As an offensive player in soccer, being decisive is EVERYTHING. One of the most frequent decisions you will come across during a game is whether to dribble or pass the ball.
Knowing when to do each can greatly affect the outcome of the game.
Dribbling can be a powerful tool to move the ball forward and create scoring opportunities, but it can also lead to turnovers and lost possession.
On the other hand, passing can help maintain possession and create opportunities for teammates, but it can also be intercepted by the opposing team.
Ultimately, the key to successful dribbling and passing is to have good situational awareness and decision-making skills. By understanding when to dribble and when to pass, you can help your team maintain possession, create scoring opportunities, and ultimately win the game.
In this article, we’ll explain when the right time is to dribble and pass as well as some factors to consider.
The Importance of Decision Making in Soccer
One of the most critical factors in decision making is reading the field.
You need to be aware of your surroundings, including the positions of your teammates and opponents. By doing so, you can determine the best course of action, whether it is to dribble or pass the ball.
Another important aspect of decision making is timing.
If you hold onto the ball for too long, the opposing team can close in on you, making it difficult to pass or dribble. On the other hand, if you pass the ball too soon, your teammate may not be in the best position to receive it.
It is also crucial to consider the skill level of your teammates.
If you have a teammate who is an excellent dribbler, it may be best to pass the ball to them and let them take control. Similarly, if you have a teammate who is an excellent passer, you may want to give them the ball and let them distribute it to other players or back to yourself.
Being decisive on the soccer field is what separates good from great soccer players. Making a decision is the first step. The second step is acting on your decision right away.
When to Pass in Soccer
Passing the ball effectively can help you maintain possession, create scoring opportunities, and keep your opponents on their toes.
Here are some guidelines for when to pass the ball in different areas of the field.
Passing in the Defensive Third
In your own defensive third, it’s important to prioritize safety over anything else.
If you’re under pressure from an opponent, passing the ball to a teammate can help relieve that pressure and give you more time to make a play.
Look for teammates who are open and in a good position to receive the ball.
Avoid making risky passes that could lead to a turnover or a dangerous counterattack.
Passing in the Midfield
In the midfield, passing becomes more about creating opportunities and moving the ball up the field.
Look for teammates who are making runs or who have space to work with.
Try to pass the ball quickly and accurately to keep the defense guessing.
If you’re under pressure, consider passing the ball back to a defender or to your goalkeeper to reset the play.
Passing in the Attacking Third
In the attacking third, passing becomes even more important as you look to create scoring opportunities.
Look for teammates who are making runs into the box or who are in a good position to take a shot.
Be patient and don’t force passes that aren’t there. If you can’t find a good passing option, consider taking a shot yourself or dribbling the ball to create space.
Now, let’s take a look at when to dribble the soccer ball.
When to Dribble in Soccer
Dribbling can be a great way to advance the ball and create scoring opportunities, but it can also be risky and lead to turnovers.
Here are some helpful guidelines for when to dribble in different areas of the field.
Dribbling in the Defensive Third
When you’re in your own defensive third, dribbling should be used sparingly and only when necessary.
The goal is to move the ball up the field as quickly and safely as possible, so passing is usually the better option.
If you do need to dribble, make sure you have plenty of space and that there are no opposing players nearby.
If you lose the ball in your own defensive third, it can lead to a dangerous scoring opportunity for the other team. In this situation, you’ll need to make a clean tackle to get the ball back.
Dribbling in the Midfield
In the midfield, there’s more room to dribble and be creative with the ball.
If you have good dribbling skills and can beat defenders one-on-one, dribbling can be a great way to create scoring opportunities.
However, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and not get too greedy with the ball.
If you’re surrounded by defenders or if a teammate is in a better position, it’s usually better to pass the ball.
Dribbling in the Attacking Third
When you’re in the attacking third of the field, dribbling can be a powerful weapon.
If you can beat defenders and get into the box, you can create scoring opportunities for yourself or your teammates.
However, it’s important to be patient and not force the issue. If you’re not making progress with the ball, look for a teammate to pass to or try a different approach.
Factors to Consider for Passing vs. Dribbling
When deciding whether to dribble or pass in soccer, there are several factors to consider. These include the number of defenders, space and time, position on the field, and player skills and abilities.
Number of Defenders
The number of defenders in front of you is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to dribble or pass.
If there are several defenders in front of you, it may be more difficult to dribble past them, and a pass may be a better option.
However, if there are only one or two defenders, you may be able to successfully dribble past them and create a scoring opportunity.
Space and Time
The amount of space and time you have is another important factor to consider.
If there is a lot of space and time, you may be able to successfully dribble past defenders.
However, if there is limited space and time, a pass may be a better option to quickly move the ball and create scoring opportunities.
Position on the Field
Your position on the field is also an important factor to consider.
If you are closer to the opponent’s goal, dribbling may be a better option to create a scoring opportunity.
However, if you are closer to your own goal, a pass may be a better option to maintain possession and move the ball up the field.
Player Skills and Abilities
Finally, your own skills and abilities as a player should be considered when deciding whether to dribble or pass.
If you are a skilled dribbler, you may be able to successfully dribble past defenders.
However, if your passing skills are stronger, a pass may be a better option to maintain possession and create scoring opportunities.
Knowing when to dribble or pass is an essential skill for any soccer player.
The decision requires a combination of situational awareness, technical ability, and confidence.
By seeing the entire field and anticipating the defender’s moves, you can make the best decision possible in that moment.
We’ve outlined some factors to consider. Use these as a guide but the more you play, the better you will get with your decisiveness. It will become second nature to your game.
By mastering the art of dribbling and passing, you become a better all-around player!