How to Use Cone Drills to Develop Dribbling in Soccer

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Dribbling is a skill that can be taught to young players and older players alike. It is a highly useful, fundamental soccer move that is often neglected in favor of passing and tactics. However, the best players in the history of the game were always dribblers, even if they were better known for the passing skills. There are a variety of ways to coach good dribbling, and cone drills are some of the most simple and easy to manage methods of working on this skill. Help your players perfect their game by following these steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Cones
  • Balls
  • Place random cones in a free area for players to dribble around and towards. Have at least one cone for every player. Begin exercises with free dribbling, getting the players to avoid hitting the cones. Progress to using moves at the cones. Different directional moves can be worked on in this format, such as 180 degree moves, and moves to beat defenders.

  • Place cones in a line with spaces between each cone, and have players dribble in and out of the line. This is good for control of the ball under pressure of space. The distances between each cone can vary depending on the skill level of the players. Younger players can have larger gaps, while good older players should be able to dribble through really tight spaces with good close control.

  • Condition repetitions such that players must use one foot only to dribble through a course, and the other foot either coming back, or on their next turn. It is important that players work on skills with both feet, especially with dribbling. Surfaces that can be used to control the ball include the sole of the foot, the inside of the foot, the outside, and the laces or instep.

  • Use Zig-Zag arrangements to introduce more body movement and directional dribbling. This can replicate the same situations as having to beat players by performing moves at the cones and then moving to the next. The move can be done in context of the direction the player wants to go in, for example feinting to the right in order to dribble to the next cone which would be on the left.

  • Use 1 yard "gates" in a free area to work on speed dribbling. Have races to see who can get through the most gates in a set time. This idea can even be expanded to having players dribbling through the gates and stopping the ball on the line on the coaches signal. This will teach players to keep the ball close to them, and to use the soles of their feet to stop the ball.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work on dribbling in every practice if possible. Include it as part of the warm-up.
  • Teach players to look up when they are dribbling.
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