Dribbling a Ball: How to Dribble In Soccer (for Beginners)

By Luís Miguel
Updated on

You might be thinking:

Dribbling a soccer ball is just too hard!

And it is, especially if you’re just starting out in the game.

Except it doesn’t have to be… as long as you learn how to dribble a soccer ball the right way by doing the best exercise / drills and following the best tips.

That’s precisely what I have to offer you in this post!

This How to Dribble a Soccer Ball for Beginners (or Not) quick guide will allow you to finally figure out how to dribble better (or well) and faster in soccer in no time.

We also have a few drills and tips that will help you get to the next level in soccer dribbling.

The Importance of the Art of Dribbling In Soccer

The modern game of soccer has brought with it a number of talented individuals all well-versed in the art of dribbling.

Dribbling in soccer is a relatively simple skill to behold but one that very few master.

In an era where we see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo bursting down the pitch with the ball at lightning speed, this skill is more important than ever to how the game is played.

This article will help you learn ways to improve yours or your team’s dribbling one step at a time.

How to Dribble In Soccer: Four Dribbling Techniques

The first thing we have to do is ensure that the proper technique is used.

At youth level, you will see all kinds of ways to do it.
A good chunk of the time, though, you see players using their toe for everything.

While there are some exceptions for better, more skilled players, this is a definite NO.

We, as players, tend to lose control, especially at the youth levels, by doing this.

To dribble we need a soft, caressing touch.
This means that we need to use a part of the foot that is going to allow us to better control the ball.

There are multiple options:

Top of your foot: One section of your feet that is very popular and that allows you to run with the ball in front of you is with the top of your foot.This is where the tongue of the shoe would be.

By using this section of your foot you can not only control the ball, but also use it to set the ball out in front of you so that you can shoot or pass to a teammate.

Instep: Another option is the instep. The instep is simply the inside of the foot, or the part of the foot that faces your other foot.

Using this is very helpful because it allows you to move laterally very quickly and without moving in a straight line, unlike the above technique.

It also is the way to go for keeping the ball glued to your foot, meaning it is always closer to you.

Out step: The inverse of the instep is the out step. The out step is difficult to master, but it is a skill and trait that is needed for players that want to be the best amongst their peers.

The out step is very useful at warding off defending players, because it allows you to cushion the football to the sides in an effort to cover off any tackles from the defender.

Those that are proficient at using both out steps can very easily disguise whether they are dribbling, shooting, or passing as well, making them a very dangerous player to mark.

This is, basically, how to dribble past defenders in soccer; you’ll have better chances of success if you use the out step of your foot.

Those are our four techniques for dribbling.
There aren’t many other ways that we can do it effectively besides grabbing it with our hands!

While we don’t encourage the use of the toe, we do know it can be a decent option.

However, we are going to stick with training the other three steps.

Here are a few things to help you improve your dribbling in a bid to become a better player, or coach.

Drill 1: Dribbling Cones

What you need: 6+ cones and one ball.

Setup: Place the cones, preferably tall ones, down in a straight line; separate the cones about a yard (meter) apart. You can use as many as you like.

How to: This is a simple drill in which you get even with the first cone and then practice dribbling in and out.

To begin with, the cones will have a large separation to them. This will allow you to get better.

It is important that you first practice with your instep.

  • Start with the right foot and move the ball to your left.
  • Then use your left to go toward the right.
  • Repeat this until you have completed the sequence.

TIP: Take it slow and just be precise to begin with.

If you are knocking over or into cones, slow down first and do them right. Precision and accuracy are better to have than sheer speed without proper form.

After doing a few sets of the exercise above, onto using the right foot only.

  • Go to the left with the instep of your foot before moving back to the right with the out step.
  • Repeat this until the cones are out, and then do as many sets as you need.
  • Then go to the left foot and do the same.

TIP: Try to get as close as you can to the cones without hitting them. At first, this will be tough, but as you progress to the next level, this will more closely mimic an actual game.

When you have completed both of those, move on to the tricky part: the out step only.

This drill is difficult to begin with, but it will make you a much dribbler and, thus, overall better player.

  • Pick a side and take the first touch with the out step.
  • Then go back in the opposite direction with the other out step.
  • Do this until you are out of cones.

TIP 3: Practice with your weak foot. This is something few want to do, but I promise that it will set you apart from your competition!

By being able to move the ball with both feet, you’ll become a stronger player and one who will be tougher to stop.

Even if you have little to no power in your weaker foot shooting-wise, you can still be a very good player with it when dribbling.

The above drills are a great way to start; nevertheless, they will only get you so far.

You also need to be able to move laterally.

Drill 2: Quick Turns

What you need: Set of balls / ball and multiple cones

Setup: One way to do this while still being able to practice by yourself is to simply take a set of balls, or a ball and multiple cones, and setting them out.

How to: This is going to basically mimic you taking on defenders.

If you have ever wondered how to dribble when a defender puts his / her elbow in, then this drill can help you overrun that kind of defensive approach.

While they won’t be able to challenge you physically, it will be as close as you can get.

  • Take the ball and begin dribbling to a cone.
  • When you reach it, use one of the above skills.
  • If you have a coach, have them call out what to do.
  • If they tell you outside right, use the right out step to circle around the “man”.
  • And so on and so forth for the other actions.
  • In between cones, use the tongue of the foot to push the ball into space with speed.

This is where you can see improvement in that regard to help you move away from defenders while also working on your fitness, at the same time!



Dribbling a soccer ball doesn’t seem that hard anymore!

Now that you have understood the basics on how to dribble in soccer get out there to the training field and practice, practice and practice until you master these techniques and skills.

I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun and, before you know it, you’ll become a true dribbling master!

Guy wearing an SL Benfica jersey holding soccer ball over his head

Article by:

Luís Miguel

As a true soccer enthusiast, I’m Soccermodo’s team captain. My job is to make sure the site’s content is top-notch so that you, our reader, can focus solely on improving your game and reach new heights.