Soccer has been described by many as a beautiful game. This is so because various aspects of soccer make it so exciting, from tackling to scoring and passing.
An interesting aspect of soccer that is interesting to fans and even viewers who are not soccer fans is dribbling.
Dribbling in soccer is usually one of the dividing lines that separate the best players from the average players. The ability of soccer players to carry the ball up the field past any defender is an important aspect of becoming a better soccer player.
Body, agility, endurance, balance, and speed are some of the essential factors that make a soccer player a successful dribbler. The aim is for the soccer player’s dribbling ability to become second nature.
Therefore when the need arises, they can perform the necessary move for the situation. For every soccer player that wishes to reach the peak of soccer and be successful, it is necessary to master all the aspects of a soccer game, especially dribbling.
The greatest soccer players in history like Maradona, Pelé, Messi, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, and a host of others have distinguished themselves from others because of their dribbling ability.
They own the ability to leave other players in a brilliant way because they make use of various creative dribbling moves.
These players are not just good at dribbling because they have the talent for it, but because they have put in 100% effort into practicing their dribbling skills.
Dribbling in soccer is the art of keeping the ball away from the opponent at a close range as the player goes past them.
To become a successful and dominant player on the pitch, you must be able to perfectly control the ball with your feet and be able to move anywhere you want on the pitch.
This is what the top soccer players do; they can go anywhere in the pitch and create spaces where they cannot be found, all because they have a plethora of dribbling skills in their arsenal.
- How to get better at dribbling in soccer?
How to get better at dribbling in soccer?
In the game of soccer, dribbling is considered one of the most basic skills. Dribbling is the art of maneuvering the ball past an opponent in order to gain more ground and advance on the opponents’ goal, kill an opponent’s attack, or simply entertain the fans.
For a player to be considered successful, being able to dribble with the ball is a necessary skill to master. This is so because sometimes a player might be called to move the ball on his own where all available teammates are covered closely by the opponent or have an open space.
Ronaldinho, Robinho, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Ronaldo De Lima are examples of successful players who have completed many dribbles at competitive levels.
Dribbling in soccer has seen its heyday, as most coaches, amateur, youth, and pro, have downplayed the role of the individual but put emphasis on teamwork.
Though there is nothing wrong with passing the ball to teammates, certain circumstances can force you to dribble the ball. You might even have the opportunity to take on an opponent to score a goal or to create a scoring opportunity.
Due to the technicalities involved in the game of soccer, and the fact that being able to easily get past your opponents creates goal scoring chances, modern coaches have now introduced dribbling drills to get the best out of their players.
There are various drills that help players to become better soccer dribblers. Below are some of the methods and drills that soccer players can use to get better at dribbling.
In order to get better at dribbling, there are various methods, from practicing with different cone drill methods to practicing with teammates to practicing advanced skills.
The Cone Drill Method
Drills are essential in producing top-tier soccer players. Therefore, the cone is used for many soccer drills.
Training with vines increases a player’s agility and, in turn, increases their footwork. Soccer cone drills also increase metabolism in soccer players, help prevent and protect players from injuries, and also give players better balance.
This will, in turn, make the soccer players fitter to enable them to evade tackles easily while also strengthening their ligaments, muscles, and bones.
In soccer practice exercises, the cone drill mimics the players’ pressure when in a game. Cone drills are usually a means to an end, and in this case, to make the soccer player a better dribbler.
There are various cone drill methods that soccer players can use to become better soccer dribblers.
Some of these drills include the cone weave method, the zigzag slalom, figure eight, straight cone dribble drill, round the cyclic cone dribble drill, circular cone dribble drill, gated turn, shuttle turns, square dribble, T-cone soccer dribbling drill, and a plethora of other cone drills.
Some of these methods will be briefly discussed below. When you practice a variety of soccer cone drills methods, your dribbling skill will inevitably get better.
The Tight space dribbling cone drill, Confined dribbling cone drill, Random dribbling cone drill, Circular cone dribbling drill, and the forth and back dribbling cone drill are specific examples of cone drills that can make you get better at dribbling.
The Cone Weave Method
The cone weave method is one of the most popular methods for a soccer player to develop his dribbling ability.
