In this first article of our Soccer Skills Series, we’re giving you 5 simple ways to improve your dribbling skills and make you a much more complete footballer. There are hundreds of different way to learn how to dribble, but the beauty of these 5 ideas is that you can do these soccer skills at home by yourself, with friends, in your backyard, or even at team practice. Or to really push yourself, sometimes, it’s even more fun with others at a training session like Evolve. There are so many opportunities and there are no excuses to improve to be great soccer baller! So try these out!
1. Quick Dribbling to Cones
One of the keys of training is that you need to improve the level of difficulty and variety in order to get the most out of a player once he or she has a lot more experience on the field, which is something that quick dribbling actually does quite well. Quick dribbling to a target, such as cones, helps you perfect the basic cut-backs and changes of direction that are so important in a game.
Set up 6 cones (or backpacks or sweatshirts) in a vertical row about three-yards apart. Dribble to the first cone with any part of your foot, cut the ball back sharply with the inside of your foot, and go back to your starting point. Then do the same to the second cone and go back to your starting point. And then to the third, fourth, fifth, and finally the sixth cone.
Variations are unlimited, such as:
- Use right foot only, back and forth between outside of right foot and inside of right foot
- Use left foot only, back and forth between outside of left foot and inside of left foot
- At the cones, cut back with the outside of the foot
- At the cones, drag the ball back with the sole of your foot
- At the cones, drag the ball back with behind your other foot, called a Cruyff
- Dribble to first cone, stop the ball with your toe, and then accelerate to the second cone, stop the ball ..and repeat
- Turn sideways with your left shoulder aimed towards the cones, and roll the ball with the sole of your right foot. Omn the return use the sole of the opposite foot to roll the ball.
There are hundreds of videos to show these examples and many, many, more variations. It could be four cones for a square and a cone in the middle to dribble to. But only you can make it happen. Train until you do it right , not just once, but every time. So in a game, it will be second nature for you. Watch Messi dribble. He rarely does all the fancy YouTube tricks. He just does the basic moves super quick, with a stutter here, a feint here there, and leaves his opponents completely confused.
2. Diagonal Dribbling through Cones
The great thing about this dribbling exercise is that it can work with the outside, inside, the toe, or the sole of the foot giving you many dribbling options while training. And again, there are hundreds of variations.
Line up from six to seven cones with a one-yard distance between one another. First, dribble in between the cones with the inside and then the outside of the foot in order to pass the cones. When you get to the last cone, turn and dribble back at speed. Do it two or three times per session. The key here is to incorporate multiple dribbles such as cutting outside or inside depending on your angle or passing from one inside of the foot to another –the important thing is to practice enough until it becomes second nature to you.
Some variations are:
- Use right foot only and use couple steps in between each cone, back and forth between outside of right foot and inside of right foot.
- Switch to the left foot
- Use the toe of your foot to bring the ball around the cone
- Turn sideways with your left shoulder aimed towards the cones. Roll the ball forward with your right foot through the cones, drag it back with your right foot, pass it to your left, and then push through with the cones. Pull back with the right foot and repeat, always moving to the left. Then switch sides of the cone
- Roll the ball between the cones ( and a bit forward) with the sole of your foot
- Roll the ball through the cones with the sole of your foot,and then try it backwards
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3. Square or Circle Fun
Make a boundary shaped like square or circle with cones. Throw some cones inside the area about 3 feet apart. Use your creativity and try to dribble around all the cones using only your right foot, the only your left foot. Cut the ball back, go left or right so you don’t hit any cones. Dribble for about 30 second and see how many cones you can get around. The use quick touches both feet to dribble the through all the cones. Or with just the soles of your feet. Maybe touch the ball to one side of the cone while you run around the other side of the cone to receive the ball.
Try the V-move! Go past a cone, drag back the ball with the sole of your foot and then you push the ball forward with the inside of the other foot to the other side of the cone. This way you are going to be able of bypassing defenders that are piling on you and have much more space to play, shoot on goal, or pass the ball to your teammates.
4. Wall Work
Although not specifically viewed as dribbling tool, a good solid wall can be your best friend. When no one else to play with, a wall is always eager to kick around with. The best part is a wall will never be better than you, as it just repeats what you do. You kick too soft, it will not return the ball too well to you. Too hard and you might be chasing the ball far from you! There is no hiding from the wall.
In terms of dribbling, the wall can definitely helps you with your first directional touch. When you pass to a wall and it comes back to you, you can receive the ball with the inside of a foot, and move across your body before you pass it back. Maybe you take two touches to the left before passing back. Maybe a short and longer touch to the side. Use the inside foot, and then the outside foot to move the ball where you want it to go. Push the ball to the side away from your body, then push the ball across your body to the other foot. To quicken your technique, try it from 15 feet away from the wall, then closer until you get to three feet from the wall.
You need to try each variation for about 60 to 90 seconds, with a short break in between thus allowing you to warm up your feet and develop a better control of the inside of your foot given. See how many you can do in 1 minute, Take a quick break and try to break you record. Or challenge a friend.
The wall can be used for volleys, heading, long passes, short passes, change of direction or whatever you can imagine. If you have a friend, you can have passing competitions, or accuracy challenges. The only requirement for this to be effective is to move the ball quickly and with intensity, as if in game situation. Once you get lazy, neither you or the wall will have much fun.
5. The 30,000 Touch Challenge
Put all these ideas above together and create a challenge for yourself and your friends. For 30 days, take a soccer ball and you have to get 1000 touches a day. It could be cut-backs, bells, step-overs, drag-backs, V-s, Cruyffs, anything that you can come up with. Do this for 30 straight days and you will have 30,000 touches. Do this every month and you will have an amazing 360,000 touches
The only requirements are:
- Do the move correctly. The Youtube videos below has some ideas.
- Do the moves as quick as you can. If you mess up, get the ball back, and keep going.
- Change the move every 50 touches. (although you can do 50 with the left foot and 50 right foot!) OR just do 100 touches at a time as fast as you can (such as in the Instagram example below) and then take a 30 second break, and do 10 times.
- Take a 30 second break in between each set.
- Juggling not allowed
You can use a wall, use cones, or nothing but your feet. The time will pass in no time and you’ll be getting better every day. After a week, time yourself to do all the moves and then see if you can beat your time.