Grassroots Coaching

Improving your youth team’s dribbling ability

As we have recently posted about encouraging creativity within your youth team, it’s only right we talk about dribbling. – a very important tool in a creative player’s repertoire.  How do you players feel about beating an opponent one-on-one? Let’s go through some ways in which we can coach our players to be more confident and forward-thinking when on the ball.




Often in a game situation, players will find themselves trying to find the extra yard on their direct opponent. Agility is at the centre of this ‘extra yard’ and can be a hugely positive component of a player who often completes successful and player-beating dribbles. However, agility is a factor that is not limited to football, it’s a skill that needs to be improved with the ball at-feet. By coaching your players with speed and agility training, then combining this with being in control of the football, your players will improve their ability to change direction and gain a quicker yard than their opponents.


Feint with the ball and the body


It’s no secret that footballing technique has improved hugely across the pitch, that extends to players ability to defend. In this day and age, defenders have seen just about every trick in the book, therefore its become harder to trick them and advance beyond, towards a goal-scoring opportunity.


Many players execute the body feint in an effort to try to encourage the defender to over-commit one way, then allowing for space the other way. The reality of modern defending is that they’re watching the ball, at least they should be! This means that an effort should be made to move the ball into positions that forces the defender to re-adjust, then using that window to advance beyond them. Therefore, if a defender is coming into a challenge facing a particular way, try to switch the ball to the other side, making them turn around and potentially creating an opening to exploit.


Use your teammates


Picture yourself defending an oncoming attacker who is approaching from one of the wide areas of the pitch. The attacker cuts inside and draws you towards the middle of the pitch, you then see another opponent filling the void left by the initial attacker. This creates a problem, there is now an opportunity for this player to progress towards your goal with a clear path down the wing. The player on the ball looks as if he’s going to pass the ball out to this free player, you must go across and cover this player, right?


By having teammates rushing to overlap and singling out opponents, we can make it a lot easier to dribble past them – therefore making the successful, attacking dribble, far more possible. Encourage the sensible advancements of your players to support those on-the-ball and see the opportunities open up.

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