One of the best drills to improve your dribbling is by forcing these 7 different ways. All players are different and tend to favor a few styles more than others. This drill is great for 1:1, small group or team training. I like to use it for a warm up, as it’s not meant to be full speed. Instead you can work on becoming smoother and using vision. Once the players go through it all 7 ways you can work on going at speed. Larger groups can have races. Feel free to adapt how you need.
1) Improve dribbling by allowing freedom
In this piece, players have the freedom to use any foot or way to get through the gates.
Don’t even think about what foot or way to use. Just let it flow and be natural. Let your instincts take over.
Every player is different, so some will only use their stronger foot, where others will use both feet mostly inside. A few players will mix up using all the different parts of the foot. If I did this, my right foot naturally would take most of the touches.
Do what’s best for you.
2) Using only the right foot to dribble
Most players are right footed, so they’ll like this one. For the left footed players, using the outside of the foot to change direction will be hardest.
2 main parts of the foot to use:
- Outside of the laces. Make sure you bend your knee to bring your foot higher than the equator of the ball. This will help you turn sharper when needed.
- Inside of the foot
*3rd option/surface: Usually for more advanced players. BUT don’t think you have to use it. Many of the best players in the world use mostly the inside and outside to dribble.
* Sole / bottom which you can use to roll across your body or to stop if you go past the gate.
3) Dribbling only with the left foot
Again, since most players are right footed using the left only will make it very challenging. Some players will find this one to be the most difficult.
Younger or novice players will struggle with this one because they haven’t yet practiced enough with the ball.
It’s important to teach both feet how to dribble. There will be times in a game it’s needed.
NOTE: For the right footed players… Make sure when you have to use the outside of the laces to bring your knee and foot up a little higher than you would using the inside.
4) Dribbling with the inside of the feet
If you watched a new player any age dribble they would use the inside of the foot. It’s most natural, BUT out of these 7 ways to dribble through gates the inside is most uncomfortable for me personally.
Work on taking bigger touches (2-3 yards) out in front so you can run with the ball. There will be times you need to take smaller touches especially in the gates, but try to mix it up.
5) Using only the outside/laces of the feet
For some players the outside laces is most difficult.
The biggest problem players have is they don’t bring their foot up high enough. When using the inside you don’t have to do this as much, but the outside you need to know how.
Reason for bring the foot up higher:
- It will allow you to change direction more
- If you don’t teach the muscle memory to do this it will feel out of control and too fast.
- It looks smoother
- You can have time to change your mind and end up touching the ball with the inside.
6) Sole/bottom of the feet to improve dribbling
Just the other day I was working with an 11 year old. She plays for one of the best youth soccer clubs in America. So, a good player, but after she finished these 7 methods, I asked her which one was most difficult. She said sole/bottom.
When dribbling from gate to gate roll the ball with your right foot as you move left. Viceversa moving the other way.
When changing feet (before, in or after the gate) try to take 3 steps when transferring the ball from one foot to the other. Besides this you’ll basically roll the ball taking one step every touch.
Angle your body the correct way. As you go to the left you’ll face 1 or 2 o’clock. When you move to your right, face 10 or 11 o’clock. This allows you to move smoothly – doing sole rolls.
7) Take risks by trying moves to improve dribbling
Learn to take risks!
I recommend you try these moves at a slower pace. Make sure you give yourself a good chance to pull the move off. Going full speed will cause you to mess up more. Once you do a few slower ones and build confidence try it faster.
5 moves / ideas:
- L move
- 360 spin / helicopter / Maradona
- Roll stepover
- Roll scissors
- Sole role
- Roll chop
- Sweep – 5 year old trainee learning to sweep the ball to the other foot
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