5 Effective Soccer Dribbling Techniques to Improve Ball Control (2024)

Soccer is a game of deception. The art of dribbling requires footwork, flair, and cleverness to confuse defenders. A deep repertoire of moves and skills can help you glide past opponents with ease.

We will break down five lethal dribbling techniques to add to your toolkit. Mastering these soccer skills will turn you into a defender’s nightmare. Learn the drag back, step over, Maradona turn, double scissor, and rollover. Polish these moves through repetition and implement them with creativity.

Table Of Contents hide

1 Drag Back

2 The Step Over

3 The Maradona Turn

4 The Double Scissor

5 Rollover

6 Conclusion

Drag Back

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Soccer is a game of tight spaces. Defenders crowd around you, trying to win the ball and halt attacks. In congested areas on the pitch, it’s vital to have dribbling techniques that can create separation.

One effective skill to add to your dribbling repertoire is the drag back. This technique allows you to suddenly shift momentum and direction, gaining that split-second advantage to drive into space past defenders.

What is Drag Back?

The drag back is executed by pulling the ball back with the sole of your foot while your body continues moving forward. This stops the ball abruptly and shifts it behind you.

To perform a drag back:

  1. Approach the ball with momentum and get in close control
  2. Just before reaching the ball, plant your dominant foot beside it
  3. Use the sole of that planted foot to drag the ball back

This technique is typically performed with the dominant foot but can be done with either. The key is using the foot as a brake to pull the ball back while the body moves ahead.

Why Learn the Drag Back Dribbling Skill?

Mastering the dragback offers several benefits for soccer players:

  • Creates separation in tight spaces: Defenders must adjust their momentum as they change direction.
  • Allows sudden bursts past defenders: After the drag back, you can accelerate into space.
  • Develops close ball control: Having the ball remain in contact with the sole requires coordination.
  • Works well with feints and shimmies: Coupling it with body or head fakes compounds its effectiveness.
  • Keeps defenders off balance: They can’t predict which way you’ll turn next.

The drag-back is most useful in congested areas of the pitch when you need to free yourself from tight marking. Adding it to your dribbling skills will help you maintain possession and drive forward under pressure.

Tips for Mastering the Soccer Drag Back

Here are some pointers to perform the drag back effectively:

  1. Keep your weight forward: Don’t lean back, stay over the ball.
  1. Use either foot: Practice dragging back with both the dominant and non-dominant foot.
  1. Soft touches: Gently pull the ball, don’t stab at it.
  1. Bend knees: Stay loose and low, ready to explosively spring either way.
  1. Sell your fake: Add shimmies with shoulders or heads to enhance the deception.
  1. Accelerate out: Burst quickly into the space you’ve created.

With proper technique and regular practice, the drag back can give you an unpredictable dribbling weapon to add to your skills. Master it on both feet and incorporate it into attacking play.

The Step Over

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The step-over is a classic dribbling move used to fake out defenders in 1v1 situations. Mastering this technique can give you an edge when beating opponents on the dribble.

What’s the Step Over Dribbling Trick?

The step-over involves quickly stepping over the ball repeatedly to confuse defenders. You can step over the ball with the inside or outside of the same foot.

To perform the move:

  1. Dribble directly at the defender with speed
  2. Plant one foot beside the ball and step over it with the other foot
  3. Repeat the stepping motion, crossing over the ball multiple times
  4. Exit with the ball in the opposite direction using the outside of the foot

Stepping over with the outside draws defenders towards the center before exiting wide. The inside stepover does the opposite.

Why the Step Over Beats Defenders

This dribbling technique is an effective weapon because:

  • It unbalances defenders: Their weight shifts side to side as you step over back and forth.
  • The fake-out creates hesitation: Defenders second guess which way you’ll turn after the move.
  • It happens quickly: The rapid steps over occur in the blink of an eye.
  • The exit can be with either foot: Keeps defenders guessing which way you’ll exit.
  • Works in tight spaces: Doesn’t require much room to perform.

Executed well, the step-over causes defenders to hesitate and commit their weight the wrong way, allowing you to blow past them to open space.

Tips to Perfect the Step-Over

To perform the step-over effectively:

  1. Sell the fake: Use your upper body and eyes to sell the deception.
  1. Keep the ball close: Don’t overstep, keep your feet near the ball.
  1. Vary the tempo: Switch up the speed of steps to keep defenders off balance.
  1. Practice both feet: Repetition will make the move more convincing.
  1. Add variety: Follow up with other skills like the Maradona turn.
  1. Face the sideline: This tunnel vision hides your exit point.

With precision and purpose, the step-over dribbling technique can be a deadly weapon in your one-on-one attacking arsenal.

Read More: 7 Advanced Dribbling Drills to Take Your Ball Control to the Next Level

The Maradona Turn

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Named after legend Diego Maradona, this creative dribbling technique allows you to swiftly turn 180 degrees and explode away from defenders.

How to Perform the Maradona Soccer Turn

This skill involves using the outside of your dominant foot to flick the ball behind your planted leg, then spinning around to collect it.

To execute it:

  1. Dribble directly towards a defender
  2. Plant your non-dominant foot beside the ball as you approach
  3. Use the outside of your dominant foot to gently flick the ball backward
  4. Turn your body 180 degrees around the planted foot
  5. Burst away in the opposite direction

The key is to sell the fake before flicking the ball through your legs with minimal force. Your body swivels around your pivoting foot to exit the opposite way.

