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Why Is It Important To Know How To Dribble In Soccer?

Why Is It Important To Know How To Dribble In Soccer?

Among all of the skills needed in soccer, dribbling ranks as one of the most desired. This much-coveted skill has helped in the rise and fall of professional soccer players.

Every player on the field of play is expected to have a certain level of competency in dribbling. This includes the goalkeeper, who many think should probably focus on manning the goalpost and clearing balls off his defensive lines.

It has a session dedicated to it during soccer training to prove its importance. In the game’s history, notable players have stood out because of their superb dribbling abilities.

What’s all the fuss about this particular skill? Why is it important to know how to dribble in soccer? This article answers it all by examining and highlighting the benefits of drilling in soccer.

Why Is It Important To Know How To Dribble In Soccer?

First, let’s have a good understanding of what constitutes a dribble. Dribbling is the art of successfully moving past an opponent without losing possession of the ball. Simply put, these three actions have to take place successfully for it to be a dribble — taking on an opponent, successfully getting past him or her, and still retaining possession.

Since soccer gameplay aims to get the ball from the defensive third into the final/attacking third, this would mean that players would inadvertently have lesser available spaces to maneuver as they approach the opponent’s goal area.

For this reason and more, dribbling becomes a vital skill to ensure ball possession is not lost. Here are more reasons why it is important to know how to dribble in soccer.

To move out of a tight space when outnumbered

If you have ever played the game of soccer, you probably have been in a situation where you’re outnumbered and completely locked in. An excellent way to get out of such a situation is with a dribble.

The dribble competency level required in such a pressure situation is one that can only be performed by a skilled dribbler. Notable mention of top professional soccer dribblers that have/can successfully dribble their way out of a tight space are Messi, Neymar, Ronaldinho, Maradona, Pele, Okocha, etc.

soccer player trying to get out of tight space

To score a solo goal

As an outfield player, some situations put the player in the opponent’s goal area without immediate assistance from his teammates. Getting past defenders and attempting to score in a one-on-one situation requires a great level of confidence and dribbling skills.

Solo goals do not occur frequently, but they tend to stand out because of the sheer genius and entertaining display needed to achieve them. More often than not, a dribble is necessary to deceive the opposition’s defenders and goalkeeper if you intend to make a solo goal.

To retain possession to execute a pass to teammates

As a result of the dynamic nature of gameplays in soccer, players can find themselves in a position where there are no teammates in sight.

While solo runs are an option, players can dribble around the area by ensuring he retains possession to give a teammate the chance to get into an excellent position to receive a pass.

A notable mention here is Cristiano Ronaldo’s leg over dribbles. They are sometimes performed to allow his teammates to fall into attacking positions. Using dribbles for this purpose helps soccer teams control the game’s momentum.

man dribbles to pass the ball to teammate

To distract the opponent

This is almost similar to the above reason except that dribbles are made solely to keep the opponent focused on the dribbling player.

It is a common dribbling technique used by some of the world’s best soccer dribblers. Using Messi as a fantastic example, whenever he notices the opponent’s defense formation is structured to outnumber him, he draws the opponent’s players closer to himself with perfect dribbling displays.

Keep the opponent focused on the dribbling feet while your teammates fall into open spaces to take advantage of the opportunity. The dribble techniques here require a high competency level.

soccer player dribbling a ball to distract the opponent

To lower the morale of opponents

Depending on the intensity of the dribble, the dribbled player tends to become frustrated or sometimes annoyed. Although there are simple dribble plays that do not necessarily get noticed, others can have a devastating effect on the morale of the dribbled player.

The fans become accomplices as they cheer and applaud the dribble techniques displayed. Therefore, it’s important to use dribbling when it matters the most and has the most significant effect.

It should only be performed by players with good ball control and exceptional drilling abilities.

To create space to take a shot

Any player on the field can use dribblingto create space to allow for a shot and deceive the opponent about the intended shot.

