adidas / April 2022
6 Minute Read

Soccer Dribbling 101: Run These Drills

Want to learn how to dribble a soccer ball like a pro? Learn how to connect with the ball with pro athlete Megan Montefusco.

In soccer, the basics never go away. Learning and understanding the basics are fundamental to excelling in the sport. Dribbling is a core skill all soccer players must have. Learning how to dribble a soccer ball may seem overwhelming, but with practice and dedication you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
For professional soccer player Megan Montefusco, dribbling is essential. As a successful defender, Montefusco believes that the fundamentals of soccer must be practiced consistently to succeed in the game.

I work on my dribbling and all those drills all the time. I think in order to work out of tight spaces as a defender, it's really important to set up drills where I'm moving the ball and using different surfaces of my foot.

-Megan Montefusco

Dribbling allows players to get from point A to point B on the field. Understanding and mastering the art of dribbling will not only allow you to travel across the field but also keep the ball in your team's possession. 
Now, let’s break it down.

Learning to Dribble: Breaking Down the Technique


Step 1: Foot and Ball Connection

How you control the ball in soccer is everything—and it all starts with your feet. Pro players like Montefusco use multiple areas of their feet to control the ball in different ways.
The inside and outside of your feet are how you control the direction, turn the ball around and cut around defenders. The top, or laces, of your foot pushes the ball forward with speed as you’re running with the ball, and the sole of your foot stops the ball for sharp turns and faking out an opposing player.
When dribbling, keep your toes pointed down and your ankle locked. As you’re running, push off the ground with your supporting foot to gain distance. Keep an athletic position, landing on the ball of your foot for better speed and agility.

Step 2: Tap Don’t Kick

We all want to go fast and kick far, but when it comes to dribbling a soccer ball you don’t want to chase it. Kicking the ball too far in front of you creates space for someone on the opposing team to swoop in and steal it. Instead, frequently tapping the ball allows you to stay agile, in control, and keep the ball close to you, enabling you to change direction fast and keep your opponent guessing. When practicing, make sure to tap the soccer ball with each step. This allows for ultimate control and keeps the ball “glued” to your foot.

Step 3: Body Positioning

Although soccer is lower-body dominant, it’s important to pay attention to other parts of your body while playing.
Keep your head up: If you’re always looking down at your feet you can miss important passes, shots, or chances to get closer to the goal. When learning how to dribble you are constantly looking up and down.
Use your arms for balance: Keep your arms out when dribbling around defenders. This creates distance between yourself and your opponent and will help improve your balance while dribbling. Move your arms the way you would when sprinting when you are dribbling with speed. 
Maintain an athletic position: While dribbling you want to feel balanced, relaxed and in control. Keep your back straight or lean forward slightly to center your position of gravity. 

Step 4: Switch It Up

Don’t run at the same speed throughout the duration of the game, switch it up. Alternating your speed while dribbling will keep your opponent guessing. Practice dribbling at different speeds and changing directions with the ball to make yourself challenging to play against. 

Dribbling Practice: Let’s Run It

The best way to learn how to dribble a soccer ball is to practice! Never think that because you’re good at something you don’t need to continue to work at it. Remember, mastering the basics will set you up to succeed in the game of soccer. “Whenever we're training or stepping out on the field, we're always working on the basics,” said Montefusco. “I think the basics are what set the tone for training and they're necessary because it's something that we do all the time.”
Follow these drills from Megan Montefusco to become a dribbling sensation.

DRILL 01: Close Control Dribbling

Goal: This technique helps you learn to control the ball in tight spaces.
1. Tap the ball with the inside of your feet for 30 seconds. 
2. Eventually move on to tapping the ball with the inside and outside of your feet.

DRILL 02: Change Direction Drill

Goal: This technique helps develop your creativity in getting the ball away from a defender.
1. Scatter 20 cones across the field.
2. Dribble the ball in between the cones without touching any of them. Use different parts of your foot to change direction and pretend the cones are opposing players you’re trying to dodge.

DRILL 03: Speed Dribbling

Goal: This technique teaches you to control the ball while gaining speed in the game.
1. Start at the half and begin tapping the ball forward.
2. Run in a straight line and tap the ball with the top of your foot with every step.
3. Don’t let the ball get out too far in front of you—remember to tap the ball rather than kick.
4. Start out at a moderate pace and then when you get to a certain part of the field explode with speed.

Mastering the Basics

Learning and practicing the fundamental skill of dribbling will take your soccer game to the next level. Remember, with dedication, discipline, and positivity you can master anything. As Montefusco puts it, “discipline really sets the tone for how you carry yourself throughout everything that you do. And when I step out on the field, I know that if I'm building positive habits and I'm doing the same thing over and over and over, it's going to pay off.”
Practice these dribbling drills and watch yourself go from a novice to a pro. Add these drills to your training routine, and check out more 3-Stripes Sessions on the adidas blog to learn how to bend, juggle and shoot the ball to take your gameplay to the next level. 
adidas / April 2022
6 Minute Read