Grassroots Coaching

Football coaching session to improve dribbling

Dribbling is one of the hardest techniques to master. It requires an understanding of when and where to dribble. Players need to be positive and brave, as the easy option is always to pass to a team mate, rather than take a chance. If the dribble goes wrong, too often the player attempting the dribble is blamed for being too greedy or not passing.

As football coaches, we need to provide a positive environment where players are encouraged to dribble. But, we also need to ensure players have a good understanding of the techniques involved in dribbling and to have lots of opportunities to practice these basic techniques. So that when they are in a position to dribble in a game situation and they have all the basic technical tools to succeed.

The video, is a football coaching practice designed to encourage players to practice the techniques of dribbling.

There are a number of key organisational elements to follow when coaching this football practice:

  • All the players and balls should be moving at the same time. This may result in a degree of chaos. The solutions for the players are to find space in the chaos to receive the ball: To keep their heads up, so they are aware of and can avoid other players and to manipulate the ball in different directions around the cones and away from the other players.
  • The ball is always passed from either of the end zones  to a player in the centre zone. After passing, the player moves from the end zone into the central zone and looks to receive a pass from a player with a ball in one of the end zones.
  • Progress the football practise and encourage players to use tricks, such as step overs, followed by a burst of pace and direction, under control.
  • Introduce a couple of passive defenders, who can be in possession of a football, to provide opposition that the players can dribble round

football dribbling


  1. Players in the central zone to create and find space to receive the ball out of the feet
  2. Receive the ball so that the dribbler  is facing the direction they want to dribble – towards the opposite end zone
  3. Ball in front, close and under control. Keep it within playing distance.
  4. Keep the head up to see what is around them and to be aware of other players
  5. Ball manipulation, using different parts of the foot to manipulate the ball quickly and under control in different directions. Use the big and little toe, the sole of the foot and use both feet
  6. Encourage changes of pace, slow, slow, quick, quick
  7. Develop and use tricks when approaching cones, such as step overs etc, to practice unbalancing defenders
  8. Controlled change of pace and direction after the trick to exploit space created
  9. Have the ball under control, close and keep the head up
  10. After dribbling into an end zone, get the head up and pass accurately to a free player in the central zone.
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