Recently, I published an ebook entitled The Most Important Skill in Youth Soccer – where I explained why the ability to dribble with every step is the most important skill in youth soccer. The feedback I received was great but I felt that some readers misunderstood important points.
In this brief article, I aim to clarify some of those misunderstandings.
The ability to dribble with every step is different from the broader skill of dribbling and knowing when to dribble. Therefore, the ability to dribble with every step has nothing to do with decision-making or style of play within game situations.
The ability to dribble with every step does not mean that the broader area of dribbling is more important than other areas such as passing, vision, work rate, etc. Instead, it’s like saying that a student needs to master basic grammar before writing poetry. Once they understand grammar, grammar no longer trumps thoughtfulness, creativity, and imagination. However, if you tried to skip the grammar lessons in favor of creative writing – your teacher would remind you that grammar is more important.
The ability to dribble with every step has nothing to do with encouraging and/or discouraging creativity on the ball.
Finally, the ability to dribble with every step is a necessary skill leading to a player’s ability to control the ball with every touch – this, in turn, lays the foundation for all offensive moves. Restated, passing, 1v1 and vision are useless if the player is unable to control the ball with every step/touch (which includes the first touch of course).
A reader shared this video with me to demonstrate that vision and passing were more important than “dribbling”. Have a look at the video and then see my response underneath.
This video highlights my rather nuanced point better than I could ever articulate it with writing alone. Firstly, the reader is confusing the broader area of dribbling with the ability to dribble with every step. Secondly, if you watch the video very closely, you will notice that each player controls the ball with every step (when defenders are near) before passing. So to the earlier point; passing, 1v1, possession, and vision would be useless to these players if they were unable to control the ball with every touch.
The reason that they can control the ball with every touch is that they have mastered the ability to dribble the ball with every step. As parents and coaches, we must ensure that our children acquire the ability to dribble the ball with every step.