The first thing learned and necessary in soccer is the ability to dribble. If the skill of dribbling is never learned the athlete will not be able to play soccer, as it is the most basic skill needed. How do we move the ball as an individual in open space if we cannot dribble? Now how we dribble can be evolved through advance play and practicing complex moves, but the basic dribbling skill is a must have for any soccer player.
To start we set the ball down in front of the player and teach them the correct part of the foot to use to move the ball, just on the outside laces. Using just the outside of the laces of the foot have players make contact with the center of the ball to move the ball. The phrase “you must walk before you run” is true in dribbling. Players must first walk with dribbling the ball as beginners and then speed up the pace and add cones as ability and skill improves.
Athleticism points are necessary pointers when discussing dribbling. Players need a slight knee bend, soft touch and stay light on their feet. Keep the ball close for control is often not communicated well with beginners, and this will come with athleticism improvements for the soft touch. Another pointer is don’t look at the ball. We can’t stare or look down because that takes away from field awareness so teach from the beginning these desired attributes.
One of the basic four touches for an athlete is using the bottom of the foot when dribbling. It makes shielding the ball from the opponent easier, more effective, and helps when changing directions. This is sometimes an easier way for beginners to stop, receive the ball, and transition into a dribble. The more parts of the foot players can use the better soccer skills they will develop.
Keeping the same athleticism principles mentioned earlier when dribbling with the bottom of the foot; the next step is to place the bottom of the foot just behind the center spot on the top of the ball. An easy drill to work on using the bottom of the foot is the “toe tap” where the player passing the ball from one foot to the other. They stop it and then redirect the ball using the bottom of their foot and this is a drill they can do alone.
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