Go on!! Take him on!!!!!! There's nothing better than a little one on one soccer to add to your highlight tape no matter if you're attacking or defending. As much as the game of soccer is a team game every player no matter the position needs to have a little flare in their game and be able to dominate their opponent one on one. These one on one situations are everywhere in the beautiful game and being able to deal with them on both sides of the ball is an important part of any top players game.
Whether it's tips, advice or drills that you need to increase your game one on one then you'll find all the unique information you've been looking for below. Techniques to try, things to avoid and players to model your game after in search of raising your game just a few notches above where it already was to see if you can do it like the pro's.
The real question is who is the best one on one soccer dribbler in the world? (not including you of course). Messi? Neymar? What about Mbappe? Don't sleep on Mahrez now with his fake shot dangles and left foot wizardry up and down those flanks in Manchester. Whichever is your favourite you would be smart to study them and learn how they've come so elite at taking players on. Is it speed or skill or a bit of both? Really analyze one of them next time you watch a game and try and pin point what it is that makes them a world class dribbler then see if you can parts of it to your game.
1. Speed Kills - No matter the new move you created or saw on tv the best move always has been and always will be sheer speed. Whether you're just kicking the ball by the defender or doing some sort of simple move you must execute it at a high speed or the defender will eat it up like nothing. Look around at some of the best dribblers and one on one soccer players of this generation, what do they all have in common when it comes to taking players on? You guessed it they can all dribble at high speeds with the ball whether it's in a straight line or weaving side to side, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Sterling, Mahrez and the list goes on and on and on.
2. Master One Move Left & One Move Right - I know we all want to have ten moves in our arsenal to be able to use at any moment but what you should really concentrate on is mastering just two moves, one to your left and to your right. This way no matter the situation you can always use a move at speed going to your left or right no matter what the defender is showing you. Instead of having 5 or 6 moves that you are just average at try and get two moves down to the point where it is complete second nature when you do them. One move left and one move right and only work on those and you will be surprised on the amount of success that brings you.
3. Less Is More - When it comes to taking players on less tricks and flicks the better and the more you will get out of the situation. It's all about the speed at which you execute the move not the smoke screen you try and foot the defender with. One cut, roll or step over should do the trick and at most combining two of them but don't get carried away with all the fancy stuff, not only is it not the game but it isn't effective in what you're trying to accomplish.
4. Set Up The Shot - Executing a one on one soccer dribble or move has little value if it just ends up with you losing the ball or playing it backwards to your teammates. A great move has an outcome and that outcome should be to set up a shot to try and score, I'd rather do one step over that beats my defender and ends up with a shot on net rather than ten step overs that leaves me by the corner flag asking for help. You know your own strengths best so if your shot is a bit better to the right or close to your body to the left side then practice moves that set up your best shot possible, after all we do moves and dribbles to score goals.
5. It's Not The Circus - If you think one on one soccer is about stalling it on your neck or back heels to nobody then sign up for the circus not a football team. Fast, simple and purposeful dribbles is what it's all about, even Ronaldo a player who is known for a little bit of flash and circus in his game has matured into a really direct and simple dribbler of the ball which has turned him into a much more effective player then ever before.
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1. Low Athletic Stance - If you stand up straight with your legs close to each other you're not in a good position to react and sprint and your balance is off and you're just one breeze away from falling flat on your face. You want your knees to be bent while you're up on your toes ready to react to any situation. Maybe the ball pops out, maybe he kicks the ball by you or tries to meg you, either way you are in a low athletic stance to deal with any situation the attacker might force upon you.
2. Move Those Feet - Even if you and the attacker are at a stand still you still want to be moving your feet up and down to be ready for the next action. The time it takes for your feet to go from flat footed to on your toes can be the difference between stopping the attacker and getting burned down the line. Always have active feet by standing on the balls of your feet while tapping them up and down ready to pounce and anticipate the next movement of the attacker.
3. Push To Weak Side, Teammate or Side Line - Have the soccer IQ to be able to recognize what type of body position you want to confront the attacker with. Do you have a defender behind you helping, are you close to the sideline or can you push the attacker onto their weaker foot? These are all the things you should be considering when angling your body during any one on one soccer duel. If you can get all three great but try not to give the attacker space to execute their dribble.
4. Get Your Hand On Them - To slow the attacker down see if you can get within the distance where you can put your hand on their side, hip or chest to stop them from building any momentum. Not only will you be able to track the ball better but also their body because feeling where they are will help you adjust to their movements. Also when you're in their dribbling space they have less room to operate and putting in a tackle without compromising your defensive position is a huge plus if you can close to them.
5. Front Foot Tackles - If you can't challenge the ball with your front foot then it's probably not the right time to put in a tackle. Front foot tackles allow you to win the ball forward and not compromise the space in behind you or your defensive stance if you happen to miss. Think of it as a boxer stepping in and out with a jab instead of trying to go for the knockout punch and compromising their position to get knocked out themselves. Get low, track the ball, close the space and put in a front foot tackle to poke the ball out while keeping a strong defensive position.
1. Standing Still - You want to use the advantage of moving forward and them having to keep up with your while running backwards and standing still takes that advantage away. If you want to change your speed with a quick hesitation or slowing down to get them flat footed then great but don't come a complete stop then try and go again. You already know that speed is your best asset when trying to dribble past a player so don't chop your own legs down by coming to a complete stand still.
2. Not Reading The Situation - There is a time and place to do everything in soccer and one on one soccer moves are no different. If you see a defender with cover behind them then dribbling may not be the right option, always look to play what the game gives you whether it is a pass or dribble and don't force things that aren't there. You don't want to become that player on your team that nobody wants to pass to because all you do is dribble into trouble every time.
3. Overdoing It - Just try and beat the player with one move and deliver your shot or cross, don't try and do all the circus non sense that will get you nowhere. The more moves you try without going by your defender the more chance you have of losing the ball.
1. Standing Flat - You always want to be standing sideways, party so you don't get the ball put between your legs but also you are in great running position in case you need to run backwards or forwards to hunt down your man.
2. Too Far or Too Close - You want to make sure you have about a two yard cushion from the ball on the attackers foot and your front foot that is defending them. Too close and they can blow by you with no chance of you catching up to them and too far will allow them to gain speed and also allow them all the time in the world to make a decision with a pass or shot.
3. Jumping In With Your Back Foot - Great defenders put tackles in with their front foot not to lose defensive position and back foot tackles will just throw you off balance and maybe booked too!
Like anything the best way is through repetition, but not just mindless unopposed repetition but by going up against the best defenders on your team. Before practice if you're practicing on your 1v1 attacking get the best defender on your team, make a 10x12 yard grid and try and dribble past them to the end line of the grid. If you're working on your one on one soccer defending then use the same grid but this time get the best attacker or dribbler on your team to dribble at you and try and stop them from getting to the end line of the grid.
This simple exercise will give you lots of specific reps in one on one soccer no matter which side of the ball you are trying to improve. Once you get comfortable against the best on your team you will start to feel more and more confidence to do it in a game against the opponents best players. Remember to keep it simple and stick to the fundamentals of attacking or defending listed above.