The cone weave dribbling drill improves the player’s body positioning. Before you embark on the cone weave drill, you have to set about ten to fifteen cones in a straight line. They have to be spaced about a foot and a half apart from one another.
The cone weave is started by dribbling with a single foot in between each cone; this will work a zigzag pattern.
The cone weave aims to make as many slight touches as possible. Each touch has to be controlled, and you must make sure that the ball is not pushed out then chase the ball.
To execute the cone weave, you have to make use of the outside and inside of your foot for the drill to be properly executed. For example, when you perform the cone weave with your right leg, the first thing to do is push the ball to the outside part of your foot to get around the first cone.
Getting to the second cone, go left, then push the ball with the inside of your foot till you get to the third cone. You have to repeat this around the rest of the cones till you complete one round.
Practicing more increases your dribbling skill. The cone weave exercise has no limit, but you could start with five repetitions for each leg. First, ensure that you concentrate on the ball, then pick up your speed since you started slow.
The ball might escape from you, or you might hit a cone when you start the cone weave exercise, but what is important is that you continue the drill. As a result, your dribbling skill will eventually massively improve.
You can make use of both feet, but ensure that you control the ball with the outside of your foot or the inside of your foot. Your body position and number of touches can vary.
After some time, you can try difficult versions of the cone weave like the right or left crossover, right or left roll inside touch, or the right or left inside-outside. However, if you’re just starting out, you need to master the basics of the cone weave dribbling drill method before going on to difficult ones.
The essence of this is to improve your dribbling skill and ball control.
One on one Gate Dribbling
In one-on-one gate dribbling, players have to partner with other players and compete against each other through a series of gates that are laid out in the pitch.
For each round, there will be an offensive player that tries to dribble through the gate and a defensive player that tries to steal the ball.
This drill aims to work on the ball retention and the dribbling skill of the individual. The dribbler has to use body positioning and good ball control to keep the defender from stealing the ball successfully.
Speed and change of direction are also trained in this drill, both for the defensive and offensive players.
You have to set up a playing area using cones to line out a box to start this drill. There will be multiple gates of cones set up approximately 3 feet wide inside the playing area.
The number of gates should also correspond to the number of players. For every pair, the posters will be partnered with one soccer ball.
The round of drills is started by spreading the pairs outside the playing area. One player would be placed as the offensive player with the ball, while the other player would be chosen as the defender. The coach would choose the number of rounds.
At the start of the whistle, the offensive player would start to dribble inside the playing area. So you have to try to dribble through as many gates as possible before the time runs out.
While the offensive player is dribbling, the defender would try to prevent or steal the ball from the offensive player before the player passes the gate.
When the defender successfully defends the ball or deflects the ball from the offensive player, the ball is returned to the offensive player to resume the game.
After a set time, the players would have to switch their roles, and the process would be repeated. The drill should be repeated for about 4 to 6 rounds for each offensive player.
The size of the playing area can be decreased and increased based on the number of the players and the skill of the players. Ensure that there is plenty of room for every player to dribble around.
The offensive player is not allowed to dribble through the same gate twice in a row; he has to move through every gate. Therefore, the player has to be calm under pressure and find ways to dribble through the gates using speed, direction change, fakes, and various moves.
Straight Cone Dribble Drill
The straight cone dribble drill helps soccer players to keep the ball in a short space. This attribute is expected of every good dribbler, and it helps to keep the control and touch of the ball.
To begin the straight cone dribble drill, you have to set 10 to 13 cones on a straight line with a preferred distance.
From the first cone, you have to control the ball then start dribbling through the cone. Ensure that you make use of the outside of both feet, inside of both feet, outside and inside of the left foot, outside and inside of the right foot.
When you get to the last one, you have to make quick touches with the ball, then get back to the first cone with your fastest speed. This method can be repeated as much as possible. Ensure that you perform this drill with full concentration because it helps to keep the ball better when under pressure.
One VS Two Soccer Dribble Drill
In the one vs. two soccer dribble drill, the offensive player aims to dribble past two opposing defenders before making a shot at the goal.
Four cones are needed for this exercise. Two cones are used to make a gate around the penalty arc, while the second gate is set up within the penalty box in front of the goal post, with a little distance from the first gate.
The goalkeeper will be at the post, while one player will be at the two gates. The offensive player has to dribble through the gates and score a goal.
