Improving Basic Dribbling & Awareness with Lots of Touches in Possession of the Ball

Clinic 1a): Objective: Improving basic dribbling and awareness with lots of touches in possession of the ball


Four areas of Awareness:

  1. “On the Ball” Awareness before receiving the ball,
  2. “On the Ball” awareness as the player receives it and moves it on quickly using one or two touches only;
  3. "On the Ball” awareness if the player maintains possession of the ball using several touches; and:
  4. “Off the Ball” awareness in terms of their positioning of players supporting the player On the Ball.

This works if all players are in synch and thinking ahead of the ball and it is not just the player on the ball thinking ahead.

This is awareness with lots of touches on the ball.

Principles of Dribbling

  1. Initial Movement: In a straight line at a slower speed.
  2. Deception: Unbalance the opponent.
  3. Accelerate: Into space using change of pace
  4. Space behind opponent: pass the ball past defender and run.
  5. Restricted space behind: dribble past defender (in slow, out quick).

Coaching Points:

  • Tight close control.
  • Skill to use body to dummy and feint.
  • Skill in changing direction and pace.
  • A positive attitude.
  • Use of own or established dribbling
  • Looking around with your head up to have an awareness of where the other players are and where the immediate space is to move into.
  • This is more looking for yourself and when you are ON the ball.

A way to test if they are really looking around and behind is to ask them to stop, and then ask them, without them looking again, who are immediately behind them. If they were looking they will know.

1. Coaching Points

  • Awareness of where other players are whilst maintaining possession of the ball ensuring players are looking around away from their own ball
  • Dribbling and Turning
  • Shielding
  • Anaerobic Fitness work.

2. Moving around with the ball, staying in space with your own team to begin then players mixing in with each other. Stop and check positions. Check how spread out players are, discuss the implications of being in possession of the ball in a game and making it hard for the opposition to mark you by using as much width and length as possible. Therefore the players must use the spaces as effectively as possible.

3. Continue with dribbling and turning but emphasize keeping the head up and not looking at the ball but looking around, in front, and side to side and behind (for younger players equate it to a bird on a fence, that is, a bird on a fence just spends time looking around). The players can see the ball in their peripheral vision without looking at it directly.

4. Emphasize awareness of where other players are who are working in the same area by looking around; in front, to the side, and behind. Set the rule that when a player meets another player they must move to get away from them as if they were a defender in a game situation.

5. Ball each player dribbling and turning in a tight area avoiding other players. Coach can dictate techniques practiced. Work on improving ball control with quickening movement.

6. Keep emphasizing looking away from the ball and not down at it all the time so they get an
awareness of player positions and where space is to play in. This is the basic beginning of awareness training.

7. Have players running INTO traffic testing their ability to control the ball and observe others in the same spaces, again increasing the awareness concept.

8. Commands

  • Turn (checking that no one is behind them first of all with a look over the shoulder then a turn if the space behind is free) Doing different turns they are good at.
  • Out (they run outside the nearest line and check back in always looking to over the shoulder to see where other players are so they do not run into them.
  • Switch (changing soccer balls and continuing dribbling)
  • Dribble (using a dribbling skill they are good at in a tight area)
  • Right foot only (inside and out) This is more difficult so they will tend to look at the ball but remind them to look up when and where they can
  • Left Foot only (as above)
  • Quick (change pace and move more quickly for a few seconds but with the ball under control)
  • Number (coach will hold their hand up with a number of fingers indicated, the players have to shout the number immediately by looking up and observing but also keeping control of the ball).

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