Coaching Tips Part One

Saturday 19 October 2013 07:00

In the first of our new coaching feature, we caught up with one of our Soccer School Head Coaches, Joe, at the Fulham Training Ground to discuss the importance of dribbling and how young players can improve their ability.

Joe, thanks for joining us. In your opinion, how important is the ability to dribble the ball well in football?

Dribbling is a crucial skill in football. Good dribbling can open up opportunities for players as well as the team. It's a skill that is used all over the pitch, by different players in different positions and the key lesson is learning how, why and when to use dribbling to a player's advantage.

What, in your opinion, are the key elements of good dribbling?

The ability to maintain close control, particularly at high-speed. It's important to take small, controlled touches, maintaining good balance and shifting body weight to keep a strong centre of gravity. This can be achieved by keep the knees bent to allow players to change direction easily. Keeping your head up while dribbling will improve awareness of who is around you. This will also help to improve decision-making when in possession of the ball.

What is your top tip for players looking to improve their dribbling?

Use your body to protect the ball, particularly when a defender gets close. Try to use both feet and keep the ball on the furthest foot from the defender to prevent them from tackling you.

Away from training and matches, how can young players improve their dribbling skills?

I think a great way to improve dribbling is to watch the best players move with the ball. Although the best way to improve is to practice with a ball, changing direction and trying new skills in the back garden or at the park with friends!

Which professional player do you think is the best dribbler of a ball, and why?

In my opinion, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the best player in the world with the ball at his feet. Whether he is in space or in tight areas, he is able to maintain close control, even at high speed. What makes Messi so dangerous is that he is penetrable with his dribbling, he doesn't dribble for the sake of it, it's always to beat a man and open up a chance to score or set up a team mate.

Your child can join Joe at our Fulham Training Ground to improve their skills, during this October'a half-term'Fulham Soccer Schools. To book for the Training Ground, visit 'Our Venues' and select Fulham Training Ground from the menu.