When the whistle is blown, the first offensive player will attempt to go around the player that guards the first gate by dribbling the ball, then move to the next gate. After the offensive player has made it through both gates, he will try to score by shooting the ball.
The defenders aim to ensure that the offensive players do not get past the gates to the goal. If any defensive player successfully steals the ball from the offensive player, the latter has to return to the offensive line again.
If the offensive player can get to the goal, he has to join the next pair of defenders. This drill allows players to put into practice every skill that has been learned. For example, it is one of the best drills to practice dribbling.
The Driving Test Soccer Dribbling Drill
This soccer dribbling drill is practiced with teammates and cones. It combines quickness and the ability to make multi-directional movements spontaneously. Soccer is not a linear game. Therefore players have to work in ensuring that their movements are precise and crisp.
The driving test drill is among the ball control drills which focus on great ball control and agility. For the driving test drill, the player had to dribble the ball while paying attention to commands from the coach.
Depending on the instructions, the players would be forced to slow down or speed up at a moment’s notice.
Before this method begins, the cones should be used to set up a 20×20 yard grid that is capable of holding six players. Then, other grids can be created to accommodate other players.
When all six players are inside the grid and with a ball, the coach would stay outside the grid and randomly call any of the following commands; u-turn, turn left, turn right, slow down, speed up, stop, and go.
Practicing Dribbling With Teammates
Sometimes practicing only with cones would not bring out maximum results. Therefore it is essential that you practice with teammates. Practicing with teammates brings intensity as it mimics real games on the pitch.
A major pro of practicing with teammates is that it brings challenges as many one-on-one situations will often occur; therefore, you can hone your dribbling skills.
There are various methods that soccer players practice with their teammates to become better soccer dribblers.
Some of these drills include the one-on-one gate dribbling, one on one dribbling method, the dribble attack, dribble race, one against two dribble drill, and a host of other teammates’ drills.
When you practice dribbling with your teammates, your dribbling skill will inevitably get better.
Practicing Advanced Dribbling Skills
After practicing with cone drills and practicing with teammates, it is now time to learn individual dribbling skills. Individual dribbling skills are often called Advanced dribbling Skills in soccer. To practice advanced skills, you have to learn ball control.
A majority of the world’s best soccer players have advanced ball control.
There are various advanced dribbling skills in soccer that players can practice to become better soccer dribblers.
Some of these skills include The Step-over, Dashing or Mazing run, Feint shoulder, Rainbow Flick, Maradona Roulette, and others. Highly effective skills include:
The Fake Kick
This is one of the most used dribbling skills in soccer. It involves the soccer player dribbling the ball close to the goal, then acting like they are about to take a shot. This will cause the goalkeeper or defender to try to block it.
When the defender tries to block the shot, which was never taken, the player would be given a short time to dribble the ball around them, then pass the ball to any available player or shoot the ball to the goal.
The Elastico is also called the Flip Flap, and Brazilian, Rivellino made this move famous in the 1970 World Cup. You can perform the elastic from a standstill or while dribbling.
It is fine by feinting a move towards the outside with your dominant door, then using the outside part of your foot to push the ball. The foot should be quickly wrapped around the ball to the other side while changing the direction of the ball.
The flip-flap motion has to be done very fast, or you might lose control of the ball.
The cut is used to move the ball to the side while facing an incoming opposing player. This allows the player to make a shot in goal, getaway, continue dribbling, or pass to a teammate.
When the opposing player is approached, the player with the ball makes use of the outside of any foot to kick the ball to the side. The player has to ensure that the ball is kicked well, as if the ball is kicked softly, the opposing player might easily take possession of the ball.
Kicking the ball hard might cause the player to lose control of the ball or turn the ball to the opposing team.
Watching Christiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi destroy their opponents with devastating dribbling skills increases the love for soccer.
Watching soccer games alone does not help in improving your soccer dribbling skills. Therefore you have to train to get the possibility of getting better regularly.
Some might think that learning how to get better at dribbling is tough. But, in reality, dribbling is quite easy to master. You do not need to have the power to be a good dribbler. You have to work hard on your training to improve your dribbling skills.
The dribbling drills stated above will help you to get better at soccer dribbling.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!