Soccer is often associated with the green field! In other words, whenever you want to play, practice or just have fun playing soccer, you will need to go out look for an outdoor green grassed environment first …
… Well, as much as it sounds right, that’s not always true!
Indeed, you can, by doing the right things, play soccer at home. You can even improve your soccer skills without leaving your house and still notice substantial skills growth!
In this article I want to touch on how you can be better at dribbling without having to go out.
Let’s dive in!
Importance of dribbling in soccer
Dribbling is an essential skill that every player must learn!
Developing this attribute improves overall control over the ball and helps you put the idea into action.
Advanced dribbling ability allows you to keep the ball under your possession longer and to use dribbling maneuvers to avoid defenders’ tackling.
Mastering this skill is not important only for keeping possession of the ball, but also to accomplish the surplus of players in the attack and take advantage of the space created, to score a goal.
Dribbling has a more significant role in modern soccer, which characterizes playing constant pressure on the opponents.
With greater dribbling ability, you can easily get out of tough situations and keep the possession.
Important Tip: To properly practice those skills, I strongly recommend to use soccer shoes with decent Quality and reliable Grip to perform at the best of your abilities. You can have a quick look at these quality soccer cleats to get an idea!
First, Let’s Prepare the environment at home …
Although you would think that practicing to dribble requires a lot of space, so you can run around and play with the ball, in reality that is not the case.
In fact, you just need a little free space around yourself. That way, you can at least practice to control the ball in tight space at your feet.
Ideally, you are in position to provide a few yards of space for some advanced dribbling techniques or a space in your backyard. The more space you have at your disposal, you will have more types of drills available to you.
Before you start practicing, check the available space and make a plan. Schedule the drills you have enough room to practice, or adapt your space so you can use it more effectively.
In general, some of the soccer dribbling drills can be done at home using only the ball and your feet.
No need for any expensive equipment or different kinds of aids. Just take the ball and start dribbling around.
Of course, if you wish to be more efficient and improve your skill faster and at a greater level, there is gear out there that can help you achieve that.
The essential part of the equipment for these drills are dribbling cones (Check these here on Amazon)!
You can use them to mark the space available to you or to set them up as obstacles for you to move around. This piece of equipment is not expensive and it has quite versatile use, with a vast number of drills available.
One amazing tool is Hands-free Soccer Kick (Check it here on Amazon)!
The ball is wrapped around and strapped to your waist with adjustable rope, so you do not have to chase the ball around. This way you can improve your coordination and reaction skills, which are significant for developing ball control and dribbling skills.
Drills to improve your soccer dribbling skills at home …
If you are serious about improving your dribbling skills, there are few overall things to keep in mind all the time:
- Hold the ball close. That way you will ensure more control over it and change its position much easier.
- Keep your body and movements in balance. You must keep your body well positioned, with knees slightly bent, head and chest over the ball. This way you are lowering your center of gravity and it makes you more stable and agile when it comes to changing direction.
- Hold your head up. This is maybe the most common mistake players make. They keep their head down, with their eyes focused on the ball. That makes them less aware of their surroundings, opponents and teammates. You must learn to dribble with your head up, so you can have the ball at your feet, while scanning the entire field looking for a possible play.
- Get creative. Great dribblers are always fun to watch, as they tend to do remarkable things with the ball. Learn from them and try something new, create some new combination of moves. This will make you feel more confident with the ball and help you during competitive matches.
When it comes to training at your own home, you have a nice selection of drills you can take, regarding limitations of available space and equipment.
All of these drills require only 4 by 4 yards box area.
1. The Figure Eight
Set two cones or similar obstacles one to another, with around two steps space between them.
Your goal is to dribble around the cones, making an eight pattern!
This drill will help you improve close ball control, as you will make many little touches to complete this drill.
You have different variations: dribble with right foot, with left foot, or with both feet simultaneously.
Remember to keep your knees little bent, in order to achieve better body balance with a lower center of gravity.
2. Cross Cone
For this drill, you need one cone in the middle of the training area, and two cones at each side, forming a cross.
Similar to the previous drill, you also have to dribble around the cones, but this time, you start at one end of a cross and whenever you get to the cone in the middle, you should turn a corner and proceed to the next two cones.
You dribble around them both, return to the middle cone, and then again turn corner. Do this until you make all the way around all four corners.
