How To Dribble a Soccer Ball (Tips & Techniques)

Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, is a sport that requires a combination of skills, including passing, shooting, and dribbling.

Dribbling, in particular, is a fundamental skill that every soccer player should master.

It allows players to maintain control of the ball while moving past opponents, creating scoring opportunities, and maintaining possession for their team.

Below we look at the techniques, strategies, and tips to help you improve your dribbling skills and become a more effective player on the field.

The Basics of Dribbling

Dribbling is the act of moving the ball with your feet while maintaining control.

It involves a combination of footwork, coordination, and spatial awareness.

Before diving into advanced dribbling techniques, it is essential to understand the basics:

Keep your head up

One of the most crucial aspects of dribbling is maintaining awareness of your surroundings.

Keep your head up to scan the field, identify open spaces, and anticipate the movements of your teammates and opponents.

Use both feet

While many players have a dominant foot, it is essential to develop proficiency with both feet.

This allows you to dribble in any direction and makes it harder for defenders to predict your next move.

Control the ball

Use the inside and outside of your foot to control the ball.

The inside of your foot provides more accuracy and control, while the outside allows for quick changes in direction.

Practice ball manipulation

Learn to manipulate the ball using different parts of your foot.

This includes using the sole, instep, and laces to change the speed and direction of the ball.

Advanced Dribbling Techniques

Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced dribbling techniques.

These techniques will help you navigate through tight spaces, deceive defenders, and create scoring opportunities:

1. Change of Pace

Changing your pace is an effective way to throw off defenders.

Start by dribbling at a moderate speed, then suddenly accelerate to catch your opponent off guard.

Similarly, you can slow down your pace to lure defenders in before bursting past them with a burst of speed.

2. Feints and Body Movements

Feints and body movements are essential tools for deceiving defenders.

Use your body to fake a pass or shot, causing the defender to commit in the wrong direction.

Combine this with quick changes in direction to create space for yourself.

3. Shielding the Ball

Shielding the ball is a technique used to protect the ball from defenders.

Position your body between the ball and the opponent, using your arms as a barrier.

This makes it difficult for the defender to reach the ball without committing a foul.

4. 1v1 Moves

Mastering a few 1v1 moves can give you an edge when facing a defender.

Moves like the step-over, scissors, and the Cruyff turn can help you create space and beat your opponent.

5. Combination Play

Combination play involves linking up with your teammates through quick passes and movements.

This can help you navigate through tight spaces and break down the opposition’s defense.

Practice give-and-go passes and overlapping runs to improve your combination play.

Tips for Improving Your Dribbling Skills

Improving your dribbling skills requires consistent practice and dedication.

Here are some tips to help you enhance your dribbling abilities:

1. Practice with Cones

Set up a series of cones or markers in a straight line or various patterns.

Dribble through the cones, focusing on maintaining control and changing direction quickly.

This drill will improve your agility, footwork, and spatial awareness.

2. Use Small-Sided Games

Small-sided games, such as 3v3 or 4v4, provide ample opportunities to practice dribbling in a game-like situation.

The reduced space forces you to make quick decisions and navigate through tight spaces.

3. Watch and Learn from Professionals

Watch professional soccer matches and observe how the best players dribble.

Pay attention to their body movements, feints, and changes of pace.

Try to incorporate these techniques into your own game.

4. Improve Your Fitness

Dribbling requires agility, speed, and endurance.

Incorporate fitness exercises into your training routine to improve your overall athleticism.

This will help you maintain control of the ball for longer periods and outpace defenders.

5. Play Street Soccer

Street soccer, with its smaller playing area and fast-paced nature, is an excellent way to improve your dribbling skills.

The limited space forces you to be creative and find ways to maneuver past opponents.

THE BASICS OF DRIBBLING I beginner tutorial

How To Dribble a Soccer Ball While Sprinting

Here are the basics of how to dribble a soccer ball while sprinting:

1. Start with the Basics

Before attempting to dribble while sprinting, ensure you’re comfortable with basic dribbling techniques.

This includes controlling the ball with the inside, outside, and sole of your foot.

2. Adopt a Low Stance

When sprinting, lower your center of gravity by bending your knees slightly.

This gives you better balance and control over the ball.

3. Use the Front of Your Foot

For maximum control at high speeds, use the top of your foot or the laces to push the ball forward.

