5 Soccer Turns You Should Try

An excellent dribbler is a critical asset to their soccer team. Advanced dribbling skills can help you blow past defenders to create passing or shooting opportunities. Here, we’ve outlined several of the best soccer turns, their advantages, and the steps to performing them correctly. 

What Is a Soccer Turn?

Players with dribbling control and speed will want to start doing turns. Turns allow players three significant advantages:

  • Moving around a defender blocking your path
  • Changing direction when dribbling close to an out-of-bounds line
  • Getting the ball away from the opponent’s goal

Key Elements of Dribbling Turns

Several elements are common among all soccer turns. The following are a few things to remember when practicing and performing turns.

  • Always use the turn to move away from the defender, not into them.
  • Use your outside foot (the one farthest from the defender) to perform the turn, keeping your body between the ball and the defender.
  • After the turn, accelerate into open space with a firm getaway touch. Bending your knees as you make the turn can put you in a position to accelerate faster.

The Top Dribbling Turns in Soccer

Several dribbling turns are popular among amateurs and professionals. We’ve outlined five essential soccer turns to learn as you start advancing your dribbling skills.

V Turn

A V turn is also known as a V push. There are several varieties of this turn, so you can get as creative as you desire. Simply put, a V pull involves pulling the ball back, then pushing it in a different direction. 

A V pull is most effective when trying to evade a defender in your path. The goal is to create space and change direction, swiftly moving past them. V pulls work whether you’re standing still or already in motion. They can be performed with the outside of the foot, the inside of the foot, or with both feet. 

The most common V pull is with the outside of the foot, and here’s how to perform it:

  1. Pull the ball straight back with your right foot.
  2. Hop a short distance back with your left foot. At the same time, turn your body 90 degrees to the right. Land on the left foot facing right. 
  3. Firmly push the ball away from the defender, in the direction you’re facing, with the outside of the right foot. 

Practice this maneuver using your right foot to pull the ball back and your left foot. Mastering a V pull with both feet provides more opportunities to fool defenders. 

L Turn 

The L turn is a move that fools defenders and looks impressive too. It’s another skill that can be done from a standing position or while moving forward with the ball.

  1. Place the sole of your foot on top of the ball.
  2. Roll the ball back and behind the other leg, and follow it with the same foot. 
  3. Release the ball and pass it behind the stationary leg with the inside of the foot. 

The L turn seems like a simple maneuver, but the trickiest part is to master the touch when changing direction. You don’t want to pass the ball behind the stationary leg too firmly or too softly. The goal is to maintain control of the ball at all times. 

Hook Turn (AKA Cruyff Turn) 

The Cruyff turn, or hook turn, is an ideal move for escaping a defender. Dutch soccer star Johan Cruyff created this maneuver in the early 1970s. It remains one of the most popular and effective soccer turns today. Strikers and midfielders may use this move to fake a shot on goal and change direction. 

Here’s how to perform the classic Cruyff turn:

  1. Place your plant foot slightly forward, between yourself and the defender. Your body will work as a shield.
  2. Use the inside of the opposite foot to move the ball in another direction (backward or sideways), behind the planted foot. This should be a firm tap but not a kick, as you don’t want to lose control of the ball.
  3. Quickly change your pace to throw off your defender.

Here’s a video of Cruyff performing his signature move in 1974.

The Stepover Turn

The stepover turn is another popular move that looks cool and performs well. Like the Cruyff turn, the stepover turn originated in the 1970s and remains a popular maneuver today. Famed Brazillian soccer player Rivellino is credited for making this maneuver a classic.

How to perform the stepover turn:

  1. Approach the ball as though you’re going to pass it to another player with the inside of your foot.
  2. Do not make contact with the ball. Instead, move your passing foot around the ball. Use the outside of the same foot to move the ball in the opposite direction, maintaining control the entire time.  

The stepover turn is as it sounds; stepping over the ball to fake out the defender. The key to mastering this skill is touching the ball in the opposite direction with the right amount of force. You don’t want to kick the ball too hard and lose control. 

Maradona Turn

Many of the sport’s most popular maneuvers were created or mastered by soccer legends. The Maradona turn is one of them. This maneuver was named after Diego Maradona. Teammates, opponents, and fans joked that Maradona had the soccer ball tied to his ankle because he kept it in control so well. 

The Maradona turn allows you to blow past defenders when moving toward them at an angle. You will shield the ball from the defense with your body, then elegantly spin over the ball in a different direction. 

Here’s how to perform a Maradona turn like Argentinean star Diego Maradona:

  1. Start by dribbling the ball forward. This is an in-motion maneuver.
  2. Put your right foot on top of the ball and drag the ball toward you. You will nearly stop the ball, but not quite. 
  3. While slowing the ball, spin counterclockwise over the ball. Keep your arm elevated to hold off the defender.
  4. Land with your right foot between the ball and your defender. Use your left foot to pull the ball back in the direction you want to go. 
  5. Burst into open space with the ball. 

The Maradona turn is ideal for overcoming an oncoming defender in a tight space. Practice it with both feet, so you’re comfortable escaping defenders from all sides. 

The movements in a Maradona turn are tight and must be concise, so don’t be discouraged if your first turns don’t resemble those performed by the all-star. 

In Conclusion: Soccer Turns

The purpose of mastering turns in soccer is to change direction and beat a defender. Some turns, like the classic V turn and L turn, are relatively simple for young soccer players to master. However, the Cruyff and stepover turns are considered medium to difficult maneuvers and take consistent practice to master. 

The Maradona turn is another maneuver that requires dedication. However, it can lead you and your team to success once you learn how to spin smoothly, maintain control, and explode into open space on the field.

Advancing your dribbling and turning skills is essential to becoming an all-around excellent soccer player. Start practicing now to wow your teammates and coaches in the upcoming season.

If you are just getting started with soccer, you’ll need to first practice basic dribbling skills and ball mastery.