training mannequin?
- How many training mannequins do you need?
What are you looking for in a soccer kick trainer?
- Individual use
- Use outdoors
- Easy storage
- Easy transportation
The main differences among the types of mannequins are their material and function. Among the most popular types are free-kick mannequins, blow-up mannequins, and mannequin screens.
Free Kick Mannequin
The free-kick mannequin is a piece of soccer training equipment that has been utilized for generations. For years, professional players and beginners have challenged their friends to free-kick competitions hoping to score set pieces like Lionel Messi one day. This type of mannequin is great for beginners to master shooting over the wall, but it does not allow shooting under the wall. It is possible to buy a single mannequin or a whole wall of four players. However, free-kick mannequins are somewhat hard to carry around and relatively expensive, as a single mannequin is typically priced at about $199.
- The best type for shooting drills
- Great for free-kick challenges with friends
- Option to buy in bulk or singular
- Hard to carry around
- Limited drills
- Needs a goal to be used
Inspired by the tackling dummies used by NFL defensive players in practice, blow-up soccer mannequins have become increasingly popular soccer training equipment. This mannequin offers a wide variety of training options. It is good for conditioning drills, dribbling, and even for goalkeeping. However, it is not advised for shooting exercises. They are considerably cheaper than free-kick mannequins, listed for around $29.99. This is largely because they are less resistant and require time to set up.
- The best type for goalkeepers
- Offer a wide variety of exercises
- Great for conditioning drills
- Needs to be blown up each time
- Worst for shooting drills
Thanks to its affordable price of $39.99 on GoSports, and its practicality, the mannequin screen represents a cheaper alternative to the free-kick mannequin. This mannequin is great for beginners. However, as players develop more powerful shots, resistance could be an issue. The screen mannequin is more advisable for dribbling drills and even for conditioning, especially during warm-ups before practice.
- Easy to carry around
- Great for developing better touch
- Poor durability
- Weak resistance to shots
- Not the best for seasoned players
Soccer training mannequins are a must-have for soccer players of any age and skill level. A great variety of these items are available both online and at major retail stores. The leading brands for mannequins are SKLZ and GoSports, whose products are mostly sold online, and Crown Sporting Goods, which is available both online and in stores.
Crown Sporting Goods
Despite the slim variety of products, Crown Sporting Goods is a great option for players that are interested in investing in soccer training mannequins. Its bestseller is the traditional free kick mannequin, which is priced at $89.99 and available in two sizes: 5’2 and 5’9. Unlike other brands, Crown Sporting Goods products are mainly available in stores, which allows customers to check out the quality of the material.
GoSports represents the best option for beginners who want to work on multiple skills with the screen mannequin and goalkeepers who want to practice with the blow-up mannequins, even without the need for a goal. Their products are affordable and their products are easy to transport.
SKLZ products are extremely popular in the soccer world and are used by stars like Megan Rapinoe. This makes their mannequins great for experienced players who are willing to invest in durable and modern equipment. The SKLZ free-kick mannequin is perfect for players taking set pieces thanks to the rotational tension design, which makes deflections more realistic.