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Moves, Turns and Fakes

There are hundreds of moves, fakes and turns. Some are differentiated from others by slight variations. Some are basic and some very complex. Some are named for the movement and some named for the player who best personified the move. There is always overlap in what 1 person might call a move compared to another person. This list will arm you with 15 or so moves, naming them and describing them in clear step by step instructions for all coaches to recreate.

It is important to remember the function of a move is to beat a defender in a 1 vs 1 situation. In the target age groups U8 - U12 to beat a defender can simply mean to create enough space to make a pass, relieving pressure or maintaining possession. Too often in youth soccer, players are able to perform a move well but at the wrong time. The position of the opponent is very important. A Cruyff turn at the wrong time can and will lead the ball into the defenders possession. Ensure in your practice sessions you not only give them ample opportunities to practice with no opposition to get the mechanics down, but provide many opportunities where some passive then active opposition is provided to develop an appreciation of the opponents position in choosing a successful move. Think about running a basic dribbling practice.

Some key teaching points that will enable your players to better accomplish moves. develop comfort with the ball by doing rollovers, toe touches, stop-go's ──Fast footwork develop a sense of motion in your player, bouncing, stepping to ball, relaxed body posture disguise move with an upper body fake, drop of shoulder, a look or point one way, a pass or shot set-up. This movement generally creates an "attacking space" beyond and to the opposite side of the fake recognize when the player is off balance and penetrate the "attacking space." **The "attacking space" is the space the player in possession wants to attack with the ball. This can be beyond the defender, to either side or withdrawn from the defender. If a space is beyond the defender then the player should be encouraged to penetrate that space. The addition of the fake (body movement) usually creates a larger and more obvious space to attack. A Move laterally across the defender can create better passing angles and opportunities and a cut back or other move withdrawing from the defender can relieve pressure and allow possession to be maintained.

Basic Set-up for turn activities

You can control the practice environment by creating 2 lines about 5 -10 yds apart. Have players start on 1 line approximately 5 - 10 yds between each with a ball. Walk through the mechanics of the move stationary 1st. Then players can walk towards other line and do move before it, repeat in opposite direction with other foot. And finally have them Dribble with more speed. It is vital you develop 2 footed players so please provide time to practice with both feet. will also point towards moves which work better facing a defender or with a your back to the defender.

For more limited space, you can set-up a square and have players work between cones to serve 4 players. Alternatively create a hexagon with a central cone. Players can work each boundary line (6) and also the interior lines (spokes of a wheel) for another 6 players. Easier for more proficient players.

Once mechanics and body movements are mastered you can put players back into the square game environments in the basic dribbling practice plan.

Descriptions of moves

Note: 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 attacker's run. After the name of the turn the defender's position will be noted (N, E, or W) Generally the attacker will be approaching a defender head-on (N) or protecting ball by placing body between the 2 of them (W or E).

Name of moveDefender's
(N, E, S, W)
Description of mechanics
Roll back. (W) Place right foot on ball and stop it. Roll ball back (S) and spin away with it (Body turning to the right when turning)
Cut (inside) (E) As you are running position ball on outside of left leg. Using inside of right foot, swivel from the hips and cut ball back S with the inside of right foot.
Cut (outside) (W) Push ball a little in advance of body to the right. With a lunge extend right foot N and turn foot outwards to stop ball with outside surface and then flick S
Beckenbauer (N) When approaching a defender use outside cut to protect the ball, a second to turn and then a third to accelerate away forwards to the opposite side (NW)
Step-over (E) Place right foot alongside ball ( in passing position for left foot). Left foot passes over top of ball and extends across the body to the outside of right foot (NE). Now perform a swivel back on yourself (to the left) taking the ball back with the inside of right foot S (A MORE ADVANCED CUT ADDING A FAKE)
Cruyff (W) Set-up in a passing position for a right foot pass. Right foot fakes a pass 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 back through gap S created and spin to the left to follow ball
V (N) With the ball (NW) and body turned in that direction, drag the ball back with the sole of the right foot (SE) and then use the inside of right foot to move in the opposite direction (NE). As you roll ball back, turn hips to the NE to allow a forward push pass.
Cruyff II (N) (Behind the back V) With the ball slightly in front of you and facing N, use the sole of the right foot to drag ball back S. In continuous motion push ball with inside of foot behind standing leg W, using body to protect it and turn counter-clockwise to follow it.
(N) Position ball on outside of left foot. Step over ball with outside of the left foot, and lunges forward (NW). (Can be more effective if the left foot circles forward and around the ball rather then stepping over) Using the outside of trailing right foot play the ball the opposite direction (NE) then accelerate away
Denilson (N) Along the lines of the Barnes, with outside of nearest foot step around the front and out to the side of ball (NW), instead of playing the other way with other foot, repeat the step around with other foot (NE), and again with other foot (NW) to cause confusion in defender then cut with outside of foot in opposite direction (NE) like in the Barnes move
Fake shot (N) Approach the defender as if you are going to shoot. As defender checks, cut the ball across body with the inside of right foot. (W or NW)
(shuffle hips)
(N) When running with ball turn upper body and hips to about (NE) as if you are going to pass to someone with your right foot. When defender steps off balance, use the inside of the right foot to cut the ball across your body (NW or N) and back in the straight line you were headed N
Double cut (N) Similar to the Beardsley but the turning of body fake is helped with a inside cut to that direction with the left foot (E or NE), quickly followed by the inside cut with the right foot across the body ( W or NW) (note the motion of 2 cuts should appear as one)
Maradona (N) place left foot on ball, jump and rotate body about 180 while foot is still on top of ball and drag away with sole of right foot rotating the other 180 to almost maintain motion of original run (NW or NE)
Gascoigne (W or E )Place left foot on top of ball, stopping ball and momentum of defender momentarily then toe poking ball in a continued forward direction N with the right foot
Roll and tap
(in to out)
(N)* With the inside of right foot roll over the ball W and in same motion flick to back E with the outside of the right foot ( continuous touch of ball)
Roll and tap
(out to in)
(N)* Repeat but roll over using the outside of the right E and then flicking with inside W
* more advanced players should develop these moves with a forward angled Roll and tap. IE (NW) rather than (W) and (NE) rather than (E).

Further reading

See Dennis Mueller's daily ball drills for more dribbling practice for your players.

Updated 6 October 1998
Overview | Principles | Resources | Guidelines | Practices | Game Day | Very Young | More Reading