Soccer Footwork & Dribbling Drills

Dribbling is one of the most essential skills to develop at an early age if you want to become a good soccer player. Learning how to dribble and improving your footwork is a vital skill that take a lot of practice.

Regardless of whether you are a goalkeeper, a defender, or a midfielder, you should be able to dribble a ball in different situations. Every player needs to practice and improve their dribbling and footwork skills because dribbling is not just for forwards.

However, like many other skills, a lot of practice and repetitions are the key to improvement.

In this post, we are going to look at different footwork & dribbling drills you can use to improve your skills and the equipment you need to help you practice and become better at dribbling.

How To Improve Your Footwork/Dribbling Skills 


To succeed in soccer, you need to know how to manipulate and control the ball. Knowing how to dribble the ball properly will set you up for better shots and passes while on the field.

To become better at this, you need to practice different dribbling techniques using different part of your feet.

Mastering this skill will help you get better control, movement, and balance of the ball. This will allow you to move confidently during a match. The tips discussed below will help you enhance your dribbling skills, and you can easily apply them every time you play.

Mastering Basic Dribbling Techniques First: One of the common mistakes you can make on your pursuit of becoming a skilled dribbler is attempting the advanced dribbling skills first before mastering the basics.

All the basic dribbling moves are typically used in more challenging and difficult movements, meaning you need to concentrate on them early during your training.

Becoming a great dribbler should be one of your long-term goals. The most important parts of your feet you can use for dribbling are the top of the toes and the sides. 

When running with the soccer ball, make sure you kick it with the front part of your foot to keep it going directly ahead of you.

When you’re dribbling side-to-side, you need to have good touches with the inside part of your shoes. You can also roll the soccer ball by placing one of your feet on the ball and roll it as you continue moving.

Ensure you have reasonable control of the soccer ball with every touch before proceeding to the more advanced dribbling movements.

Regardless of the kind of dribbling skills you are doing, ensure you do not hit the soccer ball too soft or too hard. If you can make the soccer ball go where you want it to go with every basic touch, you’re ready for the more challenging dribbling skills.

Working with Cones Regularly: If you want to get used to working with inside-outs, crossover dribbles, and many other advanced movements, you need to work with cones more frequently. 

You can do most of the dribbling drills mentioned in this post by setting up cones in different pitch locations.

The cones can either represent the different parts of the pitch or defenders. Your objective in most soccer drills is mainly to dribble around or through the set cones without knocking down any of them.

Practicing Long-Distance Drills: The best way to have confidence and get comfortable when running with the ball is to practice long-distance dribbling drills.

They are simple drills that require you to go approximately 25 to 50 yards while maintaining full control of the soccer ball. 

Improve Your Footwork Dribbling Skills

The goal of long-distance drills is to keep you under control throughout your run while going side to side and forward too. Practice these drills for around 15 minutes in every training session. 

You’ll soon build the capacity to go for long distances during game scenarios without worrying about getting the appropriate touch on the soccer ball. Apart from becoming a better dribbler, you will also realize that you’ll improve your stamina over time.

Focusing on Speed Dribbling Techniques: One of the best ways to practice dribbling skills is to accelerate your dribbling process. Sprinting down the playing ground as straight as possible is a great way to work on your speed dribbling technique.

The objective of speed dribbling is to help you make contact with the soccer ball consistently using the top part of the middle toe. It might take you some time to run in a full straight line, but you need that skill to master advanced dribbling skills.

Practicing Confined Dribbling Drills: Close dribbling is usually more challenging to pull off than the long-distance dribbling drills. That’s because you need to be more accurate with every touch to keep the ball away from your opponents and keep it under control.

You can practice confined dribbling with or without some cones, but it’s better to have a partner or opponent to work with when doing these drills. In a small playing grid, practice moving the soccer ball around as you keep it away from your opponent.

If you lose the ball, allow your opponent to do the same drill. With time, you’ll learn how to move the soccer ball fast between your legs to prevent your partner from stealing it.

Understanding the Defensive Instincts of Other Players: The only way you can beat your opponents with your soccer dribbling techniques is by out-thinking them. That means that you should know how they usually react to the different moves you make.

From the beginning of the game, you should try your best to feel out the defenders who are around you. If you master how they defend, you’ll realize that you will have better chances of beating them using your dribbling skills. 

Perfecting Your Shielding Skill: The dribbling skills you have learned during your training will not have much value if you cannot maintain proper control of the ball, especially when you’re under pressure.

Shielding is an essential skill in soccer because it enables you to maintain possession for your team as you look for an opening to move the soccer ball. The best way to work on your shielding techniques is to get a partner or opponent to try stealing the ball from you while keeping your body between the ball and the opponent. You can start by simply rolling the ball down the field as you move, and you can try dribbling past your opponents with time.

Soccer Dribbling Drills

Dribbling Drills

Being able to play soccer at the top-level involves having a perfect understanding of several aspects of the game. Understanding these aspects will make the game exciting. Dribbling is one of the most critical part of soccer.

A player’s footwork skill will live both their team and their fans excited. It creates a line of separation between average players and dominant players.

