4 Ways to Dribble a Soccer Ball Past an Opponent - wikiHow (2024)

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1Using Moves to Get Past a Defender

2Keeping Good Ball Control

3Practicing to Hone Your Skills

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Co-authored byWalter Merino

Last Updated: June 24, 2024References

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Dribbling past a defender is tough, but also thrilling—it’s an opportunity to take on your opponent head-on and pull out your best moves. Practice as much as you can to perfect your moves and become the strongest attacker you can be.

Method 1

Method 1 of 3:

Using Moves to Get Past a Defender

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  1. 1

    Approach the defender while dribbling with the outside of your foot. When you dribble into pressure, it’s best to keep the ball close to you, dribbling with the outside of your foot. This helps you maintain ball control and gives you the flexibility to go into many different moves.

  2. 2

    Try a move when you’re 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22m) away. Doing your move when you’re too far away from the defender will give them time to recover, but starting too close might not give you enough room to complete it. Starting when you’re about 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22m) away gives you the best chance of getting past the defender.[1]

    • No matter what move you use, remember to keep moving forward as you do it. Stopping completely will take away your momentum and give the defender a chance to close in on you.

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  3. 3

    Tap the ball to the side and use a quick change of direction to get past. Dribble straight at the defender. Once you get a few feet away, quickly tap the ball away from the defender at a 45-degree angle, using the outside of your foot. Accelerate into space, keeping the ball close to you so another defender can’t pick it up.[2]

    • If you find yourself too close to the defender, you can modify this move by tapping the ball away at a sharper 90-degree angle. Dodge the defender and accelerate toward the goal.
    • For a variation on this, open up your hips to one side. Use the inside of the foot on that side to curl the ball across your body and accelerate in the opposite direction.
    • You can also morph this into La Croqueta by tapping the ball across your body with the inside of one foot to the other, as though you’re passing it to yourself, then flicking it to the side and accelerating.[3]
  4. 4

    Use a shoulder drop/hard feint for a simple, effective way to evade the defender. When you’re a few feet from the defender, take a hard step to one side. Shift your weight, arms, and eyes to fake out the defender as much as possible, then push the ball in the opposite direction with the outside of your other foot.[4]

    • To put the defender even more off-balance, try a double body feint. Step hard to one side, then the other, and then tap the ball away to the first side. Lunge faster so that the defender can’t step in and take the ball.
  5. 5

    Do a stepover to add another distraction. The stepover is a natural step up from the feint. Instead of just lunging to one side, loop one foot over and around the ball, then push it away with the other foot. The movement of your foot will fake out the defender even more than a simple step would.[5]

    • To make this move even more distracting, quickly circle one foot around, then the other, and tap the ball away with the first foot.
    • Sell the stepover just as much as you would a feint, shifting your weight and arms hard to the side.
  6. 6

    Accelerate past the defender with a quick change of speed. Your move will only be effective if you follow it with a burst of speed around the defender or into space. Accelerating ensures that the defender won’t be able to recover and catch up with you after you get past them.[6]

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Method 2

Method 2 of 3:

Keeping Good Ball Control

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  1. 1

    Keep your knees bent to stay low to the ground. A lower center of gravity gives you better balance, helping you stay on your feet as you change pace and direction. You’ll be able to make faster cuts if you keep your knees loosely bent, which is a big advantage when you’re trying to get past a defender.

  2. 2

    Stay light on your feet and keep them moving. Having quick feet wil let you move the ball in tight spaces and make your moves so fast that defenders can’t get a tackle in. Stay on the balls of your feet when you take on a defender and focus on moving your feet as quickly as you can without losing control.

  3. 3

    Dribble with the sides of your feet when approaching a defender. Using the sides of your feet gives you the most control, making it a perfect dribble for when you’re under pressure. Since most moves use the sides of your feet, dribbling with the outside or inside also makes it easier to go into quick cuts.

    • Try not to dribble with your laces when you’re near defenders. This is a good dribble for when you’re trying to cover a large amount of space. It can, however allow the ball to get away from you, so it’s not effective when you’re under pressure.
  4. 4

    Keep the ball close to you when you’re dribbling near the defense. The better control you have over the ball, the better chance you’ll have of navigating through tight spaces under pressure. Keeping the ball close makes it harder for a defender to tackle you successfully.