Why the Maradona Move Beats Defenders

Mastering this move gives you an unpredictable weapon because:

  • The 180-degree turn is lightning quick: Defenders are left in the dust.
  • It creates loads of space. You exit with acres of space to attack upfield.
  • Defenders are caught off guard: It’s an unexpected dribbling move in tight spaces.
  • Requires deft touches: Well executed, the ball stays close through the turn.
  • Explode into open space: Leave defenders with no chance of catching up.

With precision and practice, the Maradona turn allows you to evaporate from tight defenses and bear down on goal.

Tips for Polishing the Maradona Dribbling Skill

To successfully pull off this technique:

Sell the fake: Use the upper body or feints to disguise the flick.

Soft flick touch: Gently push the ball, don’t stab at it.

Spin quickly: Pivot sharply around the planted foot.

Burst out: Accelerate explosively after the turn.

Be two-footed: Drill the move on both sides.

Vary follow-ups: Combine with other skills like step-overs.

While difficult to master, adding the Maradona turn to your dribbling ability can pay big dividends on the pitch.

The Double Scissor

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The double scissor, also known as the elastico, involves quickly shifting the ball from side to side by crossing your feet over the ball. Mastering this technique helps beat passive defenders.

How to Execute the Double Scissor Dribbling Move

This skill is performed by:

  1. Dribbling slowly with the ball in close control
  2. Crossing one leg behind and around the back of the standing leg
  3. Using the crossed leg to gently tap the ball sideways
  4. Repeating the motion by crossing the legs over again the opposite way
  5. The ball moves rapidly from side to side with each crossed step

Your body remains squared up as you smoothly shift your weight and cross your legs back and forth.

Why the Double Scissor Dazzles Defenders

The double scissor move is useful for attackers because:

  • Changes direction rapidly: The ball pings from side to side quickly with each crossed touch.
  • Creates hesitation: Defenders struggle to react to the lateral shifts.
  • Works in tight spaces: Doesn’t require room like other moves.
  • Develops hip flexor strength: Crossing legs repeatedly builds muscle.
  • Beats passive defenders: Draws them off balance before accelerating past.
  • Maintains control: Frequent small touches keep the ball close.

Executed precisely, the double scissor forces defenders to constantly adjust their feet and hips, allowing you to blow by them with a sudden exit touch.

Tips for Perfecting the Double Scissor

To master this technique:

  1. Soft touches: Gently cross the ball side to side.
  1. Gradual acceleration: Start slow then increase speed.
  1. Head up: Keep eyes on defender reactions.
  1. Close control: Minimal space between feet and ball.
  1. Follow-up burst: Explode past the defender after shifts.
  1. Practice: Repetition develops coordination and effectiveness.

The double scissor is a challenging dribbling move but can be a potent weapon against passive defenders. Unlocking this skill elevates your one-on-one abilities.


The rollover is a smooth dribbling skill that maintains control while changing direction. Adding this to your repertoire helps unlock defenses.

How to Execute the Rollover Dribbling Move

The rollover involves rolling the ball from the inside of one foot to the outside of the other in a fluid motion.

To perform it:

  1. Dribble directly towards space or defender
  2. With the ball moving forward, gently roll it across your body
  3. Redirect the ball from the inside of one foot to the outside of the other
  4. Exit in the new direction without breaking stride

The key is one continuous rolling motion that transfers the ball between feet.

Why the Rollover Dribbling Skill Is Effective

Mastering the rollover gives attackers an advantage because:

  • Changes direction while maintaining control: The continuous roll keeps the ball close.
  • Adjusts angles instantly: Roll exits can be slight or more dramatic.
  • Challenges coordination: Rolling the ball between feet requires precision.
  • Sets up defenders: Small roll exits can be followed by explosive bursts.
  • Preserve momentum: Your dribbling speed stays constant through the move.

A perfectly timed rollover can swing the turn of attacking superiority in your favor.

Tips for Perfecting the Rollover Technique

To perform this move like the pros:

  1. Soft roll touch: Cushion the ball gently between feet.
  1. Head up: Keep your eyes on the field to read play.
  1. Change of pace: Slow exits followed by bursts work well.
  1. Close control: Minimal space between feet and ball.
  1. Practice both feet: Repetition builds muscle memory.
  1. Accelerate out: Hit top speed quickly after the roll.

The rollover may seem basic but is hugely valuable for maintaining control while unlocking defenses. Drill this move into your dribbling repertoire.


Developing well-rounded dribbling skills is essential for any soccer player. The techniques covered in this article offer ways to beat defenders, maintain possession, and create attacking opportunities.

With a full toolbox of dribbling tricks, you’ll have the footwork and flair to take on any opponent. Practice hard and unlock your potential on the ball. The field awaits your brilliance.

Read More: Mastering Ball Control in Soccer: The Complete Guide for Beginners


5 Effective Soccer Dribbling Techniques to Improve Ball Control (5)

Zoryiku Nelson

I’m Zoryiku Nelson, a dedicated semi-professional footballer and researcher. With a profound love for the game, I bring a unique blend of practical experience and insightful research to empower footballers on your journey to excellence.

5 Effective Soccer Dribbling Techniques to Improve Ball Control (2024)


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