How to Practice Your Dribbling
Dribbling is one of the most fundamental skills to learn in football. No matter what position you play, improving your dribbling skills will make you a better player. Thankfully, dribbling is a skill that’s easy to practice on your own. All you need is a ball and a few cones to help you get started. In this article, we’ll go over five of the best football dribbling drills for beginners.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need dozens of drills to help you become a better dribbler. You actually only need to focus on a few drills. What’s far more important is the level of intensity that you apply when training. You want to make sure you eliminate all possible distractions when performing these drills. Focus on every touch you take and make sure each movement is intentional.
If you’re looking for more training tips to help improve your skills, check out our list of 20 Great Individual Drills. If you want a detailed explanation that goes over the basics of dribbling, check out the below video from Unisport.
Dribbling Tips for Beginners
As you get started, there are a few key tips you’ll want to keep in mind, regardless of the drill you’re doing. Below are some tips you’ll want to make sure you apply while dribbling.
- Take light touches with the outside of your foot
- Keep your knees bent
- Stay on your toes
- Train with both feet
Now, let’s get into the five best drills for practicing your dribbling!
1. Cone Weave
The cone weave is one of the most simple dribbling drills to set up. All you need is to put a line of 5 to 10 cones about a foot apart. The goal of this drill is to dribble the ball around the cones without touching them.
This drill can be performed with an infinite amount of variations. For example, you can focus on only using one foot to dribble throughout all the cones, and then switch to your other foot for the next round. Then you can try using both feet to dribble through the cones as well.
If you’re just starting out, you may need to space the cones slightly farther apart. This will give you more room for error. As you improve, make the spaces more narrow and try to weave through the cones at greater speeds. Avoid letting the ball get away from you by taking tight and controlled touches.
2. Sprint to Gate
The sprint to gate drill is deceivingly simple. After all, what could be challenging about just sprinting in a straight line with the ball? If you’ve ever tried running with the ball, it can be really challenging to maintain control at high speeds.
To set up this drill, place two sets of cones approximately 20 yards apart. As you build fitness, you can increase this distance to 30 yards. As you start dribbling, take strong touches on the ball to ensure the ball stays in front of you. You want to avoid getting the ball caught under your feet, as this will slow you down.
As you dribble the ball, try and maintain your sprint speed without losing control. Focus on touching the ball into the direction that you’re running, as this will help maintain momentum. As always, make sure to use both feet with this drill.
3. Figure 8
The figure 8 drill is another great option that’s going to work on your ability to change direction at high speeds. In order to get started with this drill, all you need is 4 cones set up in a 20 by 20 yard square.
To start the drill, you’ll dribble diagonally from the first cone to the second cone, then pivot 90 degrees and dribble towards the adjacent cone. Proceed to dribble diagonally across to the third cone before returning to the first cone. Your dribbling should form a figure 8 pattern once you’ve returned to the first cone.
Football sometimes requires that you quickly change directions under pressure. This drill is about making quick turns and then sprinting towards your next target. Try timing yourself when performing this drill with the goal of increasing your speed.
The zig-zag drill can be used to simulate beating a player in a one on one scenario by quickly changing direction. Think of each cone as a player on the opposing team that you need to get past.
In order to set up this drill, place 5 to 10 cones in a zig-zag pattern, with the cones spaced about 10 yards apart. As you begin the drill, dribble to the cone in front of you with pace. When you approach the cone, perform a move to get past.
This move can be a step over, or just a simple body feint. Sometimes, the simplest skills are the most effective at getting past a player. Feel free to experience new techniques. That way, you can get more comfortable implementing these methods in a real game.
5. Dynamic Shuttle Runs
This shuttle run is probably my favorite dribbling drill of all time. It’s simple, versatile, and really great for your fitness. To set up the drill, you want to set up 4 cones about 10 yards apart.
Starting at the first cone, take small controlled touches towards the second cone. When you reach the cone, turn and dribble back. Then, dribble towards the second cone with slightly more pace. After you return, dribble at full speed towards the third cone, before sharply cutting back and returning to the starting cone.
As you can see, this drill has three levels of increasing speed. This will give you the ability to practice your dribbling at a variety of paces. You can mix up the types of turns you make at each cone as well. For example, you can alternate going around the cone by using the outside of your foot, the inside of your foot, or by doing a cruyff turn.
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