10 Dec Inspire Creativity: Soccer Dribbling Drill
It ain’t no secret I train young girls to become beasts. And over the past four years, I’ve been grateful to have an arsenal of players who possess a radiating love for the beautiful game. Above all, they still stuck with me through my knee surgeries and when I yelled at them as I was hobbling around on crutches. They stuck with me despite me blasting electronic dance music during sessions. They stuck with me despite life-hating glute work (#soccerbooty). And they stuck with me when I quoted Lord of the Rings and related Frodo’s struggle to the game of soccer.
Looking back on my first technical session as a coach, I was just as clueless as the world when Donald Trump announced his candidacy. Certainly times have changed from no structured sessions to painstakingly giving a shit what the players need. And annoying them with neuromuscular pauses to hammer home first touch technique. For an hour straight.
Being a technical coach allows for structure AS WELL AS improvisation. Once the basic foundation of technique is laid, players should be encouraged to apply what they learned and hone creativity.
Alas, gone are the days when I stare at players as they dribble through cones. Over. And over. And over again.
Enter: ‘Tag’ Dribbling.
The first progression I use is having my players dribble through the cones, getting comfortable with using all surfaces of the foot. Then, I want to inspire creativity. Step-overs, scissors, L-pulls, V-pulls, and fakes within the cones pushes the creativity component.
Finally, the ultimate progression is turning it into a game of tag. You’re guaranteed to get some laughs amongst your players, but also some competitive fire. Fingers crossed no one kills each other.
Without further ado, here it is:
Why I like it:
1) Inspires creativity.
Again, improv is key. Soccer is as unpredictable as Lindsay Lohan’s next move. Players must learn to be malleable and adapt on-call.
2) Raises competition.
As Coach Anson Dorrance of UNC says, competitive spirit in athletes wins championships. Sure, your players may get mad at each other in the heat of this drill, but they are essentially making each other better. I always say, “Beat each other up, then shake hands later.” 😉
3) Promotes quick feet, staying on toes.
STAY ON YOUR TOES!!!!!! I would be one rich woman if I was given a penny for every time I yelled this at my players. Tag dribbling is guaranteed to get your players moving their feet because it’s critical to beating the opponent in this drill. And please, have a punishment for the loser of each round, like staying on their toes during water breaks. LOL. My favorite.
4) Encourages sharp turns with acceleration then deceleration.
If you don’t have time for agility, tag dribbling does the job. Players are forced to accelerate and decelerate in tight spaces, but also push off the plant foot when performing moves and fakes.
5) Allows for conditioning with the ball. Trust me, you’ll be gassed after a 30 second round.
Sometimes it’s better to get in your conditioning within the game, whether it’s via this drill, 4v4s, 5v5s, 8v8s. There’s something to be said for having your players line up to run suicides to elicit energy system demands for the game. However, the CP and anaerobic systems, especially, can be trained with the ball in some capacity.
So what do you think? Try this drill with your players and let me know how they did. 🙂