Sometimes being the best dribbler just isn’t enough. Skillful opponents will strip the ball away from an advancing attacker like hungry piranhas, so you’ve got to stay ahead of the curve. These moves will help you do just that.
The first place to start is with speed dribbling. Before you learn to do anything else, focus on running with the ball. It’s one of the basics, but also one of the most important parts of the game. Lose the ball while dribbling and you won’t be able to do anything else.
The next step is to learn a few tricks to complement your dribbling skills. Start with a simple move, such as the cut, which you use to fake out your defender while you redirect the ball to maintain control.
In no time you’ll be all over fancy and effective moves like the shielding spin, which you can use to keep your back toward your defender to stay out of harm’s way.
You’ll also want to learn how to head the ball properly, both to help you control the ball and to avoid injury. You’ll also learn the difference between heading for offense and heading for defense. Start with the basic header. Then graduate to the stooped header, which requires you to bend down to meet the ball with your forehead.
The stop-and-go buys you a second to think before continuing to dribble the ball, while the spin move lets you pause while keeping your back to your defender. The Cruyff move is especially cool—it lets you change the direction of the ball with one leg by directing the ball behind the other.