Dribbling to Beat an Opponent

Beating the defender on the attack

Dribbling Techniques with soccer players

Taking a player one versus one has is an art; an art that should be encouraged and promoted if we are to see the exciting players who can dominate a game grow from the ranks of soccer. In every game there comes a time when the player, regardless of field position must make a move and beat the defender or lose the ball and sacrifice a scoring opportunity or allow a counter goal. Training players to make moves that can beat an opponent will lead to aggressive dangerous players who can make a difference on the field..

All moves are described as right footed moves. The left will be involved but the ball will always end on the left foot. Train your players to do these move both ways but for easy of explanation they will be explained as if using the right foot.

Remember, to be successful these moves must be internalized, so practice. This is the only way to learn.

The keys to beating a defender off the dribble are:

1) Make the move with enough time and space. (but not too much)

Players should be trained to make the move with enough time to beat the defender but not too soon as it will not throw the defender off; a good space is usually in the range of three to five yards.

dribbling soccer

2) Add body fakes such as head and shoulder fakes

Players should be trained to be deceptive. Anything that is deceptive is good. The moves can be done without body fakes, however the more of the body that becomes involved the better the fake becomes so train your players to have shoulder fakes, head fakes, hip fakes and so on as they pull these moves.

3) Use two speeds to throw the defender off

Players should be trained to have two speeds. A player who plays at one speed is predictable; easy to mark. As the player approaches the defender teach them to slow down a bit, then pull the move and accelerate past with a change of pace. This will throw the defender off, making it easier to beat them before they continue on their way with the ball still in their possession.

4) Beat them and accelerate past to get behind them.

a) Players should be trained to get behind the defender once they have beaten them. Cut behind them and get them on your back!

The lateral slide a.k.a. (The Guillet)

This move begins while the ball is moving and you are moving at an opponent, preferably on a diagonal. As the player approach the defender, take the ball with the inside of the left foot and pull it quickly across the body. With the next step of the right foot take the ball with the inside of the right foot past the defender. This move should be lateral, not diagonal as to keep the ball away from the defender. The movement is as follows: diagonal at the defender, lateral past the defender, forward (or diagonal) straight past the defender.

The Rollover

The rollover is the same as the Gullet except that instead of taking the ball with the inside of the left foot the ball is taken will a rollover of the ball onto the right foot. Attack the defender on a diagonal, plant the right foot, bring the left foot across the body on top of the ball causing the ball to roll to the right, take the ball with the inside of the right foot past the defender.

The fake and take a.k.a. “The Marjetic”

Attack the defender on a diagonal with the defender on the left. As the player approaches the player with the ball in front of them, step hard to the left of the ball with the body planting the entire body to the left of the ball. As the player steps past fake that taking the ball with the outside of the left, but instead do not touch the ball but plant the left foot past the ball. Then take the ball with the outside of the right foot. Push the ball to the right, then go past the defender.

The drag and take a.k.a. “The Matthews”

This is a hesitation/stutter move. Attack the defender on a diagonal with the ball on the right foot. As the player approaches the defender he should drag the ball to the left with the ball on the inside of your right foot, selling that he is going to go left. As the defender steps, he should plant the left foot shifting his weight to the left leg. Pushing hard off the left leg, the right foot shirts such that the ball is now on the outside of the right foot. Then accelerate away from the defender moving past on the outside. Finish off by cutting back inside directly behind the defender.

The benefit of this move is that once the defender thinks they know the attacker is going to pull a drag and take, they can be beaten with a counter move. After dragging the ball, don’t step, simply accelerate and push the ball past with the inside of the right foot to beat them on the left side.

The Scissors

The scissors is one of the most common moves. Accelerate at the defender. As the attacker nears the defender step across the ball with the left foot, planting the left foot after crossing over the ball. Sell the taking of the ball with the outside of the left with a feight so the body moves but the ball does not. Now the attacker is positioned with his body on the left side of the ball and his body moving left. Stop the movement of the body and take the ball to the right now with the outside of the right foot and past the defender. Finish off by cutting back inside directly behind the defender. Add in a shoulder fake or feint.

The Double Scissors

The double scissors is simply the scissors move done twice. Approach the defender with the ball. Step with the left across the ball. Instead of taking with the right, step with the right across the ball, then take with the outside of the left past the defenders right side. Add a shoulder fake or feint.

The drag and take with a scissors a.k.a. ‘The Reverse Matthews”

Begin this move in the same as a drag and take by dragging the ball with the inside of the right foot to the left. Plant the left foot and put all weight on the left. Push back the right but instead of taking with the right foot, step across the face of the ball and take with the outside of the left foot, a scissors. So the reverse Matthews is simply a half Matthews combined with a scissors.

The Pivot

When training players to play away from pressure the pivot becomes an excellent move when executed with speed and precision. Approach the player on the diagonal stepping past the ball and planting with the right foot transferring weight, but not all to the right leg, pull a Cassidy (inside cut) taking the ball with the inside of the left foot, but instead of turning away shift weight back to the left peg, taking the ball quickly with the right foot and accelerate past the defenders left side.