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Some Beginning Moves to Develop Touch

There are many different moves to develop ball control and ball touch. Many of those listed below were popularized by Wiel Coerver, a noted Dutch coach. Indeed, when you hear other coaches talking about "doing coervers", they are referring to assorted footwork exercises designed to improve ball touch.

Hat-Dance (toe-tap)

Lightly tap the top of the ball using the front sole of the foot, alternating taps with either foot. Try to keep the ball from moving by tapping gently from the top. When the ball can be kept still, try "Around the World" by stepping to the side as you come down from each tap so that you manage to circle the ball. Make sure your weight is always on the foot that is on the ground and switch feet while both feet are in the air. Once you get comfortable, increase your speed. See how many taps you can do in one minute. Try to do without looking at the ball.

Inside roll

Roll the ball towards the inside of your body, using the sole of one foot. Try to position the sole of the foot on the ball towards the outside edge, so that the ball rotates just enough to allow you to put your rolling foot down briefly so that you can keep moving in the same direction. The non-rolling foot is placed behind and to the side of the path of the ball, and is moved quickly when the rolling foot is planted. Repeat, going in the opposite direction with the other foot.

Outside roll

Roll the ball towards the outside of your body, using the sole of one foot. Try to position the sole of the foot on the ball towards the inside edge, so that the ball rotates just enough to allow you to put your rolling foot down briefly so that you can keep moving in the same direction. Repeat, going in the opposite direction with the other foot.

Drag Back

Alternating feet and using a skipping-type step, pull the ball backwards with light touches (taking care to keep the plant foot out of the path of the ball by slightly hopping from one side to the other as you pull the ball back).

Push Forward

Alternating feet and using a skipping type step, push the ball forward with light touches (bringing the pushing foot down to the side of the ball in order to allow the other foot to give the next push, so that the player appears to be leaping over the the back of the ball with each touch).

Tic-Toc (Boxing)

Using the inside front edges of the feet, knock the ball back and forth rapidly between the feet, so that the ball is in constant motion and the ball is redirected with every touch. Basically, the ball is being "boxed" from one side to the other, then back again.

Pull-Back/Push Forward

Use sole of foot to pull ball back, then immediately use front of same foot (inside or outside surface) to push it forward. Alternate feet.


Make a V-shaped pattern, starting at the top of the V, pulling the ball down towards the center of the body with the front sole of the foot, then pushing the ball back out with the sole of the same foot. Variations include switching legs after each Vee; reversing direction of the V (going from outside to inside); making the 2nd leg of the Vee by using the outside/front of the foot to push the ball forward; or making the 2nd leg of the Vee by dragging the ball forward with the inside of the foot.

Multi-Directional Roll

Assorted moves (often coach/player invented) in which the ball is rolled in various directions before being pulled or pushed or cut back behind the leg or tapped to the other foot for a repeat.

Inside/Outside Cuts (Snake)

Do a series of easy cuts/taps with the inside, then outside, of the same foot so that the ball "snakes" across the field as you move along. Repeat with opposite foot. As they progress, encourage the players to exaggerate the moves so that they must stretch and reach to cut the ball back.

Dribbling Moves For Beginning to Intermediate Players

There are hundreds of moves (some which vary only slightly from other moves). Some are basic and some very complex. Many are named for the player who "invented" the move or made it famous. Often, a move may have more than one name - so expect regional variations.

It is important to remember the function of a move is to move the ball away from the defender so that you can retain possession long enough to do something productive with the ball (i.e., get it to a teammate or shot it into the net or wait until the defender makes a mistake so that you can go around him).

In general, expect that players will become more coordinated as they grow older. Players who are u8 often are uncoordinated, and cannot do moves which are simple for players just a few years older. Smaller players also may have trouble due to the relative size of the ball (e.g., if the ball comes almost to the knee, it is harder to step over it easily). In addition, when players are growing, they frequently have "clumsy" attacks where they lose their coordination until their brain has time to reprogram and learn where their hands/feet now end (Note: fast footwork exercises can speed the reprogramming). Patience and practice are keys to developing comfort on the ball.

As you demonstrate moves for your players, work with them on keeping the upper body relaxed and learning to bounce on the balls of their feet. Jumping rope is an excellent way to develop the muscles used in dribbling. So is any kind of dancing which involves faster footwork (such as tap dancing, Irish/Celtic dancing, and most folk dancing). Many coaches find that it helps to play music while working on ball touches.

Once players have developed their ball control skills (also commonly called "touch"), and have obtained a repetoire of basic dribbling moves, they will begin to learn some basic fakes which will trick a defender into believing that they are going one way - when they really intend to go somewhere else. Most of these fakes require that the player learn to let the upper body sway and go limp, so that they basically pull their torso in the new direction (starting with the hips). Practice of fakes/feints in front of a mirror is always helpful. However, even with much practice, younger players often will not be able to execute a fake as believably as an older player unless they are very limber.

DESCRIPTIONS: The description of moves will include the mechanics and will always be described for use with the right foot. The default (N) will be the forward direction of the attackers run. After the name of the turn, the defenderĖs position will be noted (N, E, or W) Generally the attacker will be approaching a defender head-on (i.e., defender will be directly N) or protecting ball by placing body between the 2 of them (W or E).

