Updated: Jul 16
A quickly taken goal kick; a flick on header by Kidd in the centre circle and the ball is now under control. Surprisingly there is no challenge by the two closest defenders. Turn and face forwards. The defenders split, turn and retreat, running towards their goal. Fear of pace in defenders is magic for attackers.
Composure now: quick glance to the right, weigh up options, team mates sprint past right and left. Decision made, get to a goal scoring position as fast and direct as possible. Push the ball forward to the right: fast, speed, full pace, toes down, touching the ball with the outside right of the laces. First defender faces up, drop a jink to the left and accelerate to the right. Now 25 yards out, next defender faces up. Keep driving diagonally, full pelt, across the box. Keep the ball tight, touch on each stride. Now past the last defender; into the box on the angle. Can see the Goalkeeper coming out to narrow the anlgle, time to strike. Select a drive across the keeper to the left corner. Connect with laces, keep the ball low, don’t stretch, be balanced.
Boom! Ball hits the net, tucked just inside the post. The held in communal breath of the crowd is released in a roar of released tension. They have witnessed something special, a genius of the football world has delivered.
In the presence of the great man (excerpt from my autobiography ’What It takes’)
"Would you rather be, in a factory" sang Jimmy Ryan the reserve team manager. This was his regular line during training. Jim was truly still a kid at heart and loved being part of football. Another Scotsman, Jim had an amazing background in football. At his first training session with us, he concentrated on ball skills and showed immediately that he knew what he was talking about, demonstrating techniques and skills with ease. Jim joined Manchester United as an apprentice alongside the legendary George Best. The two of them developed together at United culminating with Jim sitting on the bench at the European Cup win in 1966 whilst Best starred. I found his stories of Manchester United days enthralling. They were first hand stories about people: who I had only read about, the club with which I had been a fanatical supporter and finally stories about the great Matt Busby, the legendary manager of Man Utd. Jim would tell us about how shy Best was as a 16 year old, He told us of how dedicated he and Best were, continually staying behind to practice shooting and crossing and scoring direct from corners. He told us of how Busby was seen as a larger than life figure at Man utd and how scared they were to approach the man.
After one particular Luton v Man Utd game, I was standing in the players lounge with Jim, when a sudden hush became noticeable in the crowded room. George Best had entered and just for that split second, everyone stopped talking. I was delighted when he came over and started talking to Jim. It was great to be in the presence of such a legend.
A Skill that dazzles
Dribbling at speed is one of the most exciting actions in a game to do as a player and also, to see from a fans perspective. It’s coached out of a lot of players, with the major emphasis being on two touch and moving the ball quickly. Remove a Messi, Hazard, Salah, Mahrez, Ronaldo, Best, from a team and you’ve lost that special key in the lock, that magic that will create a goal and excite the crowd.
Like all things, balance in a team is important. What do I mean by that? Well simply that you need players who can move the ball quickly and you need those special players who can unlock a defense by drawing defenders in via dribbling, which opens gaps of space elsewhere to exploit. There are good times to dribble at people and not good times. Choosing that right time is key. Oh and by the way, you need to get it right more times than not, or you’ll have everyone shouting “pass it”, so make sure you practice hard to be brilliant.
The use of video with a Coach review is fantastic in honing skill and performance.
In our One2Pro online coaching app, dribbling and control techniques of the stars are broken down step by step for our players to follow and practice. Download to view all skills for just $9.99 (Aus) or subscribe and work with your One2Pro Coach on all 92 skills. FREE TRIAL now available.
Be The One!