6 Types of Dribbles in Soccer (when to use them)

Using different types of dribbles in soccer will help players dominate. One of the most crucial elements in the game of soccer is the ability to dribble the ball. Soccer players use dribbling to move the ball from one end of the field to the other, evade defenders, and increase their chances of scoring goals.

What are the types of dribbles in soccer?

There are 6 types of dribbles in soccer. There are feints, chops/cuts, stop-starts, drags, speed, and changes of direction.

Soccer players who excel at dribbling have a combination of speed, balance, endurance, agility, and body control. It is imperative that the players have excellent footwork, constant control of the ball, and quick direction-changing skills.

The 6 Types of Dribbles in Soccer


What it is: These types of dribbles in soccer are used to fake or disguise the intention of the attacking player. The attacker uses clever footwork to move the defender one way and expose the space in a different direction. They position their feet and bodies to fake the defenders then the attacker escapes explosively into space.

Where on the pitch: Feints can be used all over the pitch but they work really well when the attacker is facing the defender with space on either side of them. This makes it difficult for the defender to know what direction the player will go.

Players who use it well: Messi, Gavi

How to coach it: Attackers who use feints well are masters of disguise and have lighting feet. To teach a player to feint well they need to pick an attacking move such as scissors. The attacker masters this move that will move the defender. Once a defender shifts one way the attacker quickly shifts in the other direction using a quick change of speed.

Chops and Cutting Moves

What it is: This move involves shifting the ball across the body. The attacker might look like they are about to pass to a teammate and shape up to pass then they cut or chop the ball across their bodies and continue to dribble or play a different pass. These are great to use against defenders who like to dive in and don’t slow down on their approach.

Where on the pitch: Central areas offer the pitch best spaces to perform these types of moves. The cut or chop move should ensure that the attacker is facing central areas. It should give the player time and space on the ball and open up additional options to progress the ball forwards.

Players who use it well: Cancelo, Bruno Fernandes

How to coach it: It starts with a pause on the ball, the attacker must draw in the defender using a slow touch. The attacker then opens their body as if to pass or travel with the ball in one direction. The ball is chopped or cut across the body (closing the hips). The inside of the foot offers an easy surface to use to do this.

Stop-Start Moves

What it is: This move is a pause on the ball to stop/plant the defender. The pause is to draw the defender towards the ball. They think they can tackle and then set their feet to do so. The attacker anticipates this, they use the ‘stop’ to suck the defender in, and the ‘start’ to quickly accelerate away.

Where on the pitch: These types of dribbles in soccer are common in wide areas and movements across the front of the goal. These moments offer many opportunities to use this type of skill. The stop-starts combine well with tuns, crosses, and shots. The attacker will perform the stop-start movement to create space for them to do one of these things.

Players who use it well: St Maximin, Mbappe

How to coach it: There are multiple stop-start moves. Imagine an attacker traveling down the wing. They stop the ball with the sole of one foot. This slows the defender who is thinking they have you. The attacker then pushes the ball out of their feet with the inside of the other foot to escape pressure.

An example of a stop-start move

Dragging Moves

What it is: It’s a move where the attacker manipulates the ball with one part of the foot relatively slowly. Once the defender plants their feet in the direction that the ball is moving the attacker shifts the ball with a different part of the foot. These moves are used by attackers to create space for themselves to pass, cross, and shoot.

Where on the pitch: This often occurs in wide areas when a wide player is up against a fullback who stands them up and won’t dive in. It also occurs around the box when a defending team is trying the create a block. The players move the defender in one direction and quickly shift it to another.

Players who use it well: Grealish, Foden

How to coach it: As a pattern, I would suggest thinking in terms of slow, slow, and fast. For example, move the defender with two slow touches using the inside of the foot. After the second touch, the attacker then shifts the ball quickly with the outside of the same foot. This could be flipped where the attacker goes with two slow touches with the outside of the foot to chop it quickly across the body with the inside of the foot.

Watch how he slows the defender and shifts the ball

The Speed Dribble

What it is: Fast-paced dribble where the player runs at a defender. The attacker uses their speed to get into a foot race with the defender in order to run beyond them. They push the ball out of their feet down the sides of the defender and run them. These types of dribbles in soccer are hard to defend against if players lack pace.

Where on the pitch: These types of dribbles in soccer are used when a player has lots of space in front of them. The attacker is facing the defender in wide or central areas. The space is usually at the sides and behind the defender. The attacker has to exploit this by running at or beyond the defender.

Players who use it well: Mo Salah, Erling Haarland

How to coach it: Encourage the attacker to run at the front foot of the defender pushing the ball out of their feet. The laces are a good surface to use and each touch of the ball should be out of the attacker’s feet and big enough so the attacker does not break their stride pattern. To go beyond the defender the attacker must push the ball down the sides of the defender and accelerate beyond them.

Some great examples in here of speed dribbles that lead to goals

Changes of Direction

What it is: It is usually in the form of a turn. When a player is running out of space or has a lack of options a turn can be used to change the picture for the attacker. Turns are great for evading pressure. They are hard to defend against because they involve the player turning away from the danger. Turns are great for unbalancing players.

Where on the pitch: If using a change of direction the pressure is usually at the sides or in front of the attacker. The attacker uses the turn to create a different picture or allow them to pass, cross or shoot. The attacker has to shift the ball from one direction to another quickly.

Players who use it well: Ronaldo, Federico Chiesa

How to coach it: Changes of direction are all about disguise and deception. The attackers need to scam the defenders into thinking they are about to cross, shoot or dribble. Attackers must use their arms and bodies to make it look like they are about to perform an action. As the defender plants their foot the attacker turns away from danger.

In Summary

The article has discussed 6 types of dribbles in soccer. Each type of dribble can be used in its own unique way, although some of them occur more frequently in certain parts of the pitch. Each type of dribble is a tool that players can use to escape pressure, create options for themselves, and give them more time on the ball.

It will take time to master every type of dribble and players will need regular exposure to a range of different dribble types. Practicing in different 1v1 formats will give players the opportunity to experience full-pressure situations from various angles and over different distances. Adding goals, target players, or scoring zones will encourage players to achieve the end product on their dribbles.

Study your favorite players and watch how they move with the ball. Pay close attention to their actions and preferred type of dribble. All of the best attackers have a go-to choice. Use these players as role models to identify your coaching points when trying to teach these skills to young players. Set the player’s challenges to observe their favorite players and identify what their favorite types of dribbles are.

Related Content

I have linked some articles from this site that contain similar related content. Each article will open in a new window. I have provided articles that include drills that coaches could use to practice the 6 types of dribbles in soccer.

Frequent Questions

What are dribbling skills in soccer?

The best way to dribble in soccer is to drive the ball forward with the laces of either foot. If you’re moving quickly, you can push the ball further out of your feet. You are dribbling if you continue to move while carrying the ball with your feet.

What are the 3 key points for being a good dribbler in soccer?

  1. Keep the ball close to your body while maintaining control. Players should be able to keep close possession of the ball in order to quickly change directions and pass the ball away from a defender.
  2. The dribbler must keep their center of gravity low while bending their legs and keeping their head and chest over the ball. This will make it easier for players to start, stop, accelerate, and change directions.
  3. It’s time to adjust the speed and course. The attacker should be able to cut and spin the ball quickly to avoid tackles or take advantage of space.

How can I improve my football dribbling skills?

Practice the ball mastery fundamentals. Get proficient at running with the ball over longer distances. Practice dribbling out of tight spaces. Get proficient at fast-speed dribbles. Practice shielding, this skill helps players to protect the ball with their bodies. Discover how other players use different types of dribbles in soccer.