Try to make as many touches as you can, so you can feel more comfortable with using different parts of your foot while dribbling.
3. Dribble Box
Form a square of four cones with around two steps space between them. You start at one side of the corner, dribble to the middle and then turn to the left (or right) as sharp and fast as you can and exit the square to that side.
Turn around, dribble again to the middle and repeat the process until you go around all four sides of the square.
Get creative with this one; try different kinds of approaches for the turn.
4. The Minefield
Grab some items you find at your house: shoes, bottles, whatever you may use and throw them around randomly on the floor.
Dribble around these objects in all directions you want, trying to avoid them. Use both of your feet and be creative.
Avoid them as much as you can and as fast as you can!
How much time does it take to notice an improvement?
The drills mentioned above will help you increase your skill relatively fast!
Figure Eight drill is great to start, because it will help you develop close ball control. It will also teach you better body positioning and balance and the results would be visible after a few sessions.
You will develop a dribbling base that will allow you to practice other drills that are considered little more complex than Figure Eight drills.
First improvements would be visible after around one month of practicing, while real, noticeable improvement in the game would take around 3 months to acquire.
Other supporting skills
Soccer skills are interconnected and developing one will influence developing the other. This also applies to dribbling.
Indeed, enhancing the skills below will help refine your dribbling abilities …
- Ball Control. Being a good dribbler requires having good control over the ball and its movement.
- Pace and Acceleration. Improving these skills would allow you to quickly change the position and react faster. That will make your movement less predictable and harder for defenders to catch up with you.
- Balance and Strength. Working on your balance will help you with the stability of your movement and ball control, and with increasing your strength, it will be easier for you to protect the ball.
- Space Awareness. In order to be a good dribbler you need to be aware of your surroundings. Your job is to exploit the empty space around you, so you always have to pay attention to where your opponents and teammates are.
- Decision Making. Having a ball at your possession bears a lot of responsibility. Wrong pass or contact may result in losing the ball and a chance for the opponent to score. Deciding when and how to dribble the ball is crucial. You have to analyze all the alternatives and possible outcomes before taking an action. High level of decision making skill will make you an intelligent dribbler. That way you will lower the chance for going into rush dribbling that will result in losing the ball and jeopardizing your team.
Soccer positions that require dribbling
This is one of the skills that any position need, even the goalkeeper!
Nonetheless, some positions are in greater need from the others. One example is the role of playmaker, most commonly central midfielder ..;
… Advanced dribbling ability would allow him to make better use of space in the midfield and position himself in a convenient way for sending the ball to his teammates.
In addition, opposing defenders are constantly trying to put pressure on players at this position. Exceptional dribblers will pull through much easier, so they can remove the pressure from them.
This will allow them to draw opponents to them and create additional space for their teammates.
Attackers are also in great need of this skill, especially the ones with the position of second striker or deep lying forward.
The player with this role has a responsibility to play deeper up front and make use of the limited space between opposing defenders.
Their duties require them to have good technical abilities, most importantly dribbling skills and ball control. They dribble in order to create a position to shoot at the opponent’s goal, or to pass the ball to the main striker.
Famous players with amazing dribbling skills
Lionel Messi is the first name that comes to mind. Considered as the best dribbler of all time by the many. He is known as someone who does not use some flashy tricks to dribble his opponents.
What makes him effective in his breach of defensive line is his unbelievable ball control and speed. He keeps the ball close to his feet and just by quick change of direction he beats his rivals.
Diego Armando Maradona scored the goal that was declared as a “goal of the century”, where he dribbled several players starting from his own half and the goalkeeper himself, before sending the ball into the net.
His main advantage was the fact he could maintain the ball under his control at full-speed run.
Ronaldinho is still considered as one of the most influential and legendary players in the world of soccer.
It was always a joy to watch his performance, because of the stunning tricks and elegant moves. His ball control was at such a high level that it was almost impossible to take it away from him.
And if you would try it, out of nowhere he would somehow push it to the other side, often performing his signature dribbling move “the elastico”.
Final Thoughts …
My main goal from this article was not just to help you improve your skills, particularly dribbling!
Actually, my main intention was to put you in a situation where you won’t have any excuses not to practice and improve because you don’t have an access to an adequate outdoor space!
At home or outside, always work on finding ways to improve your skills!
Lastly, I highly encourage you to learn about these effective soccer skills for midfielders … I believe you will learn a lot by checking them!