This allows for longer touches, suitable for sprinting.

4. Keep the Ball Close

While you’ll be taking longer touches than when dribbling at a walking pace, it’s essential to keep the ball close enough so that it’s always within reach and defenders can’t easily take it.

5. Look Up Regularly

Even as you focus on the ball, remember to look up frequently to assess the field, locate teammates, and identify where defenders are positioned.

6. Practice Changes in Direction

Being able to change direction quickly while sprinting with the ball can help you evade defenders.

Practice sharp cuts using the inside and outside of both feet.

7. Use Your Arms

Swing your arms for balance and to shield the ball from defenders. This can also help you maintain speed.

8. Train with Cones

Set up a series of cones in a straight line and practice sprinting with the ball through them.

This will help improve your control and precision at high speeds.

9. Control Your Breathing

Sprinting while dribbling can be exhausting. Focus on maintaining a steady breathing rhythm to ensure you don’t tire too quickly.

10. Practice Regularly

Like all soccer skills, the key to mastering dribbling while sprinting is consistent practice.

Dedicate time to hone this skill, and it will become a natural part of your game.


FAQs – How To Dribble a Soccer Ball

1. What is the best way to start learning how to dribble?

The best way to start learning how to dribble is by practicing basic ball control exercises.

Start by simply tapping the ball with the inside of your foot and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable.

2. How can I improve my weak foot for dribbling?

Improving your weak foot for dribbling requires consistent practice.

Start by performing basic dribbling exercises using only your weak foot.

Gradually increase the difficulty and challenge yourself to use your weak foot in game-like situations.

3. How can I improve my dribbling speed?

To improve your dribbling speed, focus on developing your agility and explosiveness.

Incorporate exercises such as ladder drills, cone drills, and sprint intervals into your training routine.

Additionally, practice dribbling at high speeds to improve your control and decision-making under pressure.

4. How do I maintain control of the ball while dribbling?

To maintain control of the ball while dribbling, focus on keeping your head up and maintaining a low center of gravity.

Use small touches with the inside or outside of your foot to keep the ball close to you.

Practice manipulating the ball with different parts of your foot to change direction quickly.

5. How can I improve my dribbling in tight spaces?

To improve your dribbling in tight spaces, practice quick changes of direction and body feints.

Use your body to shield the ball from defenders and create space for yourself.

Additionally, work on improving your close ball control by practicing dribbling through cones or markers placed closely together.

6. How do I beat a defender in a 1v1 situation?

In a 1v1 situation, use feints, body movements, and quick changes of direction to deceive the defender.

Practice moves like the step-over, scissors, and Cruyff turn to create space and beat your opponent.

7. How can I improve my dribbling under pressure?

To improve your dribbling under pressure, practice in game-like situations with defenders applying pressure.

This will help you develop the ability to make quick decisions, maintain control of the ball, and find open spaces.

8. How important is spatial awareness in dribbling?

Spatial awareness is crucial in dribbling as it allows you to anticipate the movements of your teammates and opponents.

Keeping your head up and scanning the field will help you identify open spaces, make accurate passes, and avoid losing possession.

9. How can I improve my combination play while dribbling?

To improve your combination play while dribbling, practice give-and-go passes with your teammates.

Work on overlapping runs and quick one-touch passes to create scoring opportunities and break down the opposition’s defense.

10. How do I know when to dribble and when to pass?

Knowing when to dribble and when to pass comes with experience and game awareness.

It is essential to assess the situation quickly, considering factors such as the position of your teammates and opponents, available passing options, and the space in front of you.

Practice decision-making drills to improve your ability to make the right choice in different game scenarios.


Dribbling is a fundamental skill in soccer that allows players to maintain control of the ball while moving past opponents.

By mastering the basics, such as keeping your head up and using both feet, you can lay a strong foundation for advanced dribbling techniques.

Techniques like changing pace, feints, and body movements can help you deceive defenders and create scoring opportunities.

Consistent practice, incorporating drills, small-sided games, and watching professionals, will help you improve your dribbling skills.

Remember to maintain control of the ball, improve your fitness, and play street soccer to enhance your overall dribbling abilities.

With dedication and practice, you can become a more effective dribbler and contribute significantly to your team’s success.

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