How To Dribble a Soccer Ball/Football

Dribbling in Soccer or Football

Photo of football in action

Dribbling is the art of flummoxing opposition players using quick feet or a variety of football moves usually seen in Nike ads.  While excellent dribbling skills are necessary to a good game, they don't mean much if you're not at your physical best -- to learn how to train properly for soccer, I highly recommend you check out Total Soccer Fitness.

To become an exceptional attacking player, one must be able to beat opponents--the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho are all perfect examples of this. Ronaldo’s trademark move, the step-over, has left dozens of defenders all across the world on their backsides, with both experienced campaigners and those just starting out in the game deceived by the move perfected by the Manchester United winger.

Other famous moves include the nutmeg, where a player places the ball through an opponent’s legs, runs around him and collects the ball. This is known as one of football’s greatest embarrassments. The roulette is a move perfected by France legend Zinedine Zidane. This move involves a complex 360 spin that, when performed at speed, is near impossible to stop. Some players have mastered a move so well they can perform it at ease, with the “Cruyff turn” named after Dutch soccer great, Johan Cruyff.

Although dribbling moves can appear inexecutable when first seen by a soccer novice, after practicing, practicing and practicing some more, it is easy to get them right. Those especially fond of YouTube will relish watching over and over again the Olé videos, a mini-game that originated in Brazil where the sole purpose is to embarrass your opponent with quick feet. On the pitch, dribbling serves many purposes. Against teams that have a strong defense with tight man-marking, dribbling can draw more than one defender to the man with the ball, creating space for others to take a shot or make a pass. A good dribbler, one that defenders cannot take the ball from legally, often draws rash tackles, which can result in free kicks in good position for the attacking team, and yellow or red cards for the defending team.

How dribbling is perceived around the world is an interesting issue when you look at the way coaches in different countries see it. Whereas most football coaches in England tend to ignore coaching dribbling, preferring to concentrate on what they see as more practical skills like crossing or shooting, their counterparts in Brazil allow youth players to play with freedom, and this difference can clearly be seen on the national stage. While England only has two players (Aaron Lennon&Joe Cole) that can dribble anywhere near as good as the elite of the game, nearly all of Brazil’s players can go past an opponent with ease, including some of their defenders. In conclusion, dribbling appeared to be a dying art, brought back to life with a bang with the emergence of the likes of Ronaldinho and Edgar Davids, and one only hopes that the next generation, with players such as Anderson, Kerlon and Carlos Vela, continue the moves that bring so much pleasure to those watching the game.

How can YOU become a master dribbler? Follow these tips to learn how:

  1. Start off with a relatively easy move, such as the Cruyff turn.
  2. Watch examples of this move performed on the Internet, on sites such as YouTube or Google Video.
  3. Start practicing the trick, first alone on grass.
  4. Add in plastic cones to act as defenders.
  5. Ask a friend to mark you to make it harder while you perform the move.
  6. Try the move in a match.
  7. Once you complete the basic moves, move on to harder and harder ones like the Elastico or Roulette.

One hopes you will be able to master the art of dribbling in no time at all! The easier moves should take a couple of days to become good at; slightly harder ones could take a week or two. Practice these moves a lot in street matches before you try them in a semi-professional or professional match.


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