A goalie can use a dribble to displace an attacker to create space for a half volley. Defenders also use the same technique to clear off the ball from the defense lines.

Midfielders and strikers use dribbling to create space before taking a shot. A dribble helps create space and remove any defensive player  in the shot’s travel path.

Note: While dribbling the defending player, the dribbler watches out for available space to move into to initiate the shot.

kid dribbles soccer ball to score a goal

To get pass/navigate around a marking player

This is probably the reason dribbles were created in the first place. As a sport that focuses on moving the ball from the defensive area into the opponents’ goal area through ball passes and shots, dribbles become a viable option to retain possession by preventing ball interception.

As an attacker or midfielder, the defenders and goalkeepers are the only players stopping you from netting a goal. So how can you get past these players? A dribble becomes the most effective technique to achieve this successfully.

To win fouls against the opponent

This is a less important reason to learn how to dribble, but it doesn’t reduce its effectiveness. Since we’re already in agreement that intense dribbles can cause frustrations and offend the defending player, then we can understand how it can lead to fouls.

soccer player dribbling a ball

Not all players maintain good sportsmanship after a dribble. In frustration or annoyance, they tend to rough tackle the dribbler. The match referee often blows for a foul if the dribbler is brought to the ground.

If you’re looking for an opportunity or an advantage closer to the opponent’s goal, a dribble or, better put, the effect from it can help cause a foul. A direct or indirect free kick will be awarded.

For the fun of it

A dribble can be categorized as fun if done when not necessarily needed but keeps the game entertaining.

Players that do this make the game more entertaining. So, it’s acceptable as long as it doesn’t result in a loss of possession.

Ronaldinho and Okocha are excellent examples of this type of dribbling.

soccer player having fun dribbling a ball

To humiliate the opponent

This may not be considered a sportsmanlike behavior, but it doesn’t take away its effectiveness. Players can use a dribble to shamefully humiliate their opponents for several reasons.

Trust players like Neymar, Okocha, and Ronaldinho to make the list of dribblers who humiliate their opponents with their dribbling skills.

Okocha once revealed in an interview that the first time he went outside Nigeria to play professionally, he got a lot of racist chants against him. Therefore, he resorted to the use of dribbling to hit back at them.

For the pleasure of the fans

Soccer is the world’s most-watched sport. This says a lot about the importance of its fans to the game.

What other way to appreciate these fans than by giving them a fantastic show on the pitch? When the world’s best dribblers are on the pitch, fans are always waiting to catch a glimpse of a breathtaking dribbling display.

So, yes, if you’re looking to get the fans screaming your name and looking forward to your games, being a world-class dribbler helps you stand out. Just ensure you’re contributing to the team’s success and not just being part of the squad for showmanship.

To keep the spotlight on you

As a soccer player, you have to find a way to keep the spotlight on you to stay relevant to the coach and the fans. One of the ways to achieve this is by having fantastic dribbling abilities.

Brands are always looking for sports figures to use as brand ambassadors. Especially soccer which is the most-watched sport in the world. What does this have to do with you? Endorsement deals are one of the most lucrative ways to play the sport.

man dribbling and leading the ball

Several iconic soccer players are recipients of endorsement deals, raking them millions of dollars yearly. A good example is the world-renowned soccer striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

He became the first sports athlete to rake in a billion dollars from his accumulated earnings, according to Forbes. He is estimated to have earned $120 million at the end of 2021.

What’s most spectacular about this fact is that his earnings from endorsement alone in 2021 make an impressive 41% of his total earnings.

Still looking for a way to keep yourself in the spotlight? First, work on and improve your dribbling skills.


Some soccer enthusiasts may argue about the relevance of dribbles in games, but its importance can never be overlooked. A soccer game without any form of dribbling is usually boring to watch.

As a soccer player looking to go pro, having good dribbling skills will help take you out of tight playing situations irrespective of the position you want to play.

If ever there was a doubt on the importance of learning how to dribble, this article exposes all of its relevance to the game of soccer.