When it comes to practicing turning while dribbling there are sharp turns and then there’s change of direction. This post covers 180 degree turns… Many players have practiced these, but not been taught the fine details. Most high school varsity players will find some of these a challenge because not all will feel natural. Be patient, work on them slowly so that you can teach your muscle memory to be smooth. These drills can be done at home alone or with a big group of 20+ players. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Natural vs learning
Of these different turns, some of them will feel more natural than others.
It’s important that you practice ALL of them because they’ll all help you in different game situations.
The key is that you program your muscle memory to know different turns, so that in a game you have more options.
Even if some of these don’t feel natural when you first try doesn’t mean you can’t make it look so.
Purposeful training is having the desire to improve daily
You become good at what you practice most
Inside of the foot – turning while dribbling
First practice these slowly and focus on being smooth.
Getting it down smoothly is more important than fast yet sloppy.
- Quicker turn for when you’re in a hurry or reacting at the last second. Teach your turning foot to come up just above the ball before you connect/turn.
- Getting half way turned before touching the ball. You need to hop and land before you ever touch the ball. Your turning foot needs to come up high [just above the ball] before you connect.
Add these 180 turns from this article in with your online ball control courses and you’re set.
Outside of the foot turns
Again, practice these turns slowly at first.
Going slow allows you to notice how your form looks and teach yourself to be smooth.
- In a small 5-10 yard area [depending on the space you have] work on turning with the outside of the foot. Coaching tip: Bring your foot up higher than the ball, bend the knee and bring your foot down on the top-side of the ball to turn.
- Same as 1. but add a hop to it so you can get half way turned before you ever touch the ball. Coaching tip: Take a bigger touch out in front before you start to get half way turned to allow yourself time to adjust.
The sole/bottom of the foot
Most soccer people know what a sole role is, but again – can you do it smoothly
and do you know both ways?
- The classic pull back where you turn the same direction with the ball. Your body can be used as a shield to protect the ball.
- Reverse pull back, which is where you turn the opposite way. After you release [pull back] the ball, you will land and then turn.
It’s helpful to learn both of these so that when playing you can react to different situations.
Better to have several skills/weapons, than a few.
We can’t leave out the classic Cruyff turn! Named after Dutch player Johan Cruyff [former Barcelona & Ajax player]. Was a great player and coach!
This turn can be used as a quick 180 turn in any part of the field or it can be used to fake the shot/pass and then turn.
When facing the target [goal or teammate] or even the defender you can act like you are going to kick it long and make the defender flinch.
This creates time and space allowing you to pass, dribble or shoot.
3 fancy turns [skillful]
When turning while dribbling there are times you might need/want to add some extra sauce:)
Even if you never do a turn like these in a real game, you will greatly benefit by learning and practicing them!
It gives you extra confidence and coordination with the ball that is needed when it a tight situation.
Times when you have 2 or 3 defenders or when you’re pinned next to the sideline or just when you feel like having some fun and showing your skills.
Remember, first try these slow to teach the muscle memory.
Build your speed as you get smoother.
- Roll – chop
- Roll – step over
- Roll – tap – chop
These 3 moves blend together… You might not use these every week, but practicing them will bring your confidence up and allow you to use in tight pressure situations.
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