Dribbling Tactics — from Professional Players

I came across an awesome video today that featured some of Major League Soccer’s absolute best players talking about The Art of Dribbling.  

This video is PACKED with great tips, techniques and mindsets that your child can implement to become better at dribbling the ball (Not to mention you’ll see pros using some of the exact moves that I talk about in my 7 Soccer Moves Your Kid Will Love Training Manual!)

Here’s some of my favorite quotes from the video that are very instructive:

“It doesn’t always have to be the most flashy thing, it just has to be quality.” – Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC and US Men’s National Team)

How to apply it: Learn the basics…once your child has the basics down, they can improvise — it doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty…it just has to help create space or get past the defender!

“You have to treat it (the ball) as your friend, and work on your foot skills every day.”  – Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

How to apply it: The key is touches on the ball. If your child wants to get good at dribbling, you have to work at it day after day after day.

“Sometimes you are at home, and the ball is just there…so you do something.  You dribble [around] the dog, you dribble [around] the children.” – Kaka (Orlando City FC, FIFA World Player of the Year, 2007)

How to apply it: Find ways for your child to dribble all. the. time. Walking through the house, going to get the mail, anywhere and anytime they can get more touches on the ball, it will help.

“The trick with being a good dribbler is to basically to put people off balance.” – Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC and US Men’s National Team)

How to apply it: As your child practices, focus on changing direction and changing speed, etc. That is how you will beat defenders. Having a mastery of the basics allows you to do this instinctively.

“It’s sometimes just intuition.  You have the ball and two players and you don’t have time to think — you just act.”  – Kaka (Orlando City FC, FIFA World Player of the Year, 2007)

How to apply it: Practicing the fundamentals allows your child to “just act” when they find themselves in a situation in a game — that is what you want.

“I like to touch the ball every single step. If I kick it five meters away, it’s not mine.  It’s 50/50 between me and the defender.” – Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

How to apply it: The more comfortable your child is with the ball at their feet, the easier it will be for them to keep the ball close in a game and control it, rather than just kicking and then chasing the ball.

“When I have a lot of space, I like confronting the defender. I like creating a one-on-one matchup. If he moves to one side, I go to the other. It’s instinct. The dribbling moves just happen.” – Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact)

How to apply it: Mastering the fundamentals will give your child the confidence to confront defenders — knowing they have the skills to win a one-on-one matchup.  That confidence is HUGE.

“I wasn’t the fastest kid growing up, so I had to find a way, if I wanted to keep the ball, that I could shield it from my opponents.” – Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC and US Men’s National Team)

How to apply it: Mastering the fundamentals of dribbling levels the playing field.  If your child becomes a good dribbler, they don’t have to be the fastest kid on the team (…but if they’re a good dribbler AND fast…well then, that’s doubly awesome!)

“If you have a clear shot, you’re probably gonna take it, but if you feel like a shot is going to get blocked, you need to figure out a way to create space for yourself.” Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC and US Men’s National Team)

How to apply it: Dribbling is all about creating space. Becoming a good dribbler will allow you to find space to shoot or pass.

These are just a few of the great tips and tactics in this video.

Watch the full video below — and more importantly, show it to your kid!  My daughter LOVES seeing professionals doing cool moves!