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Advanced Dribbling – The Avoidance Move

ADVANCED DRIBBLING – THE AVOIDANCE MOVE

CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®

In soccer, the Avoidance Move is an extremely important safety skill where a dribbler recognizes the imminent danger in a slide tackle (or similar leg sweep) that is about to be performed against him and reacts to keep from being injured.  Also known as the “jump-over” or “safety-hop,” the Avoidance Move* is either, first, an attempt to move the ball forward and then jump over the defender’s leg as it sweeps by; or, second, an acknowledgement that the defender will be successful in contacting or winning the ball and to jump over the defender’s leg as it sweeps by.  Either way, the objective of the Avoidance Move is to evade being contacted by the defender and to avoid a broken leg.

Although this is being presented as an “advanced” skill, it is only in part because of its conceptual nature.  This can be introduced to 9-year-olds with success, sometimes even at earlier ages.

In the first version of the Avoidance Move, the dribbler:

  • Sees the leg sweep of the tackle coming;
  • Has just enough time to attempt to either a.) tap the ball forward on the ground, or, b.) flick the ball over the defender’s leg – to the space behind the defender;
  • Jumps over the defender’s leg, using a “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion;
  • Successfully lands on the other side of the defender’s leg to collect the ball; and,
  • Continues to play as appropriate.

In the second version of the Avoidance Move, the dribbler:

  • Sees the leg sweep of the tackle coming;
  • Recognizes that the ball will be contacted by the defender;
  • Understands the danger involved and is willing to acknowledge that most likely the ball will be lost;
  • Jumps over the defender’s leg, using a “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion;
  • Safely lands on the other side of the defender’s leg; and,
  • Continues to play as appropriate.

Demonstration and Drill:

All players and the coach must be wearing shinguards, confirmed prior to participation.

  1. Set up a hurdle tall enough for the ball to cleanly pass under (or use a corner flagpost, coaching stick, or broom handle on top of two cones). Clearly identify to the players that the hurdle represents the top of a defender’s leg.

Direct the players to dribble up to the hurdle, push the ball under the hurdle, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over the hurdle, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.

Direct the players to dribble up to the hurdle, flick the ball over the hurdle with their toe, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over the hurdle, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.

  1. Add cones to fully block the space under the hurdle.

Direct the players to dribble up to the hurdle, flick the ball over the hurdle with their toes, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over the hurdle, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.

  1. Remove the hurdle and replace it with two cones where the hurdle uprights were. (If using cones and a coaching stick, simply remove the stick.)  Show the players that, as they dribble by, you will now swing a coaching stick from the side to the top-level of the cones, stopping where the cross-piece of the hurdle used to be, like a “swinging gate.”  Clearly identify to the players that the swinging gate now represents the top of the defender’s leg.

Direct the players to dribble up to the cones, push the ball under the swinging gate, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over the moving stick, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.

Move the swinging gate slowly at first, then, with succeeding iterations, move it a bit faster.

  1. Add more cones between the existing cones to fully block the space.

Direct the players to dribble up to the cones, flick the ball over the cones and the swinging gate using the toe, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over the cones and the swinging gate, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.

  1. Remove the cones between the existing cones. Clearly identify that the swinging gate will now by replaced by your own leg.  The top of your leg must always stay below the level of the top of the cones.

Direct the players to dribble up to the cones, push the ball past your incoming leg, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over your leg, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.  Speak to the timing and slow you leg motion to permit success.

Move your leg slowly at first, then, with succeeding iterations, move it a bit faster.

Direct the players to dribble up to the cones, flick the ball over your leg using the toe, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over your leg, retrieve the ball, and continue dribbling.

Move your leg slowly at first, then, with succeeding iterations, move it a bit faster.

  1. Tell the players that you will now be intentionally blocking the ball with your leg. Clearly identify to the players that this represents a successful tackle on the part of the defender, that they are conceding loss of the ball, and that they are saving themselves from being tripped or injured.

Direct the players to dribble up to the cones, push the ball into your incoming leg, use the “pedaling-a-bicycle”-type motion to jump over your leg.

_________

*First named by John Harves, April 9, 2018

 

Soccer Coaching Tips

  • – The Avoidance Move is also used to jump over sliding goalkeepers when they come out to make a save at the feet of the attacker.
  • – It is critical that players understand that you value your leg! It must be made extremely clear that they are to never land on your leg.  It should be further made clear that they are to avoid hurting any real defender by stepping on their leg.
  • – If you are uncomfortable with the prospect of using your own leg, sheath the coaching stick with a swimming-pool-toy “noodle” (the type with a cut-out central core).

 

Any undefined soccer words, terms, or phrases may be found in The ULTIMATE SOCCER DICTIONARY of American Terms available at Amazon.com.

 

© Copyright 2018

John C. Harves

CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®

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