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Dribbling and 1v1

How to dribble with the ball

Dribbling into space

When you have the ball and there is open space in front of you, take it! By dribbling into space, you are drawing defenders out of position and opening up the game. Dribbling across the field often creates new passing options so always keep your head up while you dribble.

Beating opponents

Taking on defenders is risky and shouldn’t be attempted unless you are trying produce a shoot or when you are out on the flanks. Near the sideline, dribbling can work wonders and it’s not as important when you lose possession there.

Winning in 1v1

Beating opponents in 1v1 requires composure and good reflexes. Most importantly, you have to watch and react to the defender. As you approach an opponent, lock your eyes on his feet and be prepared to react to his tackle. Keep your center of gravity low by leaning forward and bending the knees. Don’t try to beat your opponent right away unless he is out of balance or flatfooted. Instead, stay on your toes and be prepared to move laterally in either direction. Look at these visual examples:


In both situations, the defender starts out with balanced footing. But in the second frame he raises one foot off the ground. If he raises his foot that is farther away from the ball, you move out. If he raises his foot that is nearer to the ball, you move in. The basic idea is to dribble in direction of the defender’s supporting foot.

Some opponents may be very patient. If the defender is jockeying and refuses to bite, you can throw him off balance using feints. By performing feints and tricks, you may be able to get your opponent to freeze up or lean to one side. Be prepared to react and move quickly, because he may be off balance for no longer than a split second.

Updated: July 1, 2016
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