You will need to work on your speed, agility, body control, and balance to effectively dribble in style.

Dribbling will equip a player with enough skills to keep the soccer ball away from their competitors and at a very close range. Below are some of the most potent dribbling drills that will help you develop perfect ball control skills and enhance your creativity while on the field.

  • T-Cone Soccer Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Figure-8 Soccer Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Catch Me If You Can Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Zig-Zag Footwork-Dribbling Drill

  • British Bulldog Attack Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • 1V2 Soccer Footwork-Dribble Drill

  • Round The Square Soccer Footwork/Dribble Drill

  • Hot-Box Footwork-Dribbling Drill

  • Musical Soccer Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Straight Cone Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Closed-Space Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Sharks & Minnows Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • Round The Cyclic Cone Footwork/Dribbling Drill

  • 1 on 1 Controlled Footwork/Dribbling Drill

T-Cone Soccer Footwork/Dribbling Drill

It is the dream of every soccer player to perfect their skills and expertise on the field. Having a footwork-dribbling drill that helps you get to that level will make you shine during games and help your team win. T-Cone dribbling drill will help enhances your player' fitness, controlled turns, and touches.

Drill Setup

  • Begin by setting up four highly visible cones with a spacing of about five yards. Make a T-shaped training area.
  • Have two players in every T-Cone assigned one ball. One of the players should rest as the other works at the edge of the T area.
  • Have several T-Cones to provide enough training space for the entire team to partake.

Drill Instructions

  • One of the two players in every group begins with the soccer ball at his/her foot and the "T" base. The player dribbles the ball near the middle-top cone and then moves to cut towards the right-top cone.
  • On the move, sprint towards the middle cone of your T set up. Use your right foot to approach the top-middle cone from the left side. Spine clockwise and have a controlled tap on the ball using the outer part of your right foot until you face the left.
  • Repeat the drill and keep spinning, dribbling, and turning at every cone.
  • Move and spin around the cone on your left, and then get back to the center-top cone.
  • Make a full 360 degrees spin around the cone at the center, and proceed to the right cone.
  • Spin around the right cone, and then get back, while having the ball at your foot, to the center.
  • Make a final spin around the cone at the center and then sprint out to the base of your T where you started.
  • Work on ensuring your ball remains close to your foot and closer to every cone during the spins.
  • After completing, start the drill again but with your left foot. You should approach your cones from the right side and make counter-clockwise spins using the outer part of the left foot.
  • The footwork-dribbling pattern is repeatedly undertaken.
  • Repeat the same drill pattern for a minute and then have the players rotate.

Drill Variations

  • The drill involves a variety of dribbling. Players can tactically use either the left foot, right foot, or the base of either feet for every single pattern completed.
  • The drain can get modified where there is no soccer ball involved but have the players enhance their speed by sprinting. They can face forward and spring forward, do shuffles, and backpedal to improve their body fitness.

Coaching Points

  • Players should work on having very close touches on your soccer ball.
  • Players can enhance their dribbling speed. Every dribble should take seconds for higher flexibility.
  • Players should work on having very tight or close range turns around every cone.


Drill Ages

  • It is a drill suitable with every prayer above eight years of age, and up to professional players

Soccer Drill Focus

  • Fitness
  • Dribbling
  •  Warm-up

Best Equipment/Gears for Dribbling Drills

 Best Equipment Gears for Dribbling Drills

Soccer is a technical sport that requires different skills. However, if you are looking forward to developing your core soccer skills, there is nothing that can match continuous practice.

Spending enough time on your training will gradually enhance your key dribbling skills that will make you a better soccer player. Nonetheless, to maximize your potential, you will require the right dribbling equipment.

To replicate real game conditions and scenarios, you will need several tools. Utilize these items the right way, and you will be able to improve your dribbling skills with the right attitude and regular practice.

Slalom Poles or Dribbling Cones

Dribbling skills involve moving with the soccer ball while still maintaining control of its direction and pace. The closer to your feet you keep the soccer ball, the fewer chances of opposition players taking it away from you.

. The best way to sharpen your soccer dribbling skills is by arranging courses using slalom poles and cones. Begin with the cones placed reasonably far apart and move them closer as your confidence and skills grow.

You can purchase cones and slalom poles separately or in sets. Most of the manufacturers include two colors of slalom poles and cones and some steel spikes to drive your poles into the playing ground.

Target Sheet & Goal

Dribbling skills always require a target whether you are training for five aside or full games. To provide you with good flexibility in the types and positions of soccer training you do, you need to consider using high-quality and portable goals.

When shopping for a portable football goal, look for lightweight, easy to assemble, and durable soccer goals made from uPVC material. Go for goals that come complete with frame anchors, clips, and nets and one that you can use indoors and outdoors.

With the addition of target sheets, you can turn your portable goal into an item for sharpening your dribbling and shooting skills. Target sheets attach to the frame of your goal to provide you with many target holes that you can aim for during your practice sessions.

Football Rebounder

Control and touch relate to how well a player handle the ball during possession. Soccer dribbling drills enable you to control the ball better and make your next move easy on the field. Soccer rebounders help you control the soccer ball as you make twists, turns, and runs.

