1v1 football dribbling drill – Have fun beating your friends

by Pablo M16th Dec 2021

Drill created with Tactics Manager

All players in your team have to be able to dribble and defend. Many of us learned these skills playing with a friend in our backyard, the street or a hallway.  This football dribbling drill brings you and your teammates back to those days.


The instructions in this post are for a minimum of 6 players, but you can practice this drill with only 2 players, so it is ideal for training sessions with low attendance. If you have good attendance, split the players into pairs (1 versus 1). If possible, matchup defensive with offensive players. If you have odd numbers, the last player to arrive at practice will be out.

You don’t need an actual football pitch but enough space for the players and goals. In addition, you will need 1 ball per pair, 2 small goals per pair of players, and enough cones to mark swim lanes (see picture above). If you can’t get hold of small goals, use cones. 


This drill is a simple 1v1 football game, so the standard football rules apply. However, to increase the intensity and make it fun, these rules also apply:

  • Sliding tackles are not allowed
  • When the ball is out or a goal is scored, the player restarting the game must do it from their goal regardless of where the ball went out.   
  • Each matchup lasts 5 minutes.
  • When the time is over, one of the players moves to the next zone to match up with a different player. For example, in the picture above, the red players move to the next zone to their right. The player on the last zone on the right moves to the first zone on the left.
  • The drill finishes when every possible matchup has been completed. For example, in our picture, the drill finishes when the player who started on the leftmost zone ends the matchup on the rightmost zone.
  • Each win is worth 2 points.
  • Each draw is worth 1 point.
  • The player that scores the most goals earns 1 extra point.
  • The player with fewer goals against earns 1 extra point.
  • The player with more points wins.


The best players in the world learned the game by playing pickup games in the streets or fields of their neighbourhood. Often just getting a friend and kicking the ball around. It was all about having fun while competing against mates. This football dribbling drill brings back that spirit and, in the process, improves:

  • Dribbling skills
  • Defensive skills in 1v1 situations
  • Shooting accuracy. Because the game is played with small goals, it encourages a clinical finish.
  • Patience when defending. Not allowing sliding tackles forces defenders to be patient. Defenders practice how to recover the ball, avoiding reckless defending.
  • Fitness. This game is physically demanding because there is a time limit, and players compete not just with their matchup but against players in other zones.
  • Ball control with both feet. Players that can play with both feet are more likely to win this game.

I hope you find this drill helpful. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. Also, if you know about other exercises or have questions, comment on our Facebook page.