In the next series of posts we’re going to look at the technical side of dribbling skills. It’s an area that I find kids are always excited to practice and – performed well – these moves can dramatically boost your young player’s confidence.
We start the series by looking at Cut Moves (Outside Cut and Inside Cut). When faced with a 1v1 situation, cut moves greatly increase the chances of success – of beating the defender – compared to a straight run. You can see the outside cut technique and inside cut technique in this video.
Tactical Point: When & Where
As we look at the moves that increase the likelihood of passing a defender it is important to consider when and where these attacks are likely to occur in a game.
Dribbling moves are most effective in 1v1 situations (i.e. one attacker against an isolated defender). In fact, your players should be actively encouraged to recognise when they find themselves in a 1v1 situation and then to be aggressive and take the opponent on.
In a game 1v1 situations will occur more frequently in wide areas because there is both more space and less support; particularly as the trend is towards packing the centre with holding midfielders, ceding the wings to adventurous full-backs and wide-forwards.
However, a 1v1 situation can happen anywhere on the pitch so it is also important that our players recognise the greater risk involved in dribbling against opponents in our own defensive third and especially in front of our goal. The other side of this coin is that the reward for winning a 1v1 battle around our opponents box is usually a goal-scoring opportunity.
Coaching Point: Create A Barrier
We should encourage our players to move the ball from one foot to the other as they approach a defender – always keeping the ball on the side opposite their opponent. This will create the best barrier they can, combining the physical obstacle of their body with the physical distance between defender and ball.
Cut moves are used to swiftly move the ball across the body from one side to the other. Watch how quickly Cristiano Ronaldo cuts the ball across his body, his barrier is so imposing that he frequently draws a foul as the defender realises he can’t get close to the ball.
Coaching Point: Close Control
Another quality Ronaldo demonstrates is how to make the cuts sharply; even at great speed
the ball moves right across the front of his body. This means the defenders need telescopic legs to win the ball and most of the time he skips past them into the space behind.
Our players can achieve the exact same effect by chopping down on the side of the ball. In
fact, the sharper the chop the more crisply the move can be made.
Coaching Point: Fast, Slow, Fast
As we have seen, a positive first touch and attacking with speed are crucial factors in the success of a dribble.
But beating a defender often requires a little more guile than running full pelt. By slowing down as we approach our opponent we achieve two things:
1) We slow the defender down, causing them to temporarily shift their weight and get caught flat-footed.
2) We can draw an attempt to tackle, which throws the defender off balance.
Once our defender is off-balance, or flat-footed, they cannot quickly accelerate and so a cut move away and an immediate burst of pace can give our players the crucial few yards they need to get away.