It’s hard to believe, but many players dribble with improper technique. The skill may seem very basic and intuitive, but it’s actually more complex than you think.
This article will teach you how to dribble a soccer ball with great skill. In addition, you will learn some valuable tips to keep in mind, and how to dribble as fast as possible.
You can’t develop Messi’s brilliant dribbling ability overnight, but you can definitely make significant improvements once you start practicing the proper technique.
Proper Technique For Dribbling a Soccer Ball
The key to dribbling is to develop a smooth, natural, athletic movement. This will do two things:
- Allow you to dribble quickly
- Keep the ball close to you
For example, look at the way Messi dribbles. He can dribble nearly as fast as he can run without the ball. In addition, he keeps the ball very close to his feet (some will even say glued on).
Many players dribble much slower than their off-the-ball speed. They also touch the ball too far in front of them. This makes it easy for defenders to steal the ball.
So to correct these two issues, you need to master proper technique.
Start with the arms. Your arms should be out naturally for balance. While sprinting and dribbling, they should move nearly identical to how they move when you sprint.
Next, comes the touching movement. When you sprint, you lift your knee up. This allows you to generate more power and thus increases your speed. You should do the same while dribbling. Lift your knee up before you touch the ball.
Now touch the ball ahead of you using your laces. Your foot should be straight, ankle locked. Most of the time, the touch should be fairly close to you. When you have open space, you can increase the distance of your touch.
After you touch the ball your foot should press against the ground like you are taking a step. The more natural this movement, the closer you are to running like you don’t have a ball at your feet.
Do NOT alternate feet. I often see players switch feet with each touch. This dramatically slows down your speed. Instead, you should use the same foot for each touch while dribbling forward.
The foot that puts the ball farther away from the defender should be used. For instance, if you are dribbling on the left side of the pitch, use your left foot. The defender will be slightly towards your right. Thus, the ball will be harder for him to steal.
The only time you should use the inside of your foot to dribble (while moving straight ahead) is while you are shielding the ball and dribbling at the same time. Otherwise, you will only slow yourself down.
When cutting, you should put your hips into the movement. After you touch the ball, immediately explode into the space you are cutting into. Your arms should move naturally to balance your body.
Learning How to Dribble a Soccer Ball
The beginner should start by dribbling as far as you can (before you have to turn around) very slowly. You need to go slowly to learn the proper technique.
As you improve, increase your speed. Work up to sprinting speed. Also, work on changes in speed. Increase your speed, then slow down and vice-versa.
To train your cutting ability, you can utilize cones. Place them in a row with a moderate amount of space between them. Dribble between them using inside and outside cuts. Also, use sole rolls. First, use one touch to go through all of the cones. Then combine them.
After you develop good dribbling ability, start learning soccer moves and tricks.
How to Beat a Defender in Soccer
This video from Epic Soccer Training illustrates how to beat a defender using your dribbling ability.
How to Dribble Like Messi
A video illustrating Messi’s dribbling technique and how you can emulate one of the greatest players of all time.
Soccer Dribbling Tips
Develop Your Weak Foot
Only developing proper dribbling technique in your strong foot puts you at a disadvantage. You should be comfortable dribbling with both feet so you can use the foot farthest away away from the defender.
Messi used to keep a soccer ball with him constantly. He dribbled everywhere. He even dribbled in his house!
To become a skilled dribbler, learn from Messi. You don’t have to be that extreme, but use this valuable principle: practice dribbling constantly.
When you practicing dribbling consistently, your skill will quickly improve. After months and years of training, you’re dribbling ability will be incredible.
Master Your Touch
You need to learn the proper distance you should touch the ball. Too far away, and the defender can easily steal the ball. Too close, and the ball will get tangled up in your feet.
Work on developing an optimal touch: not too close and not too far. Mastering this attribute of dribbling will greatly improve your ability.
Dribble Into Open Space
Many players get too caught up in dribbling. They dribble too much when they should shoot or pass instead.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some players pass when they should dribble. When there is open space, you should dribble in most situations. Dribble into the space and move up the pitch.