February 26, 2024

How to Dominate Your Opponent With the Perfect Step Over

Mike Semenza


How To Perform The Step Over Like Pro Soccer Player

1. One of the greatest sights in soccer is watching a player who can perfectly perform a step over. The player dribbles the ball toward their opponent, then there is a blur of feet around the ball as the player pushes past the defender. Fans are left cheering in awe of what they saw!

The step over is a great move for any soccer player to have in their skill box. Luckily, the move is simple to master and has a deadly effect on the field. It is a versatile move because players can execute a step over from anywhere on the field, while dribbling the ball or from a standing start. Once you become more comfortable with the step over, you can build up your skills by adding additional moves or more step overs.

When and Why Do We Want to Use the Step Over?

The main goal of the step over is to help generate space, or to move into open space, while you are on the ball. This open space allows you to move away from a defender. The step over is going to be best used in 1 on 1 situations.

Once you create the space, you are able to follow up with another good action like

  1. passing to your teammate
  2. crossing to a teammate
  3. taking a shot on goal
  4. continue with your dribble

How to Execute the Perfect Step Over

To pull off the perfect step over at practice or in a game, you need to be able to do two things.

- Identify the space: The first thing you want to do is identify where the open space is on the field that you can exploit while you are running at the defender. The step over does not happen magically. You need to be thinking about where the other defenders are on the field, where there is open space to move into, and then which foot do you want to use for the step over.
- Using the correct foot: Once you identify the area on the field that you want to move into, you need to use the step over to make the defenders lean or commit, to the opposite part of the field. You want to use the opposite foot of the direction you want to go. For example, if you want to move into the right side of the field, you will use your left foot for the step over to fake as if you are going to the left and then explode with your right foot and push the ball to the right. The defender goes one way while you go the other.

How to Practice Perfecting the Step Over

To get started, practice the step over in a standing position. Put the ball at your feet and practice swinging one leg over the ball at a time and pushing the ball to the other side with the opposite foot. Your step over foot should pass just in front of the top of the ball. Do several rounds with one leg and when you are comfortable, switch your feet. Remember it is important to practice skills using both feet so you can be a more versatile player. Once you are ready, take the ball to the field.

You do not need any equipment other than yourself and a ball to practice this on the field. Some cones and a goal can help if you have them, but they are not necessary.

Choose any items like cones, rocks, water bottles, etc. to set up an area to identify where you want the step over to occur. Work on really leaning your body and committing to that step over and pushing the ball wide into the open space you identified. To help you maintain balance, bend your knee a bit to give you a lower center of gravity.

Raising your foot up and over the ball as quickly as possible and keeping your foot as close to the ball as possible, you will keep the defender guessing which way you will move and also protect the ball if they try and make a tackle. Also, when pushing the ball away and into the open space, do not push it too far or another opponent could win the ball back.

From here, you can add complexity to your practice by working on coming at the goal both head-on and from an angle. After the step over, practice taking a shot on goal, passing, or crossing to a target.

Watch the Pros Use the Step Over

You should spend time watching professional games and spotting when the pros use the step over so you can apply the move to your game effectively. Watch the videos below as Blayze Coach Mike analyzes how to implement the step over properly.

In this video, notice how Juan Mata of Manchester United identifies space to his right. This space is a danger zone for the other team because if Mata gets into that area, he can then serve his teammates the ball into the box. Notice how Mata identified his defender and goes straight at him. He lines the defender up, makes him think he is going to move left because Mata is a left footed player. The defender goes off balance as Mata pushes the ball to the right and moves into his identified open space.

In this next video, watch how the long ball drops to Bayern Munich’s Costa and lands him in a one-on-one situation. Also, a left footed player, Costa steps over with his left and pushes the ball to his right to move into that identified open space. He completes the step over so quickly, it is hard to see him execute the move.

Troubleshooting Issues With the Step Over

If you are struggling with this move, then slow down. Step overs are not typically done at full speed, so go slow, execute the move, and then burst forth into your space.

When practicing, if you are hitting the cones too much, or if in a game you find the defender is winning the ball often, then you are most likely performing the move too soon. You do not want to get too close to the defender as that will increase the chance of stopping you from going into your open space.

Learn More With Blaze!

The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Do you feel like you could use additional help in perfecting some of your soccer skills? Could you use direct feedback on your strengths and where to build upon your weaknesses?

At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you define your strengths and develop skill sets so you are performing at your very best in every game. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.
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Mike Semenza

Coach For L.A. Galaxy Development Team


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