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Young player runs with the ball

Dribbling session: stay on the ball

Looking to introduce turning to your primary-age players? Here's a simple dribbling session that encourages turning and helps improve on-ball ability.

Set up an area suitable for the age and ability of your players.  

This activity requires four players – two teams of two. So, set up as many areas as needed if you have a large group.  

Give each pair of teams one ball. Then, organise a 1v1 in the middle of their area. Get the other two players to stand just outside on opposite sides. 


To begin, give one side the ball. The opposing group must try to win possession.  

Both teams aim to stay on the ball for as long as possible. If a player is worried they'll lose it, they can pass out of the area to their teammate.  

At this point, one of two things can happen. The decision on what is up to you and your team: 

  1. The player who passes the ball switches with their teammate. This player then enters the area and takes on the same opponent.  

  2. The teammate joins the 'passer' in the area, and the two players try to keep the ball for a set number of passes or time.  

This activity tests players' scanning, technique and movement skills. They must spot their opponents' positioning and use their ability to turn away from pressure and continue to hide and manoeuvre the ball.  

Timing and decision-making skills are also tested. Particularly when out of possession and looking to get the ball back.  


If your players master this game – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. For example, if the ball is passed out to a teammate to create a 2v1 scenario, challenge your players to combine to get it to one end line and then the other as many times as possible.  

But remember, learning takes time. So don't alter your activity too quickly or too much. To help, try using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). This is a great way to keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.   

If you use this session with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football Community