Grassroots Coaching

Video coaching analysis of why, where and how to dribble

Three key questions football coaches should be helping their players to understand is Why? Where and How? This video  coaching analysis will help all coaches understand these three questions and be in a much better position to help their players understand and implement  the Why, Where and How.

Take dribbling. Why would players want to do it? Where do they want to do it and how should they do it?


  • To advance the attack up the pitch to dangerous areas
  • To commit defenders and create and exploit space created
  • To take an opposition player or players momentarily out of the game
  • To break up a compact, organised defensive shape, by causing chaos and by dragging defensive players out of position
  • To create space for other attacking players
  • To achieve a positive end attacking result – a shot, pass or cross


  • Players to recognise in which areas of the pitch to dribble, where the reward is greater than the risk involved.
  • That doesn’t mean that players, or even the GK can’t dribble in defensive areas. There might be times when there is lots of committed pressure on the ball, where an attacker over commits and a dribble is a good option. But, players need to understand Risk v Reward to be able to make better decisions for themselves .


  • By initially receiving the ball or creating a situation where the attacking player is facing up to the opposition defence.
  • By being positive and brave and making good decisions about Risk v Reward
  • By keeping their head up, so they can make good decisions.
  • By keeping the ball close and under control – or if there is space by attacking the space quickly, positively, but under control and with the head up.
  • By using tricks, feints, ball manipulation and turns to unbalance defenders
  • By using changes of pace and direction to exploit the space created.
  • By having a positive end result at the end of the dribble – shot, cross, pass

Video coaching

Then there is the implication of other members of the team. A scenario I like to use is, say you have the ball and a player like Lionel Messi is in an attacking area of the pitch, would you pass him the ball? Of course you would, so players have to look to be brave and pass to key team mates who are in good, attacking positions.

Once he has the ball, would you rush over to him and want the ball back? Or would you leave him, trust him and provide support behind him, just in case he lost it or he attracted several defenders attention?

What would other attacking players do once Messi has the ball and is in a position to dribble? I would suggest they leave him and look to find space away from the ball and defenders and look for positions where if the defenders gang up on Messi, he can pass them the ball in space or if the defenders decide to mark, rather than gang up on him, he is in a position where he is faced with only one or two defenders and has a great dribbling opportunity.

Dribbling isn’t just about an attacker beating a defender. That is a big part of it. But it is also about the dribbler committing defenders and breaking up organised, compact defences to create space for other players to exploit.

Posted in
Attacking UEFA B