To develop dribbling skills, all types of experiences where the ball touches the
feet are good! Control and confidence will come only with continual practice.
Since this is one of the basic soccer skills, drills should be related to moving the
ball with the feet in some fashion. The children will want to instinctively use their
toes to nudge the ball along instead of using the instep and side of the foot. Also
they will want to keep tier eyes glued to the ball. Activities to where their eyes
have to be brought up to survey the activity around them are especially
worthwhile. Also, emphasize keeping the ball near the foot while dribbling.
Dribbling by its nature involves pressure of an opponent. We would like to
distinguish between dribbling movement, which is characterized by close control,
touching the ball almost every step while under pressure of an opponent, and
driving, which refers to the act of a player running with the ball without opposition,
taking long strides, pushing the ball ahead and running after it. Dribbling is
performed using all the major surfaces of the foot: top, bottom, inside and
outside. To dribble, a player does not kick the ball but rather the ball is pushed,
nudged and caressed. Young players need to become comfortable with the ball
using all the surfaces of the foot.
There are several key points to make when instructing players on how to outrun
an opponent while they are dribbling.
- Keep it simple
- Watch the front foot of defender
- Incorporate a fake with a change of direction to unbalance
- Try to cut the ball toward back of opponent
- Employ a change of pace from slow/moderate during the move to
an explosive burst at the end
- The best way to beat your opponent is to play 1 vs. 1.
Boys Baseball and Coed T-Ball – Canby Kids)
Place boundary cones or markers about 3-5 feet apart. Have players move in
and out of the cones, first for control and then for speed. Do the same drill
using players or parents as markers. After some skill is attained, allow the
standing players to use one foot for resistance.
One on One Screening
In a defined area, two players compete for the ball. The player who gets the ball
continues to dribble the ball while screening his opponent. If the other player
succeeds in getting the ball, he or she in turn dribbles the ball and makes an
effort to screen the opponent from getting the ball by placing his body in the way.
Line the players up along the goal line. Assign a destination with a marker:
middle field line, or opposite sideline. Upon a signal, each player should simply
dribble the ball to the destination and back. This can be varied in many ways. For
example: change direction, speed up or slow down. Do not make the activity a
race. Advise proper control and form instead.
Left Foot Dribble
To develop coordination and timing, the coach should devise relays, random
dribbling exercises, or destination activities where only the left foot is permitted.
(if the child usually uses the left foot, have him/her use their right foot.)
In this activity, the coach points in a particular direction. The players should look
up often to see where the coach is pointing. Players will gain experience dribbling
in all directions with the eyes up often to observe.
A good game to get parents involved!!
Have the kids dribble in an area (tell them they are bees and to buzz), then after
awhile, have the coaches (or a few parents) walk around inside the area. It is the
job of the “bees” to “sting” the big people with the ball (a pass or kick). They need
to keep looking for a target and hitting it. The kids really seem to enjoy this one!
“Sharks & Minnows” or “Freeze Tag”
Mark an area (20×20 or whatever makes sense for the number of kids) and have
each kid with a ball. They will be the minnows. Then release a shark into the area
(one of the kids without a ball). The shark’s job is to get the other kids balls. Once
a ball has been played, the dribbler (minnow) is frozen. Then have them take the
ball over their head and have them spread their legs apart. To be unfrozen
(release), another player (minnow) needs to put a ball between their legs (usually
dribbled). Switch the sharks every 30 seconds to a minute. (If there are not
enough balls, split the kids up into groups).
Mark an area (20*20 or smaller) Have all the kids with a ball at one end. Their job
is to dribble inside the square to the other end. Start with the coach or other
person in the middle. They are to try and kick the ball out of the area. If a person
loses their ball, they help in the middle. Play starts on a go command, so there is
a big wave of people trying to get across.
Have a person stand in the middle of the area with all the balls. They try to hit the
runners (below the waist) with a good pass or kick after the kids run from one
side to the other.