Home Sport news The dribbler, a profession in danger of extinction

The dribbler, a profession in danger of extinction

by archysport

“Soccer is the game of deception, you threaten to leave here and go there, and the opponent goes to the other side,” he said. Diego Armando Maradona on one occasion. What would soccer be without the liars, without the trileros. Because apart from the spectacular nature of a goal for the squad, a head jump or a precise center, the emotion and ephemeral beauty reside in the overflows, in the pipes, in the impossible plays in which you have to see ten times repetition to really know what the magician has done. Our imagination is full of these artists: from Diego, Garrincha The Meroni, until Ronaldo, Neymar The Messi; characters to

sometimes slovenly, sometimes correct, with exorbitant wit. However, in a football more mercantile and uniform than ever as it is today, the flourishing of these players is a really complicated undertaking.

Obviously, the major European leagues are a reflection of that. Statistics show that less dribbling is done each season. Thus, last season in the League 11,616 dribbles were attempted (according to ‘Football Reference’), a far cry from the 13,739 in 2019. And now, without Messi, the numbers tend to decline. In Italy and England the drift is similar, and only teams like Atalanta or Manchester City, among a few others, draw on this old trade to be differentials. Given this shortage, it is not surprising that footballers of this lineage such as Vinicius, Saint-Maximin The Jack Grealish have legions of fans, because they break the stability of the game, by means of one-on-one they constantly generate advantages for their teams and lift the staff off the couch.

As a general rule, we speak of an atypical, anarchic, intermittent and decisive player. So it was Onesimus, current coach of the Celta affiliate and former player of Valladolid, Barcelona or Rayo Vallecano among other LaLiga clubs. “I was able to ask for the change in minute ten and in minute fifteen to put the stadium on its feet because of the move I had made or the goal I had scored. We were different people who had to live with these extremes, pun intended; in the same games I was able to raise the public to an ovation or to ask that they change me now, “says the Valladolid man to this newspaper. Extreme like those of yesteryear, glued to the natural limb line, for more than a decade it silenced most of the First Division stadiums with its presence. You never went unnoticed. I will never forget the silences of the rival stadiums when I caught the ball; that murmur, that runrún enchanted me, it made me a better footballer ”, says an attacker who, due to his dribbling condition, continues in the memory of the fans.

Maradona during a Naples-Real Madrid – EP

Like Onesimo, who in his childhood developed his innate ability to dribble in the streets of Valladolid, Yuri, a Ponferradina legend and practically the best dribbler in the Second Division, also owes his condition to soccer on public roads. «With my cousin and my brother I was always playing in the street and obviously there we learned to dribble. I also learned a lot in the indoor football, because the short and fast dribbles are what make the difference. Then in football eleven, with more spaces, I was able to develop them “, says the Brazilian. The street, playing without tactical ties with friends, small spaces… these are aspects that link learning, creativity, and fun. But with street football in the process of disappearing and with the lower categories subscribed to results, is this sport losing the playful component that children fell in love with?

The training jail

“Technology has made children lock themselves in their rooms and not have that stimulus that we used to have of play in the street with all that this entails. That is to say, spaces where you not only had to haggle the adversary, but often also the street furniture in the square. This underpinned much of the creativity that could be seen on the football field. Another reason resides in the fear that we are leaving as an inheritance to our players so that they are not daring; This absurd mania of wanting football to resemble us as coaches makes us leave little space and few possibilities for the boys who have that innate ability. Let’s restrict many of those degrees of freedom that are necessary for creative players, in the future, to excite us all “, he highlights Oscar Cano, current coach of Badajoz (First RFEF), who has trained clubs such as Granada, Salamanca or Castellón.

In this sense also affects his friend Luis Bonilla, coach and trainer who went through Deportivo de La Coruña and the Italian Serie A: «If we only train obedient players then let’s not complain about a lack of creatives. And it is that most clubs, with performance objectives and immediate results from an early age (and many coaches, who put their professional promotion goals before those of player training) extrapolate the high performance model to training football, whose only objective is to win. To win, boys stop doing the most important thing for their development, which is exploring, testing and trying regardless of the immediate result. This context that is generated from not being able to fail, from not taking risks goes against learning and promoting the initiative, intuition and creativity of the player, closely related to the false intention and deception that are key to the development of dribbling. In order not to be mistaken, they do not try».

The fear of error unfounded by adults, professional training where children do physical circuits, tactically study the rival and mechanically rehearse the low pass with the inside instead of simply playing, cuts their wings. Ruben Rossi Author of ‘With football you don’t play’ (Dedalo), a former professional soccer player and considered one of the best trainers in South America, tells a personal anecdote to this newspaper when he was coordinator of an important Argentine club: «I bring a boy from the interior of the country , I choose him because he is a great dribbler. I give it to the coach of the children’s team and the first thing he says is ‘here you play one touch’. I brought a great violinist to the orchestra, you give him a trumpet and at the end of the year we kick him out because we say he’s a bad musician, Is it not our problem?».

Furthermore, this limitation of the expression of talent reaches its zenith in professionalism. As Onesimo assures: «I have had coaches who criticized me for not letting go and then, when we were losing, they took me out and told me: ‘Hey, play them all’, ‘you have to figure this out’. There was a lot of inconsistency in it.

An uncertain horizon

The rigor adjacent to the schemes and the slates, the fear of defeat and reproach, as we have seen, repress this type of attackers. On the other hand, in a football as physically and tactically equal as the current one, they become essential. “Today’s football requires much more from them than past football. Everything is equalized and one way to obtain advantages is through hand to hand, one against one. And we as coaches, far from restricting them, far from eliminating them from the equation, we have to use them as enhancers of our game identity, because they are essential, ”says Cano. Bonilla, for his part, emphasizes that the coach must be aware that his main task is to unleash the talent of the players and specifically in professional dribblers, to try to «not limit them, encourage them to be daringInvite them to take risks even if the immediate result is not optimal, having the necessary patience to adapt their ability to overflow to the team’s playing identity and helping them to grow their self-esteem since in the near future they will be the ones who will solve the problems. situations when the circumstances of the match are complex.

In fact, now, the figure of the dribbler is not limited to the extreme or the ‘ten’, but we observe how some laterals, such as Marcelo in his day, or Alphonso Davies Y Joao Cancelo at present, they join the attack to be decisive through the overflow; midfielders like Kovacic, who break lines by driving, or Modric, which generates advantages with the threat even with the back. Dribbling is more rare than ever, yes, but in modern football it can be essential in any part of the field of play, from the opposite field to in the same defensive zone.

In short, football is so great that, even with a dropper, footballers will continue to appear who will develop their innate ability to overflow. Because even for some crazy people, soccer continues to be simply a game.

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