Field size: 30 yards by 30 yards
Number of players: whole team; split into two groups so players aren’t standing around in line; have to separate set of cones in the shape of a square or circle
Age range: 6-10
Description: Players are timed as they dribble around a square, circle, triangle and L shaped set of cones. This isn’t a drill where players weave in and out of cones but instead dribble along the outside of the cones – the edge. Don’t time players until they’ve mastered the skill of dribbling around the area and the cones perfectly.
First, let the players dribble with either foot but then put restrictions on the players where they have to dribble with just their right or left or the inside or outside of their feet. The key is not necessarily how fast the player gets around the shape, but that they use the right technique: as in they keep the ball close to them and get their head up as much as possible to navigate around the area.
Have players exaggerate their dribbling by telling them they have to touch the ball with every step, this will force them to keep the ball close and will make it easier to cut the ball away from defenders when they’re playing in a real game. To start, let players dribble around the area a few times without being timed. Also, you can have these two groups race one another when they’ve got the hang of it. The ball can’t go too far outside the edge of the shape they’re dribbling around.
Later, add in some soccer skills such as the stop and go or just chaning pace, go from walking with the ball to jogging to sprinting. Get them used to changing pace when they’re dribbling the ball. If the area is a square, later on have the players dribbling around the cones entirely with the inside or outside of the foot. This gets them to work on turning, spinning around with the ball and shielding.
Pep Guardiola explained his approach, ‘My first question is always, “Can this guy dribble?” I only want players who have that skill so that’s always what I look at. I want full backs and central defenders and midfielders and inside forwards and winger who can dribble. Because you can learn control and good passing…So, yeah, dribbling, that’s the key."
Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.
More info on dribbling skills and drills. In this video in the how to improve your soccer skills series, we go over some cone drills for soccer dribbling improvement. These cone drills can improve your skills and soccer dribbling greatly if you do them often.