Watch those legs now! Want to know how you can nutmeg soccer players in a game or at training? First develop that touch, second play the game as it comes to you and finally look to throw a meg when it makes sense. Nothing wrong with trying to perform a nutmeg but make sure it helps you get in a better attacking position not just because you're trying to be Neymar (unless you are Neymar).
You keep hearing this thing called a nutmeg or meg on the field during your pick up game and you just keep nodding and smiling but you're not really sure exactly what it means. Well to keep it as simple as possible a nutmeg (or meg more commonly referred to) is when a player puts the ball through your legs and either keeps possession himself or the ball finds another teammate. Pretty straight forward right? Easy to do right? Not so much. Trying to nutmeg soccer players can be so difficult that it may not happen even once in a game but when it does, it just feels so goooood.
Good questions, so glad I asked it. Well there are two theories for this and the exact origin of it is not certain but this is the best people have come up with.
Theory number 1:
During exporting of actual nutmeg (the seed or ground spice) some exporters would mix in wood replicas to make the bag look more full. If you got fooled you were the idiot and if you pulled it off and tricked the other person you were seen as sly. So if you pulled this off you were considered tricky and making the other person look foolish just like when putting it through someones legs. A nutmeg soccer story to remember.
Theory number 2:
Taken from a famous novel "the lot" nut meant testicles and nutmeg was just a development of the first word.
For even more possible explanations have a look at the article written by the Guardian for a few more possible answers.
Top 3 reasons why Messi can nutmeg soccer players so easily:
1. Body faints without touching the ball - Messi gets you moving your feet by shifting his body and not even touching the ball before he sets you up for a meg.
2. Small tight touches - If you watch him only when he runs past defenders does he take a long touch, all his best dribbling work is done with small tiny touches with the outside of his foot.
3. Quickness! - his start stop acceleration is so quick by the time you try and get your feet closed or shuffle over he's already gone.
Top 3 reasons why Ronaldo can nutmeg soccer players effortlessly:
1. Speed - defenders know if you don't put in a tackle Ronaldo will just burn you for speed so they need to take a risk and lunge in and that's when Ronaldo has you at his mercy.
2. Skill in tight spaces - no matter the space he has or the situation he always finds a way out with high level of ball mastery and skill on the ball.
3. Dangerous shot - defenders are constantly trying to block his shot that is so dangerous near the box sometimes they over commit leaving themselves open for a nutmeg. Defenders are doomed either way.
Top 3 reasons why Neymar knows how to nutmeg soccer players game after game:
1. Speed and Skill combo - Neymar has one of the greatest all time combinations of skill and speed, the two most important qualities to be able to pull of nutmegs. The best way to nutmeg soccer players you may be up against is to have this deadly combo.
2. