Do Professional Soccer Players Really Need to Run Basic Drills?

It was one of those images that I usually glance over on ESPN to get to the article: A group of Real Madrid players running through a basic keep-away drill. It’s a drill I participated in many times in my teens.

But this time, something about the image made me stop and think. These are professional soccer players. The best in the world. Do they really need to run basic drills?

I figure if you’re on Real Madrid, your basic skills are pretty much at their peak: The weight of your pass, your first touch, your dribbling. Your coach might have some pointers for you to work on, but as a whole, you’ve moved past the development stage.

What really matters at that level is team chemistry and real-time action. Why practice a keep-away drill when you can experience actual keep-away in a scrimmage or offense vs. defense? The coach can still step in and pause the action or set up a special free kick as needed.

The actual photo on this post is probably of the team warming up before a game. But the original photo I saw was definitely taken during practice.

Other than having played soccer and coaching kids for a few seasons, I’m completely unqualified to have this opinion. So I’m curious what you think. Do professional soccer players–or any professional athletes–really need to run basic drills?