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Five Training Ideas For Dribbling

The concept of coaching dribbling is a fascinating one. It's in almost every coaching curriculum in the younger ages (often it's the first thing that players learn), yet it's becoming absent at the higher age groups. Perhaps more possession systems and more small sided games have contributed to the decline in players experiencing fewer opportunities to experiment through dribbling in a training session, but it does not have to be possession versus free play. This week we are focusing on ways to add dribbling to team training sessions with context and transfer to the 11v11 game.


Below is a YouTube breakdown detailing the objectives and three exercises that are explained in depth. If you enjoy this content, please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page.



Below is a breakdown of the three exercises, including two bonus exercises.



8v8 Free Zone Game

Area of Emphasis: Attacking Build with Advanced Full-Backs

Dimensions: 30x60 yards (10x20 yards wide zones)


Players are organized into two teams and play an 8v8 game. The wide zones are 'free spaces' that are available for players to dribble into. Once inside the area, no defenders are allowed inside, however, they are restricted to 6 seconds. This constraint is designed to encourage players to dribble into the wide space and create an attack. A goal that is assisted from the wide zone is worth two points.



3v3+3 Corners Game

Area of Emphasis: Solutions in Attacking Transition

Dimensions: 25x25 yards (5 yard corners)


Nine players are organized into three teams of three players, with one team designated as the defensive team. The defensive team are looking to win the ball back against the 3v6 overload and, upon immediately doing so, are then aiming to dribble the ball into any of the corners for two points. For every six consecutive passes the overload completes, they are awarded one point. Play 6x3 minute games and change roles after each game.




7v7 Advanced Overload Game

Area of Emphasis: Attacking Build Using Overloads to Drive

Dimensions: 30x60 yards (split into 3 horizontal zones)

Teams are organized into two defenders, three midfielders, and one attacker in each zone. The attacking team can create an overload by dribbling into the next zone. This encourages teams to use the initial overload to drive forwards, rather than simply passing to feet. If the defensive team win possession, they can score in transition without the overload if it's within eight seconds. Same conditions apply for both teams.



5v3 Counter Attacking Game

Area of Emphasis: Carrying the Ball on Counter Attack and 1v1 Situations

Dimensions: 30x50 yards (15x15 yard zones for mini-goals)


Players are organized into an attacking team of five players and a defensive team of three defenders plus one goalkeeper. Two center backs on the attacking team are restricted to a zone with a mini-goal and can pass the ball into their teammates in the 3v3 towards goal. When the defending team win possession, they can dribble out into either zone and create a 1v1 with the defender. No other players are allowed in the zone once the 1v1 starts. A counter attacking goal is worth two points.



3v2 Counter Attacking Game

Area of Emphasis: Driving with the Ball into Final 3rd on Counter Attack

Dimensions: 20x60 yards (split in half)

Attacking players go in pairs towards the opposite goal with one forward (in yellow) in support. This creates a 3v2 transition type moment to goal and once in the attacking half, players are encouraged to create and score with a level of attacking freedom. When the attack finishes, the next pair dribble to the other goal and create a new 3v2. The game should flow quickly with the forwards and defenders staying, but the attackers dribbling and running in both directions (although only one pair attacks at one time).



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