Dribbling for Possession

Turning Away from Pressure

In order to win a team must be able to maintain possession of the ball. To possess players must be able to keep the ball. Training players in the art of keeping possession thru dribbling and passing is an important step in this process.. So many players want to get the ball and attack the defender, attack the goal and score. This is a great choice in the right situation, but often the ball ends up in the other teams’ possession. Instead of attacking an opponent with the ball they must be skilled in the art of turning with the ball. Then they will maintain possession and possession leads to winning.

To be successful there are three keys for dribbling to maintain possession and a fourth that is highly recommended to be successful. Focus on the first three adding the fourth after the moves can be done successfully with ease.
Keys to dribbling for possession.

1) Make the move with enough time and space

When done properly it is far more difficult for the defender to tackle and win the ball as they are too far away to tackle. At least three yards is usually the appropriate distance to allow for time and space to properly make a move and maintain possession.

2) Keep the body between the ball and the opponent

Keeping the body between the defender and the ball prevents them from tackling unless they foul.

3) Accelerate away from pressure

This is to prevent the defender from a hard tackle from behind, or working back to win the ball after being beaten

4) Add a fake to freeze the defenders.

This is to be added after the moves can be done successfully with repetition. Add a feint to freeze the defender; it creates time and space to accelerate away from the defender.

Training players to use a variety of turning moves will instill in them the natural tendency to turn away from pressure and to keep their body between the opponent and the ball. The moves listed below are all moves which will focus on dribbling for possession. Teach the players to master a few of these moves such that they can do them without thinking.

The moves

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.

The toe of the boot stop.

The move uses the toe-of-the-boot to stop the ball. As the player is dribbling with pace such that the ball is moving and the body is moving accelerate to the ball and stop the ball from moving with the toe of the boot (shoe). As the right foot is on the ball stopping the ball, the rest of the body and the left foot need to plant and transition the players weight from moving forward to stopping and moving the opposite direction. The player is now positioned between the ball and the defender. As the ball has now has stopped traveling the right foot comes off the ball, the body turns to face away from the defender. Step back to the ball, shielding the defender off the ball and accelerate away from pressure.

The outside cut

The cut involves using the outside of the boot to cut and turn away. As the player is dribbling with the ball such that the ball is moving and the body is moving on the right side, they accelerate towards the ball and a bit past it. Reach out with the right foot hooking the ball with the outside of your boot. The left foot will be the plant foot and as the ball is hooked with the right, the left will plant past the ball, hold the body weight and become the point from which the power of the turn comes from. As the ball is hooked, transition the weight to the left, plant, turn the hips through and accelerate away from pressure.

The inside cut

The turn is done using the inside of the foot. As the ball is moving on the player’s left side, they step past the ball and plant the left peg. Turn the hips thru to the left and collect the ball on the right with the inside of the right foot. Then accelerate away from pressure.

The only difference between an outside cut and an inside cut is the surface of the foot being used and is dictated by the placement ball.

Pull behind the standing leg a.k.a. “The Cruyf”

The move is simply pulling the ball behind the standing leg. This move can be made with great skill and used in a variety of ways with a variety of fakes. The most common being a fake shot or long pass, followed by a pull of the ball behind the standing leg. This move again begins with the player and the ball traveling forward. As a defender enters the area the left leg plants as the right begins a full swing as if to strike the ball rather hard. Usually this will freeze a defender or put him in a more defensive position. Instead of striking the ball and losing possession reach past the ball with the right foot, hooking the ball with the inside of the foot. Pull the ball behind the left leg (the standing leg) and let the ball roll behind the leg. The right foot now plants as the left peg grabs the ball and accelerates away from pressure.

Inside cut-outside take a.k.a. “The Conti”

This is an extension of the inside cut. As the ball is moving, the player step past the ball, turns the hips through and grabs the ball with the inside of the right foot, pushing the ball away. Plant the right foot such that your body is now between the defender and the ball. Position the body in a manner that will allow the player to shield a defender away from the ball with a good center of gravity and good arm position to keep a defender off. As the ball is now rolling the opposite direction, and the body is planted on the right foot, the ball is taken away with the outside of the left foot. Accelerate away from pressure.

The step over-take away a.k.a. “The Zico”

The Zico begins with both the player and the ball traveling. As the ball is rolling the player steps across the face of the ball with the right foot such that it plants and the body is twisted in manner that the right is in front of the left but also on the left side of the left foot. The body’s movement continues forward planting and the left foot plants between the defender and the ball such that the right foot is now nearest the ball. The weight transitions to the left foot, in order to shield the defender.Press off with the left foot and take the ball away with the outside of the right foot.

The step over-take away II

The step over is the same as above with the exception that after the step across with the right, the left does not plant but simply spins around to face the ball. Take the ball away with the inside of the left foot.

Train these moves with demand for perfection emphasizing the keys to dribbling for success.

1. Make the move with enough time and space
2. Place your body between the defender and the ball
3. Accelerate away from pressure
4. Add a fake

If excellence is expected in this area when the time comes in a game to possess the ball the players will have the skill necessary to make the moves on the ball to maintain possession