    • Even if you don’t have many moves mastered yet, taking smart touches and keeping the ball close can help you be a more effective attacker.
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Method 3

Method 3 of 3:

Practicing to Hone Your Skills

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  1. 1

    Zig-zag around cones to improve your ball control. Set down 10-15 cones or small obstacles in 2 rows, staggering them slightly. Dribble towards the first cone, tapping the ball with the outside of your right foot with each step. Cut sharply around the cone with one side of your foot, round it, dribble to the next cone, and repeat.[7]

    • Once you’ve gone through with your right foot, switch to dribbling on your left.
    • When you’re turning around a cone, try to leave as little space as possible between the cone and the ball.
    • Go through the cones 5 times on each foot.
  2. 2

    Make quick back and forth turns between sets of cones. Set up 2 cones or small obstacles 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22m) apart, and another cone about 30 feet (9.1m) away in a perpendicular direction. Starting at the 2-cone “gate,” dribble as fast as you can with the outside of one foot, cut sharply around the far cone, and sprint back on the same foot.[8]

    • When you get back to the gate, stop the ball directly on the line with the outside of your foot.
    • Complete 10 back-and-forth runs on each foot, giving yourself a minute to rest before switching feet.
    • This drill will train you to keep good ball control while moving at speed and to quickly break down your steps to make cuts or quickly change direction.
  3. 3

    Practice dribbling in close spaces to improve your footwork. Set up 3 cones in a line or a triangle shape, about 2 feet (0.61m) apart. Dribble a ball through the cones with all parts of your foot, using quick touches to cut the ball around each cone as sharply as you can.[9]

    • Do this drill for 10-15 minutes to work on your control with all the surfaces of your feet.
    • This is also a great drill if you’re low on practice space.
  4. 4

    Practice your moves around cones and other players. To get better at specific moves, drill them as much as you can. Use a cone or unmoving obstacle when you’re first learning the move, then ask a teammate to go one-on-one with you to see how it works against a defender.

    • Focus on mastering one move at a time. Once you get one trick down, learning more advanced ones will get easier and easier.
    4 Ways to Dribble a Soccer Ball Past an Opponent - wikiHow (20)

    Lionel Messi, Professional Soccer Player

    Practice as much as you can, and push your boundaries to keep improving. "I’m never satisfied. I always push my limits and try to get better every day."

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How Do You Learn How To Dribble?

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  • Question

    How do you dribble a soccer ball like a pro?

    Walter Merino
    Soccer Coach

    Walter Merino is a Youth Soccer Coach and Co-Founder of Ole Soccer Club based out of the Los Angeles, California area. He has coached youth from the age of four to the high school and college levels. Walter has played collegiate soccer for Cal Poly Pomona and Los Angeles Mission College. His accomplishments include coaching Olé Soccer Club to win the 2017 Cal South State Cup Governors Boys 2007 Division title.

    Walter Merino

    Soccer Coach

    Expert Answer

    You can practice at home by kicking the ball against a wall. When it bounces back, practice controlling and dribbling the ball.

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  • Question

    How can I get better at dribbling consistently?

    4 Ways to Dribble a Soccer Ball Past an Opponent - wikiHow (23)

    Community Answer

    Dribble the ball close to your foot, giving it small nudges so that it is never more than 30cm away from you. When you do this, you can gain speed without loosing control of the ball. To keep it consistent, just keep practicing. The more you do this, the better you will become at it.

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  • Question

    How can I score more goals and dribble more defenders in?

    4 Ways to Dribble a Soccer Ball Past an Opponent - wikiHow (24)

    Community Answer

    Watch videos of foot skills/drills and apply them in the game. Try sliding the ball directly to your right or left about 3 - 4 feet, then dribble as fast as you can past them and take your shot on the goal.

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      • Don’t get dejected if your moves don’t work all the time. No one is perfect, and even the best players in the world aren’t successful all the time. Keep practicing and you’ll see the results soon.

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      • Remember that passing is also a great option if you have an open teammate.

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      About This Article

      4 Ways to Dribble a Soccer Ball Past an Opponent - wikiHow (37)

      Co-authored by:

      Walter Merino

      Soccer Coach

      This article was co-authored by Walter Merino. Walter Merino is a Youth Soccer Coach and Co-Founder of Ole Soccer Club based out of the Los Angeles, California area. He has coached youth from the age of four to the high school and college levels. Walter has played collegiate soccer for Cal Poly Pomona and Los Angeles Mission College. His accomplishments include coaching Olé Soccer Club to win the 2017 Cal South State Cup Governors Boys 2007 Division title. This article has been viewed 562,233 times.

      46 votes - 91%

      Co-authors: 75

      Updated: June 24, 2024

      Views:562,233

      Categories: Soccer

      Article SummaryX

      If you want to be able to dribble a soccer ball past an opponent, you'll need to practice things like ball control and speed. Good ball control is key to succeeding at this move, so bend your knees and stay a little closer to the ground to keep your balance and make faster cuts. Having fast feet will also let you move the ball in tight spaces, so stay on the balls of your feet. When dribbling under pressure, use the sides of your feet to give you the most control of the ball. To make your move, get within 3 to 4 feet of the defender. Then, tap the ball to the side and use a quick change of direction to get past. You can also try to accelerate past the defender with a quick change fo speed to catch them off guard. This will also ensure that the defender won’t be able to catch up with you. To learn how to hone your skills, keep reading!

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