How to help your players move with the ball
With insight from The FA’s Matt Jones and Ian Parkes, we look at how you can help players improve their dribbling skills.
It’s important that your sessions replicate the real game as much as possible. On matchday, players need to dribble past opponents who could come at them from any angle. So, instead of creating practices where opponents only approach from the front, try switching things up.
And don't forget to consider distance. Occasionally, your team will have loads of room to drive into. But other times opponents may press hard and give them little room to manoeuvre. So, your team need to experience this in training.
Using a variety of different starting positions, and distances, can help players practise different ways to dribble.
Encourage using space
When faced with an opponent, often a young player’s first thought is to dribble straight at the defender and then try to go around them. But if this was a tag game, wouldn’t they dart off into space to give themselves a better chance of avoiding being tagged?
Dribbling at an opponent to ‘fix’ them into a position, before quickly changing direction, is a valuable tool. Still, it’s good for players to have a range of strategies. So, to help your team be more effective when moving with the ball, encourage players to scan for space and then use it. This moves their opponent around and opens up more space for either themselves or a teammate to use.