Soccer is a great game to be played, but it is also a great game to be watched. Someone that’s not knowledgeable about soccer might wonder just what it is making it the most popular sport on Earth.
The same as basketball has its slam dunks and alley oops, baseball its own home boxing or runs its own knockouts, football has a lot of key components which make it a highly enjoyable game: goals passes, tackles and dribbling.
It is the last one that I value most, since I believe that a good dribble isn’t just spectacular, but it can be particularly effective in a game, so I’m going to dedicate the next article to explaining how football dribbling works, how you are able to train it, concentrate on a couple of special dribbling moves and determine what soccer abilities affect your dribbling skill.
Soccer Dribbling — Introduction into the World of Ankle Breakers
By definition, soccer dribbling is a method utilized by the ball carrier to pass the ball beyond an immediate competitor, without devoting ownership. This might be a tight dictionary-like statement, but in fact, soccer dribbling is as easy in theory as that: do whatever you can (from the bounds of the football laws) to get past your opponent and maintain possession of the ball. However, “getting beyond your competition” requires a little explaining.
In a first glance, which may seem restricted to downhill exceeding your competitor on the pitch, even when in truth dribbling can be done sideways, or even back towards your own half (when you would like to avoid a handle like) and in many cases it’s only a way of clearing up the room to find a pass or shot at. This doesn’t necessarily have the ball on the opposing side of your competitor, but it will avoid him, letting you continue the drama to your teammates.
There are lots of sorts of dribbles which have different purposes from the game and by forms of dribbles, I do not mean specific moves, or specific tricks, but rather game mechanisms involving dribbles which have a particular end-goal.
Stress Avoiding Dribbles — This is possibly the most common type of dribble from the game and as a central midfielder almost every touch of the ball that you get will have to be followed closely by a pressure avoiding dribble. This entails a quick flick of the ball in a place with a few vacant space when being under pressure from a competition and its intention is to give you a few moments to perform a pass, or sometimes a shot.
An essential facet of pressure preventing dribbles is understanding where you are going to move the ball even before you really get to it. Take into account that you’ll likely only have a couple of moments to pass or shoot the ball after such a dribble because the defender will probably be quick to place himself in front of the ball again, or try to handle you decisively.
Great examples of players using this kind of dribble effectively include Ronaldinho, Clarence Seedorf or even Michael Ballack.
Rate Dribbles — Speed dribbles are mostly popular with wing-backs since the wings are often more open and free and they allow a fast player to virtually throw the ball forward and run to get it again, smoking one or two opponents in the process.
Speed dribbles aren’t very fancy concerning ball control, however, the dribbler should concentrate on pushing the ball forward just right so that he doesn’t lose ownership to an opposing defender or throw the ball out of the playing bonds.
Receiving Dribbles — This is probably one of the most effective tactics to dribble, but it can also be the toughest: moving about your opponent straight from getting the ball. It can throw a whole defense off balance and create havoc for the opposing group, but you really have to be a proficient player to produce great getting dribbles.
First of all, you have to have impressive vision on the pitch, knowing precisely where your competitors are and where you’ll get some open space on the field, even before the ball reaches your foot.
Second, you need to be in excellent control of the ball receiving technique, since shoving it too soft or too difficult will ruin the dribble. Last but not the least, you need to use your body to receive your direct opponent off balance, letting you turn and push the ball into open space unhindered.
You are probably tempted to state that ball management is the only skill involved with dribbling, but in truth, there are a lot more factors that have to be added up to a thriving dribble.
Ball control is the ability to maneuver with the ball, without losing possession, so it essentially requires you to understand how hard to hit the ball when moving forward with it, in addition to organizing your own body movement in this way that lets you follow up and get the ball to your feet again.
Ball control also refers to being able to snare or receive a ball without pushing it too further away from your body, and that, in our instance, is extremely useful in receiving dribbles. Ball control is important for all types of players when dribbling, regardless of their position on the pitch.
Strength — Strength is an important element in receiving dribbles and positional ones, as it allows you to utilize your own body for a wall between the ball and your opponent, repositioning him or her so you create an advantage towards the enemy target.
If you look at some of the players who are considered the best dribbles out there today, such as Ronaldinho or Zinedine Zidane, you’ll see that they very often use their body in dribbles, in order to transcend an opponent or alleviate themselves of stress and locate a pass or a shot.
In what regards soccer dribbling, power is most important for central midfielders, that is under constant pressure from the opposing group and for attackers who will have to use their bodies to shield the ball before they could unleash a dribble from the box.
Speed — Being faster than your competitor is one thing, but knowing how to find the ball past him AND gain back possession is the key to a successful rate dribble. If the rate difference is greatly in the favor of the attacker, he can simply push the ball forwards along the pitch at an empty region and run for it.
If space is limited, or when the speed difference isn’t too great between the ball carrier and the guardian, the instant you initiate the dribble is extremely important.
You will need to start increasing the pace when the guardian is off equilibrium (possibly after you throw him off-balance using a movement in the body) and be sure you have sufficient space to maneuver around him.
Weaker Foot Ability — Dribbles often involve using both feet and assorted parts of the foot (the sole, the instep, the backheel, the front, the exterior or the inside) so as to work properly and your weaker foot can often cause you difficulties.
Being unsure of your weaker foot will probably leave you quite vulnerable in front of a smart guardian because he will know there is just one direction you can dribble towards utilizing your strong foot.
You are able to train dribbling separately, with a teammate or within a group. Be sure to use both feet, so you know how to dribble in each direction and using your weaker foot also.
Pairing up with a teammate is also a wonderful way to practice your soccer dribbling. This technique has two advantages: first of all, it lets you train your dribbles against a real competitor, which affects quite some parameters in the way you train in comparison to averting ground obstacles.
Second, assuming you change functions with your teammate every now and then, permitting him to become the dribbler, you’ll also function as a defender and will find out how defenders consider when needing to deal with a competitor’s dribble.
Understanding your “enemy” will help you read your match opponents such as an open book and you’ll soon understand what to do in almost any game scenario where a dribble is demanded.
Group dribbling training sessions largely concentrate on pressure preventing dribbles rather than separately going around one competitor. Practicing at a group simulates match requirements best and it is a good way to work out your dribbling skill obviously, instead of pressure like you would have with an individual or paired training.