D2. Dribbling – Recognizing Opportunity

D2. Dribbling – Recognizing Opportunity
1hr 45min
Quote of the Session:
Warm Up/Agility 10 mins
Small Sided Game 20 mins
Recognizing Opportunity to Penetrate and Score
​The Set-Up: (as pictured).

  • 40 x 30 area
  • 12 Players – 5v3+GK and 2 additional players acting as counter targets
  • Supply of balls with server – Coach

The Game:

  1. Attacking server (A) initiates the game by passing infield to teammate. This player is the only attacker who is allowed to make a forward pass. Backward passes only are allowed from this point.
  2. Players then play 5v3 to the full size goal.
  3. Attackers score by scoring in the full size goal, but may only advance the ball by dribbling.
  4. Defenders score by dispossessing attacking team and playing to one of their two counter targets.
  5. If ball goes out, or a goal is scored, play always restarts from the attacking server – coach.
  6. If attacking team makes a forward pass, play stops, and restarts from the server again.
  7. First team to 3 points win, and then roles reverse.
  Coaching Points

  1. Attacking team should always look to dribble and get defense on back foot.
  2. Isolate players 1v1 and look to beat them and attack the space behind.
  3. Attack at full speed to unbalance defenders more easily.
  4. Look to exploit space created by retreating defenders.
  5. Quality of preparation touches before end action, whether this is a shot or a cross from the end line.

  1. P – Play becomes 5v4 in main area, with the defensive team playing to one central counter target.
  2. P – Shots may only be taken from inside the penalty area.
  3. R – Attacking team is allowed one forward pass in each attacking team.
Technical/Tactical 45 mins
Game of Tag with Safe Zone Squares

  • Place some 3×3 yard squares in the grid
  • Select 1 or 2 players to be the taggers
  • Every other player has a ball and dribbles around the area
  • If a player is inside of one of the squares they cannot be tagged
  • Only one player is allowed in the safe zones
  • If another player enters the zone the other player must leave
  • If a player is tagged they switch roles with the tagger
  Coaching Points

  • Acceleration away from the tagger
  • Field awareness
Engaging Defenders and Isolating Them in 1v1 Situations

  1. 20×10 yard area
  2. 3 players (2 attackers and 1 defender)
  3. 1 ball per attacker
  4. Repeat for up to 12 players


  1. Attacking players start at the opposite end of areas
  2. Each attacker starts dribbling toward opposite end of area simultaneously
  3. Defender must try to stop players from reaching opposite end
  4. Attackers score one point for each successful run across area
  5. If defender dispossesses attacker and keeps the ball in the grid they switch roles
  6. First player to 10 points win
  Coaching Points

  1. Dribble with head up to see which player the defender is focusing on
  2. If defender is engaged, dribble toward their front foot to maximize options
  3. If defender is occupied with other player use the opportunity to accelerate into the space they are not guarding
  4. Make move more pronounced by throwing full body weight into the move
  5. Push ball away from the defender with the outside of the foot, thus keeping the ball out of tackling range
  6. Accelerate away from move toward the end marker

  1. P – Both attackers start from the same end line and attack the same end
  2. R – Defender must stay in the middle for 10 repetitions even if they win the ball
Small Sided Game 30 mins
  • Two teams with goalkeepers.
  • Playing field of 40x20m
  • One goal at each end
Regular play with minimal coach intervention.

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