Soccer dribbling skills are a crucial for every player to possess no matter their position. You’ve seen this before on the soccer field: A player gets the ball and gracefully weaves in and out of three or four players before cutting the ball back one more time to bend the ball into the far corner and score a goal. The soccer ball tethered to their foot the entire time. Think Lionel Messi’s dribbling run against Getafe, which was very similar to Maradona’s run against England in the 1986 World Cup.
You don’t get soccer dribbling skills like that with luck. It takes talent, technique, and dedication. In other words, practice, practice, and more practice. It means spending time with the soccer ball on your own. It means being able to keep your head up slightly as you dribble the ball so you can see the field. It means being able to dribble at a slow pace and then explode past a defender with speed. It means dribbling in and out of a set of cones until you can do it in your sleep. It means touching the soccer ball with every step as you dribble.
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.”
Here’s a selection of some of the best soccer dribbling skills and moves in the game. Also, watch Ryan Giggs teach young Manchester United Academy players how to take players on and put defenders off balance.
First off though, the best dribblers of the ball, like Messi, touch the ball with every step they take, this way they can cut in any direction at anytime. That’s the key to becoming a great dribbler of the ball in soccer. It’s only when you’re able to dribble the ball with every step and cut the ball to either side should you look at trying some of the soccer moves below. And this also means being able to dribble comfortably with both feet.
Some of best dribblers in the world don’t even necessarily have moves or tricks, they just have such incredible control of the ball that they can cut the ball away from defenders when they try to take it.
So, once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of dribbling the soccer ball, and as long as you’re able to dribble at speed with the ball and keep it close to you, then you can proceed to the advanced set of soccer moves and tricks that are outlined below.
Sure, there’s no harm in working on soccer moves or tricks, as it only gets you more comfortable with the ball, but don’t replace tricks and moves with the ability to expertly dribble the ball with the inside and outside of both feet under pressure. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of dribbling, then try to pull off something like this Dimitri Payet run:
Barcelona’s trainer Lorenzo Buenaventura said this about Iniesta’s dribbling skills: “What happens is that Andrés brakes. That’s the key, the most important thing. People say: ‘Look how quick he is!’ No, no, that’s not the point. It’s not about speed, about how fast he goes; what it’s really about is how he stops and when, then, how he gets moving again.” Again, dribbling is all about change of pace.
Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Vocabulary
Take a look at this list of soccer moves and add them to your game if they’re not part of it already.
All of these moves are broken down step by step from Coerver Coaching’s Moves and Ball Mastery series.
And, don’t just add them to your package of skills and dribbling moves, perfect them! Some of these soccer dribbling techniques will help you not just beat defenders but score and setup goals.
These are all excellent soccer moves to beat a defender. Remember to go slow before doing the move and then burst away at speed afterwards. Change of pace is the key to beat any defender on the dribble no matter what soccer move or trick you use.