"Teach your players how to master the ball with good dribbling basics"

What is the best way to begin teaching dribbling basics? The kids should be introduced to the following skills.

  • Inside of the foot - foundation touches.
  • Outside of the foot - changing direction and tight spaces.
  • Laces - dribbling into space at speed.
  • Sole of the foot - changes of direction and tight spaces.
  • Push and pull - learning to use the laces and sole of the foot.

These basics will help the kids build a good foundation for 1v1 soccer moves to take players on or shield the soccer ball.

Foundation touches and toe taps

The player starts working on foundation touches ...

  • Using the inside of the foot, tap the ball back and forth
  • Keep the ankle locked and toe slightly up
  • The knees should be bent
  • Arms out for balance
  • See if the player can look away from the soccer ball

Toe Taps...

  • Using the bottom of the foot to touch the soccer ball
  • Try and stay up on your toes and not walk
  • Arms out for balance
  • See if player can look away from the soccer ball

Coaching point: Practice in place, then have the kids practice on the move.

Foundation touches promote a good base to help soccer players develop good soccer dribbling habits.

This base also helps the players when learning to dribble the soccer ball in tight spaces or learning more complicated soccer moves.

Push and pull

The players start working on push and pull in dribbling basics...

  • Using the Laces and sole (bottom) of the foot.
  • The player pushes the soccer ball out with the laces (toe down).
  • Pulls the ball back with the sole (bottom of the foot).
  • Repeat until a nice rhythm is developed.
  • Hop on standing leg
  • Use the standing leg and arms for balance.

Once the players are comfortable using the right and left foot - do a combination of right then left foot. This is a much harder soccer skill so give the players time to master each foot then switch.

Using the outside of the foot

Players use the...

  • The outside of the foot for changing direction or turning to keep control of the ball in tight spaces.
  • The outside of the foot technique is toe up slightly and ankle locked.
  • The player touches the side of the ball with the outside of the foot.

Exercise: Have the players dribble in a figure eight using the outside of the right and left foot to increase dribbling basics.

This is a great way to teach soccer turns to players once they have mastered the basics.

The speed dribble

The players use the...

  • Laces for speed dribbles...getting into spaces fast.
  • The technique is toe down and ankle locked, taking small touches with the laces.

Exercise: Once players have used the inside or outside of the foot to keep the ball, the player can then accelerate into space.

Learn the sole role

The players use the sole role or slides...

  • Change direction
  • Roll the ball away from the defender
  • Shield the soccer ball by sliding the soccer ball away
  • Try the exercise without looking at the ball once the player gets comfortable


An easy exercise for the players to practice is toe taps. Once a player has mastered toe taps in one place, they can try moving toe taps - forward, backward and sideways.


Use the right or left foot only...

This is a great way for the players to keep their foot on the ball and move the ball away from defenders.

Dribbling basics practice

Get the players warmed up...

Use any part of the foot - no restrictions, encourage the players to try and use all four parts of the foot and develop good dribbling basics.

  • Foundation touches - stationary - if the players are proficient get them moving with foundation touches.
  • Outside foot - right foot first, then left foot...if they are doing well try both feet.
  • Laces - An easy way to teach this method is to have the players dribble with laces taking small touches using the laces.
  • Sole - To become proficient in using the sole of the foot, the coach has the players practicing toe taps.

Ask the players if they can look up and see what is going on around them, and maintain control of the soccer ball while looking up. Once the kids have mastered the basics the coach can teach more advanced moves and techniques.

Fun dribbling games

Play a basic soccer dribbling concentration game...the soccer coach assigns numbers to each soccer skill...

  1. = toe taps on the soccer ball
  2. = outside of the foot dribble
  3. = foundation touches
  4. = laces dribble

The soccer coach calls out a number and the players have to perform the specific basic soccer dribbling move. These #'s games get the kids thinking about how to use the soccer move and provide lots of repetition.

Coaches, in the video below, kids are playing in 9v9 game. You can see examples of laces touches, sole rolls, cuts, l-moves and changes of direction. This is what it should look like live.

Play 3vs3 games so the kids can try out their new soccer dribbling skills. Small sided soccer games are important because the kids need a chance to try out their basic dribbling skills and apply them to the soccer game. Get more ideas on how to teach fast foot work by clicking here!

Return to Soccer skills from Dribbling basics

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