EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Dribbling past the defender

Build and improve the confidence and skills of your attackers as they learn the technique and temperament required to dribble past an opponent.

What this session is about

  1. Improving dribbling skills and close control.
  2. Developing ball familiarity and confidence.

What to think about

  • Use movement to lose marker before receiving the ball.
  • Be positive – don’t worry about losing possession.
  • Keep the ball within playing distance.
  • Use the inside and outside of both feet.
  • Take quick, small steps.
  • Dribble with head up.
  • Use sudden changes of speed and direction along with feints and tricks – e.g. stepovers etc. – to unbalance defenders.
  • Accelerate away from defenders.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes15 minutes5 minutes

What you get your players to do

Set up a 10-yard square divided into two halves. Place a defender who can only move side to side on the halfway line. An attacker has to dribble the ball past the defender to the far side. If successful, he turns and tries again. If not, switch roles.

Allow players who are frequently unsuccessful more time/attempts if it looks like they require more practice.

  • To progress, use 4 players in a 20×10-yard area, split into thirds. Position a defender on each of third-way lines – still restricted to moving left and right only along the line. The two attackers start at opposite ends. If an attacker makes it to the other end past both defenders, the next attacker repeats the drill in the opposite direction. If not, the defender who won the ball takes over from the point the ball was won and switches roles with the attacker who lost the ball.
The attacker looks to dribble past a defender who can only move side to side along the halfway line.

The attacker looks to dribble past a defender who can only move side to side along the halfway line.


Development

As before but 2v2. The two attackers either combine to beat the defenders with passes or dribbling, or dribble past their marker. Encourage the use of the other attacker as a decoy. Switch roles after a set time.

This time play 2v2. Attackers either combine to beat defenders with passes/dribbling or just dribble past them.

This time play 2v2. Attackers either combine to beat defenders with passes/dribbling or just dribble past them.


Game situation

Set up a 40×20-yard pitch and play 3v3 on a 20-yard square central zone. The 10-yard endzones are divided in two widthways and put in each zone to leave two goals at each end, each one guarded by a defender – making it a 5v5 game with no keepers. The aim is to combine to free a player into an endzone, giving him the chance to dribble 1v1 against a defender and score. If a goal is scored, the defence starts again. If the defender wins the ball, it is rolled back into the central zone where play resumes. • Finally, remove the end zones but encourage the players to take on a defender before scoring.

Play 3v3 in the central zone. They look to release an attacker for a 1v1 in an end zone.

Play 3v3 in the central zone. They look to release an attacker for a 1v1 in an end zone.


What to call out

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