Should coaches tell young players not to dribble?

An interesting debate started on Twitter recently when @tashapearson17 tweeted “Refd a u10 game this morning, where the coach discouraged any dribbling.completely wrong for the kids to hear at that age.”

My thoughts are that at under 10 level, the players should be encouraged to express themselves and develop all skills, not be moulded into playing just one way.

What are your thoughts on this?

Please get involved in the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments.





4 Replies to “Should coaches tell young players not to dribble?”

  1. At professional level we see play styles change due to the management and coaching staff, this sometimes can be tiki-taka style which promotes possessive play and quick one/two touch pass and movement and can generally discourage dribbling – although it is still there.

    At a young level though many coaches have different views and styles. I agree with the creativity and encourage being creative as this will develop the individual in all 4 corners. It’s all about development at that age so you could have dribbling practices in training to improve ball management and control ( as more touches increases player ) but that doesn’t mean they follow it up in games.

    Personally I would mix up a possessive style with dribbling for better play and development however confidence may have been at a low.

    We don’t know what the coach was trying to do style wise but not dribbling could be both good and bad.

    1. Hi Joe,

      I think the difference is though that in the professional game players have already gone through the golden years of development, and now they are asked to hone their skills towards a particular tactical plan.

      If those under 10 players have been coached for years never to dribble, then that is a skill they will not learn. It is probably less of a problem for a centre-back, but what if a winger or forward in later life is asked to beat a man? The player has not been given the opportunity to develop that skill, and therefore will not fit in with teams that play that way.

      It goes back to the fundamental question that I think every coach has to ask themselves, and that is am I trying to develop players for the long term, or am I more interested in developing a team to win games?

      If it is for the former, then I believe that all players should have the chance to develop all skills, and if it is the latter then I can understand a coach choosing to restrict opportunities to learn higher risk skills such as dribbling.

      Personally, I want to help my players get better for the long term. Its great to win along the way of course, but I feel that my primary motivation is to help players improve their game. I think other coaches want results and a team today.

      What do you think?

  2. I coach U6/7/8/9s

    I encourage as many touches of the ball.
    Skills sessions age appropriate let them run with the ball take players on in 1v1. This creates confidence on the ball encourage them even if they loose the ball.
    The statement don’t let them dribble is rubbish.
    My opinion.

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