In soccer, dribbling is the ability to move the ball around the field, unassisted by other players, alone.
It is believed that great dribblers are “born and not made,” and also that dribbling is “an art and not a science.” However, dribbling can and must be taught in order to have the edge over your opponents. Even when coaching young players, consider adding advanced moves.
Beginner soccer dribbling techniques can be divided into three categories:
The basic concept of soccer dribbling is maintaining the ball as close to the feet as possible. By using the correct part of the feet and sustaining good balance, players will be able to control the ball more advantageously.
On the other hand, players must try to maximize the use of the lower part of the peripheral vision. It is imperative to see, at the same time, the ball and as much of the field during performance of the skill.
Players must also be careful and keep the ball close to the feet during dribbling because opposite players will try to intercept the ball.
Key to keeping the ball close is to touch the ball gently, using the least possible amount of force necessary to maintain the ball's moving in the desired direction. This can represent a significant challenge when running at maximum speed, but it is doable.
When dribbling the ball while running at top speed, the ball should be steadily touched by the instep lightly to the top and behind the main joint of the big or the little toe. While running, the player will be capable of keeping up speed and maintaining proper balance by using the leading edges of the foot to dribble. If, in this instance, some other part of the foot were to be used, the player would have to slow down considerably or risk falling down.
Whatever part, of either foot, can be used in soccer dribbling. It is, however, important that the choice is appropriate to the purpose at hand and that the player stays properly balanced for the next move.
The insides and outsides of the foot can be used to move the ball straight ahead or obliquely forward.
The sole can be used to stop the ball, thrust it forward, pull it backward or roll it to either side.
The instep can be used to “chop” the ball obliquely backward.
The instep and toe can also be used to maneuver the ball forward or to flick it up.
The heel can even be used to hit the ball backward.
The natural tendency, while dribbling, is to look directly at the ball. By doing so, the field of vision is severely reduced, often to as little as ten yards around the ball. This reduction of vision doesn’t allow the dribbler to sight either the opportunities actualized by his teammates or the problems created by his opponents.
For that reason, while dribbling, the player with the ball should aim to use the lower edge of his peripheral vision in order to see the ball and focus his line of sight thirty or more yards upfield. This will be tough for beginners as conceptually so in practice.
With youth players, soccer coaches need to introduce and reinforce this idea very clearly.
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