How to Beat a Defender 1-on-1

There are plenty of soccer players who understand formations and what they are supposed to do on the field, but beating defenders is one of the main reasons why they don’t feel like complete players. This is especially true for strikers, wingers, and attacking midfielders.

Fortunately for anyone who deals with this issue, there are simple steps that you can take to beat defenders 1-on-1. You might not be able to master dribbling right away, but slowly you will add to your confidence and your abilities so you won’t shy away from even trying.

Below are some simple tips for beating defenders 1-on-1.

Reading the Defender

Before we go into some simple moves that you can make on defenders, you should first take some time to think about how defenders react to you. Every defender will have different instincts, so you will want to know the most common movements so you can make the right moves against them.

When facing an aggressive defender, their weakness is that they usually have predictable movements. for example, if you are 10 yards outside of an aggressive central defender’s box, then he/she will often come out to meet you rather than allowing you to move towards them. In those cases, a quick fake can sometimes be enough to get by them if they are the only defender in front of you.

Passive defenders – those who wait for you to come to them – are a bit trickier to beat since they are willing to let you come forward. Of you notice that you are facing that type of defender, then you can often push the ball forward quickly and wait for them to commit to you before making your move.

Basic Moves

Once you have a good feel for how your defender reacts in different situations, then you will be able to attempt some moves against them. Again, don’t expect to be able to use these moves right away since even the basic moves take a while to master.



The stop-and-go move is one of the easiest moves to do, yet it is one of the most effective since it is a great way to freeze the defender. There are many ways to perform the stop-and-go move, but you will usually use it when the defender is next to you. All you have to do is slow down your run to make the defender so down, then quickly push the ball forward to get a step on them. It’s also a good idea to throw the defender off with your eyes by making them think you are done dribbling and are soon going to pass the ball.

Step Over

step over move

This is a great move to use against aggressive defenders, but it can also work well against passive defenders when you get close enough to them. To perform the step over move, you will want to move one foot around the ball in a running motion, then you will quickly push the ball in the opposite direction with your other foot. This will often get the defender to lean one way as you run past them the other way.



The feint is very similar to the step over in that you are faking one direction while pushing the ball in the other. The one main difference is that it is a move that you do all in one motion. The key to the feint move is to drop your shoulder quickly to make the defender react, and then quickly run the other direction. For example, if you drop your right shoulder to fake going right, you would then quickly burst left to leave the defender in your dust.

It's a good idea to work on your finishing to get the most out of these moves, but just being able to beat a defender will open up a lot of scoring opportunities for your team.