How to teach dribbling

Dribbling is, perhaps, the most important skill a player can have or work on. Your children will put opposition players out of the game by dribbling past them.

They will also demoralise the opposition and make themselves feel good.

And by dribbling they’re showing that they’re not afraid of being tackled.

That said, there are occasions when it is wrong to dribble.

Why? Because the most skilful dribbler cannot always beat the opposition.

So, if they are dribbling in the attacking third, a 90% success rate is good and your children will score plenty of goals.

But if they dribble near your goal the same success rate can easily lose the game because every time they lose the ball they will present the opposition with a great chance to score.

The lesson is? Don’t dribble in front of your own goal!

Start your dribbling practice with games that have players repeatedly touching the football. Add pressure as the practice continues by limiting the space and adding defenders. End the practice by having players perform skills in match like conditions.

Two games in particular – Musical Balls and Blob Tag – are also great warm ups to begin a dribbling session. Your kids will love playing them!

Some basic dribbling moves

The Stop and Go.

This is simply a change of pace. You jog slowly with the ball, usually when a defender is along side of you, and then burst past the defender. The key is a change of pace with the ball.

You can also put the sole of your foot on top of the ball when stopping the ball and then push it forward with your instep when you break off on the dribble again to escape the defender.

The Cut Back.

With the inside of the foot you cut the ball back behind your body. Using your right foot to cut the ball back you plant your left foot to the side of the ball and then bring your right foot up to cut the ball back.

You can often tie this in with a fake shot. Dribbling away from a defender into space you fake a pass or shot and then chop the ball back with the inside of the foot you used to fake the pass or the shot.

The Fake Shot.

Simply cocking the leg back like you are going to shoot can buy you time.

The Step over.

You take your right foot over the ball and dribble away with your left. Also often called the scissors.

Inside Outside.

You kind of fake like your going inside and then rush to the outside. With the inside of your foot on the ball you carry the ball a little bit to the inside and then when you think the defender is off balance or not ready, you make a dash for the outside and with more space to cross the ball, or make a pass, or shoot.

Outside Inside.

This time use the outside of your feet, this is usually more difficult because you don’t have as much control with the outside of your feet, in terms of surface area, so make the dragging of the ball to the outside a little shorter in distance. Same as above but reverse.

Dropping Your Shoulder.

Dribbling slowly at a defender you feint with the shoulder, kind of ducking your shoulder down a little bit one way and take off the other.

Sole of the foot turn.

Pull the ball back with the bottom of your shoe and burst away with a change of speed.


Life the ball over the defender’s foot. This is usually done while feinting one way and then scooping the ball the other way just over the defender’s planted foot.

After you lift the ball over the defenders foot make sure to take off with a burst of speed. Often, you want to scoop or lift the ball over the defenders foot and to your other foot so your body will be between you and the defender after you make the move. So you are dribbling with your right foot and scoop the ball over the defenders foot and to your left foot or the other way around. Also, this move is also usually done when you are in an almost standing position and the defender is rushing at you or you’re suckering the defender in and then lifting the ball over their foot as they came in towards you to fast and you then slip away.

The Lean.

Leaning to one side, as if you are going to dart that way and then when the defender leans that way take off in the opposite direction.

Sucker them.

Entice the defender to try to go for the ball, exposing the ball as if the defender can steal it and when he or she makes a move to go for the ball you cut the ball away and take off. Again, change of pace is the key when beating a defender on the dribble.