1 vs. 1 Dribbling - U8 Practice Plan

Practice Date: Friday, March 8th, 2019

A U8 practice session that focuses on using 1 vs. 1 dribbling. The practice outline is:

  • 2 vs. 2 Play (10 Minutes)
  • Go at Them! (10 Minutes)
  • Get in the Zone! (10 Minutes)
  • 4 vs. 4 Dribble to Score (10 Minutes)
  • 4 vs. 4 Scrimmage (15 Minutes)

End of practice questions:

Bring your players in for the last five minutes of practice and recap your session using open-ended questions:

  • Why is deception important in 1v1 situations? (It gets the defender off balance, so we will have more success getting around them)
  • What should you do with your speed after beating someone 1v1? (increase it)
  • Where should your first touch be after beating someone 1v1? (behind them, so it makes it more difficult for them to tackle you)
  • Why is it important to find space even when you don’t have the ball? (so when you do get the ball, you’ll have more time and space to do something with it!)


2 vs. 2 Play

Soccer Activity - 2v2 Play


  • Make two (or more) fields at 20x10 yards.
  • Place 2 yd goals on each endline.
  • Players play 2v2 on field.
  • If goal go out at sideline, throw-in or kick-in to get ball back in play (coach choice).

Coaching Points:

  • None. Let the players play and make mistakes. Only intervene if it is taking too long to get ball back in play.

Go At Them!

Go At Them 1 vs. 1 Soccer Activity


  • Make a 10x16yd field, with a 2yd endzone on each end.
  • Teams are in two lines on each field
  • Balls start with the defending team, who passes to the first attacking player and play 1v1.
  • Goal is scored by dribbling into the endzone on the side you’re attacking
  • If the attacker gets into trouble, and has their back to the defender, they can pass back to the next person in their line. The defender stays and it’s 1v1 again with the new attacker.
  • After a goal is scored, or the ball goes out of bounds, a new ball is played in and players return to their own lines.
  • Play for 2 minutes, and then switch lines. Keep score.

Coaching Points:

  • Use body to “sell” a dribbling move to get defender off-balance
  • Increase speed after performing dribbling move around defender
  • First touch after getting around defender should be in front of them, to delay their lane of chase and make it harder for the defender to tackle you
  • Be creative!


Get in the Zone!

Get in the Zone! Soccer Dribbling Activity


  • Expand your field to a 15x20yd field, and add restraining lines 5 yards from each goal. Each endline has two goals.
  • Split team into two lines, one is defending and one is attacking.
  • Ball starts at attacking line. Once an attacker dribbles in, a defender from the opposite side comes to defend.
  • Players must dribble past restraining line before they can shoot on either of the goals on the endline they are attacking.
  • After a goal is scored, or the ball goes out of bounds, next two players play. Players return to their own lines and keep score.
  • Play for 2 minutes, and then switch sides.
  • This can be set up for 1v1, 2v2 or even 3v3!

Coaching Points:

  • Encourage attacking the defender with pace and creativity!
  • The attacker should not turn their back to the defender. Doing so ruins any momentum they have.
  • Ask attackers to dribble at the defender’s front foot. If the defender angles their body to the left, you should attempt to dribble to the right to get them off balance.


4 vs. 4 Dribble to Score

4 vs. 4 Dribbling to Score Soccer Activity


  • Make a 30x40yd field, with a halfway line. Play 4v4.
  • In order to score a goal on opposing side, team must dribble across the halfway line. They cannot pass across the halfway line to a teammate.
  • Once across halfway line, you can score normal.
  • If possession is lost in the attacking half of the field, and regained again before opposing team can dribble out of their half, there are no restrictions to score.
  • If a team passes across halfway line to attack, an indirect freekick is awarded to the other team.

Coaching Points:

  • Encourage players off the ball to move into space, so when the get the ball they have more room to dribble.
  • Attack 1v1 situations at speed.
  • Creativity!
  • Encourage players to consistently be looking for opportunities to dribble into space, or attack 1v1 situations to get into the attacking half of the field.


4 vs. 4 Scrimmage

4v4 Soccer Scrimmage


  • Play 4v4. If your numbers are short, decrease size of field to 25x15 and play 3v3.
  • Cones for goals are 2yds wide (same as for a game).
  • There are no goalkeepers.

Coaching Points:

  • None! Just sit back and let them play! Use this as an opportunity to talk about the rules of the game for your league. If a goal is scored, bring ball back to center of field and show the players where they should stand to restart.