Our Guide to Football Dribbling Skills

Here, at ESF, we know how essential solid football dribbling skills are in a young player’s development. Being able to dribble the ball with your head up and change direction at pace is an essential skill for any player. Not quite mastered it yet? Well, like all football skills practice makes perfect!

So, have a read of all our football dribbling skills below and you’ll soon be skipping away from defenders like Ronaldinho, nutmegging like Neymar and Cruyff turning your way to the ESF Festival of Football trophy!

The Football Dribbling Skills

This may be an obvious one but when you’re on the ball you should always be closest to it. You’ve got to be able to keep the ball close to you, otherwise the defender will be able to nick it off you easily.

That means patience is the aim of the game!

Try to avoid putting your head down and attempting to bulldoze over your opposite number. Instead, watch where their feet are planted and see where they may be off balance. The aim is to throw them off balance with movements of your body and skills. We’ll run through a few of those now.

The Step over

One of the most attempted skills out there. Have a read of the key points and practice the skills drills. Perfect these drills and you’ll be dancing away from defenders in no time!

Main Points:

  • Face the direction you’re ‘faking’ to move the ball in.
  • Move favoured leg around the front of the ball.
  • With the outside of the other foot, move ball in opposite direction past defender.
  • Accelerate away from the defender.

Practice Drill

What you need: 3 cones and ball

Once you’ve mastered the move standing, set up three cones. A start cone, another 10m away and one finishing cone about 15m to the side. The second cone represents the defender.

Dribble from the first cone to the ‘defender’. Before you reach the defender, perform the step over and move the ball away to the final cone.
Repeat this exercise until you’re tired or until you’re happy with your progress.

Cruyff Turn

Another classic manoeuvre that’s super effective! Throw the defender off by feinting to pass the ball in one direction and dribble away in another.

Main Points:

  • Plant your standing foot between you and tackler using your body as a shield
  • Use the inside of foot to stop ball
  • Move ball into the space behind you
  • Accelerate

Practice Drill

Once you’ve mastered the move standing set up two cones 15m apart. Dribble to the end cone, do the Cruyff turn and accelerate back to the first cone. Repeat until you’re tired!

Top Tip: The Cruyff is a great attacking move when either crossing or shooting. Make sure you really make the defender believe the ‘fake’. Do this by using your whole body and not just your legs!

The Nutmeg

This is one of the most tricky but satisfying football dribbling skills there is! Again, it’s practice makes perfect so stick at it. All there is to this move is to put the ball through the defenders legs.

However, be warned! If you attempt it, you’ve got to hope it works as you could have just as easily passed to one of your teammates to retain possession. The last thing you want is to let the other team go up the other end and score.

There are some tips for you to maximise your chances of slipping it through the opposition defender’s legs. Check them out below:

Nutmeg Tips:

  • Try when the tackler is off balance or lunging in
  • If the tackler is running in too fast or over committing
  • Use it sparingly, not all the time as it becomes too predictable

Youth football team dribbling

Practice your Football Skills at ESF!

In the end, the best way to practice your football skills at ESF is to get a decent amount of game time! That’s why it makes sense to book you and your squad into one of our prestigious football tournaments. However, move fast as the ESF Festival of Football in Skegness on 29 April – 2 May 2016 is already filled!

However, there is still availability for football teams of all abilities to join us for a great football tour and practice their skills at the ESF Skegness on 22-25 April 2016! It doesn’t matter if you’re a team based in Blackpool, Southport, Sunderland or the rest of the UK you can still get involved.

Get in touch online or give us a call on 01664 566360 and we’ll answer any questions you’ve got and get you booked in. We can’t wait for you to come and impress us with your football dribbling skills!