A rebounder will push your practice further when it comes to ball speed, unpredictable outcomes, and different angles. It will help you mix things up a bit on your training sessions.

A rebounder consists of an elasticated net and a plastic frame, making keeps-ups and many other control skills more challenging. You can purchase rebounders as standalone frames or big soccer goals with their standing support poles.

Passing Arcs

Soccer passing is undeniably the most important skill needed to play soccer at any level. However, it needs development and constant practice. You can easily turn your backyard into a soccer training pitch by buying several passing arcs.

Soccer passing is undeniably the most important skill needed to play soccer at any level. However, it needs development and constant practice. You can easily turn your backyard into a soccer training pitch by buying several passing arcs.

These metal frames are usually driven into the playing ground utilizing steel spikes to offer challenging targets for your ground passes. You can also combine several training arcs to create a soccer training pitch for both your passing and dribbling skills.

Ladders & Hurdles

Agility and speed are some of the traits you develop with time through regular training. However, recreating match scenarios that build agility and speed is not always an easy task.

Your lower body and core strength are vital, which means the training should be quite challenging. Making sharp and fast turns while still maintaining your balance needs a lot of practice, and that’s why ladders and hurdles are always an important part of every soccer coach’s inventory.

Speed Ladders:These ladders are laid on the playing ground to give the soccer players the chance to mix accurate foot placements with power and speed. They come in both cross and straight configurations, and you can fold and store them away in a carry bag in a few seconds.

Speed Hurdles: Generally, speed hurdles are made of non-corrosive materials, so they are appropriate for any weather condition. They are compact and lightweight, and they usually sit on the playing ground. Soccer players jump over the hurdles at speed in different configurations. Due to the unique design of speed hurdles, they easily return to their initial position after being knocked over or kicked by players.


What is the importance of having excellent dribbling skills?

Excellent dribbling skills are beneficial for soccer players because they usually help them beat their opponents down the wing. They will also have adequate time to shoot, cut inside, square the soccer ball and even get to the line’s end to deliver the ball across for other teammates to attack.

Does juggling improve soccer dribbling skills?

Indeed, keeping up or juggling a soccer ball has incredibly strong effects on running or dribbling with the ball when playing. First of all, it enhances your touch.

That will help you move faster with the ball and maintain better control. It will also enhance your speed with the ball. Even if you’re not sprinting or practicing a long-distance dribbling drill, you’ll have better speed because you will have better control.

Control of the ball is vital when playing. Regardless of whether you play defender, midfielder, goalkeeper, or forward, controlling it is one of the most important things in this game.

If you have reasonable control or touch, it’ll help you play properly and even improve yourself. One of the ways you can have better control is through dribbling. And juggling helps improve your dribbling skills.

What mindset do I need when dribbling around other players to help me keep the ball?

The best thing is to avoid thinking about the players a lot but have your well-practiced dribbling skills to help you dribble naturally around your opponents. However, avoid doing too much of it, but keep your head up to look for a member of your team you can pass the ball to so that you can advance quickly towards the soccer goal.

Can you practice soccer dribbling drills using a tennis ball?

No. Playing or practicing soccer using a tennis ball is just like playing a game of tennis using a soccer ball. However, many coaches worldwide believe that practicing soccer using a relatively small ball such as a size three rather than size five assists in improving ball control and dribbling skills.

Generally, standard size three soccer balls are meant for children until they are old enough to transition to size 5, designed for adults. Drilbbling with a relatively smaller soccer ball assists you in boosting your foot speed. If you can comfortably control the smaller soccer ball, then you can work excellently with the adult standard size one.

How can I dribble successfully past multiple soccer players while maintaining control of the soccer ball?

Although one might have an innate capacity to dribble past many opponents while maintaining control of the soccer ball, you need a lot of practice to succeed in soccer. Weaving in and out of multiple defenders in a soccer game can only come through perfecting your close control during training.

Spend enough time on the football pitch with well-arranged cones to master the more advanced dribbling movements. Even if you have a natural flair for dribbling effectively, you still need to hone your talent to become a better dribbler

What does soccer dribbling involve?

Being a great dribbler in soccer sport involves three main things:

Keeping the soccer ball close: Soccer players who can maintain control of the soccer ball when keeping it closer to their bodies are usually the best dribblers. Keeping a soccer ball close makes it more challenging for the defending team to tackle them.

Changing direction and speed fast: Keeping the soccer ball close to you also allows you to change direction and speed quite fast when you see an opening in the defense camp. Any time you get your opponents off-balance, you should be able to take full advantage of the opening fast.

Keeping your eyes up to help you read the game: Beating an opponent one-on-one is usually pointless if you do not know what you need to do with the soccer ball afterward. Soccer players need to keep looking up more regularly to read the game and understand where the openings are and how well they can set up their team members.

Last update on 2024-04-13 / This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Lazy Legs

"I learned all about life with a ball at my feet." Soccer allows me to push the limits of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train, I play, and I repeat every single day. I hope you like my site. Feel free to say hey. I don't bite. :)