All moves are best executed with the knees bent, the buttocks down (to lower the center of gravity), and with the player perched on the balls of his feet and ready to explode in any direction quickly.

Check - a/k/a "Magic Hop" (Defender to W)

Do a slight skipping step on the left foot, while simultaneously tapping top of the ball with the sole of the right foot. DO NOT PUT any weight on right foot - a slight tap is all that is needed to stop/slow the ball. Allow right foot to continue through running motion, but turn right foot towards left as it is planted, so that you can immediately reverse direction and take ball away with left foot.

Pull-back (Defender to left or NW)

Place sole of right foot on ball. Pull/roll the ball behind you (S to SE).

Vee (Defender to N)

Put ball towards NW at an easy reach. Pull ball back towards center of body with the sole of the right foot (SE), then make the opposite leg of the Vee by a drag with the inside of the left foot or the outside of the right foot, exploding into the second leg of the Vee. A variation is to do the full Vee with the sole of the foot, then quickly execute a reverse Vee if the defender lunges towards in the direction of the second leg of the Vee. Another variation is to add an outside circle turn after execution of the Vee.

Inside of the Foot Cut (Defender to the NW)

Use inside of right foot to reach over ball, then swivel hips and cut ball back sharply to left (SW) with the instep of right foot (the sharper the cut, the more the inside of the cutting foot will need to be angled in across the face of the ball to stop it and drag it back in the other direction). A slight chopping motion with the cutting foot (bringing the front laces across the forward surface of the ball) may help to slow the ball when the cut is performed at higher speeds. This move allows the attacker to take advantage of the defenderĖs momentum to quickly cut back in the opposite direction while the defender keeps going forward.

Outside of the Foot Cut (Defender to the NW)

With ball travelling towards NE (parallel to the defender), reach over the ball with the outside of the right foot and pull ball sharply back towards the S/SE. Once again, a slight chopping motion may help to improve the ability to make the cut when the ball is moving at higher speeds.

Matthews (Defender to N)

Execute a slight inside of the foot cut to the left (W), followed by an immediate cut back to the right (E) with the outside of the same foot - exploding as you go into the second cut. Variations include simply faking the first cut or just slightly tapping the ball on the first cut, using the shoulders and hips to get the defender to believe that you are going in one direction while you explode in the opposite direction.

Inside Circle Turn (Defender to NE)

With inside of the foot, cut ball to left (W), cut again to S, and then cut again so that you end up again heading towards the NE (Note: Newer/smaller players may require 1-2 additional touches to complete the circle). Get them to aim for as few touches as possible to keep control.

Beckenbauer -a/k/a Outside Circle Turn (Defender to N)

When approaching a defender, do outside cut to pull ball towards E, a second to turn S, and then a third to accelerate away forwards to the opposite side (NW).

Behind The Leg Cut (Defender to NE)

Put left foot to side and slightly ahead of ball. Tap ball back behind support leg with instep of right foot, then turn and take away with outside of left foot.

Gascoigne (Defender to E )

Place tip of sole of left foot on top of ball to stop ball. As soon as defender bites or hesitates, explode quickly forward using front of left foot (or a quick toe poke). Modifications include using a slight roll-back, followed by a quick acceleration.

Step-over (Defender to NE)

Place right foot slightly behind the ball. Swing left foot in front of ball, putting weight on left foot as it comes to rest in front of right foot. Swing right foot around the left foot and the ball as far as you can comfortably reach towards the left side (W), so that you swivel around to the left and end up facing S to SW.

Barnes (single scissors) (Defender to NW)

Position ball on outside of left foot. Circle in front of ball with left foot, planting left foot beside the ball. Take ball away with outside of R foot.

Denilson (Defender to N)

Basically a triple scissors.

Fake shot (Defender to N)

Approach the defender as if you are going to shoot. As defender stops, cut ball sharply in front of body with the inside of right foot. (W or NW)

Beardsley (double hip swivel) (Defender to N)

When running with ball, quickly swivel hips to left, as if to pass with R foot. When defender bites, quickly swivel hips back to right, and take ball away with inside of L foot.

Double cut (Defender to N)

Similar to the Beardsley , but actually do execute two cuts - rather than faking the first pass.

Cruyff (Defender to W) (pronounced like St. Croix, with an f on the end)

Set-up in a passing position for a right foot pass. Right foot fakes a pass or kick, but circles around and in front of the ball (pointing at other toe at 90 degree angle). Using inside of the right foot, push the ball behind leg and spin off to left. Basically, a fake kick with a behind the leg cut.

Maradona (Defender to N)

Place left foot on ball, jump and rotate body about 180 while foot is still on top of ball, then pull back around another 180 degrees. Basically, a circle turn using a piroette to make á of the turn and then a sole-drag to finish the turn. A variation is to start as a Cryuff, then add the piroette/drag as you spin off.

For additional moves and descriptions, you may wish to go to:

Updated 12 March 1999
Overview | Principles | Resources | Guidelines | Practices | Game Day | Very Young | More Reading