Control, Control, and Control. That’s the key to success in soccer. The dribble is the players’ first line of ball control and is used to move the ball either offensively or defensively. Dribbling consists of moving the ball with both feet, (depending on the age of your players, they may only have ‘one’ foot) all the while retaining control and proximity to the ball. While difficult for younger players, the introduction of the skill will pay off in the long run. Start by walking and moving slowly to quicker paces. Depending on the players’ age and attention span, have the player focus on other players on the field rather than the ball. A player should eventually develop a comfort for where the ball is without looking down. This allows them to spot both teammates and opponents and avoid losing control.
Some pointers for successful dribbling:
<P class=lists>1. Keep the head up.
2. The closer an opponent, the closer the ball should be kept to the player.
3. Shield the ball from opponents. This involves the use of the body as a ‘shield’. Have the player turn their back to an opponent and turn with the opponent as they try to go around, then pass or break for an ‘open spot’.
4. Never run faster than the ball can be controlled. Instead, stop and shield the ball and figure out your next move. Remember, "There is always someone faster, but not necessarily smarter".
5. When making a break towards the goal or another teammate, push the ball several feet ahead, allowing the player to begin the sprint.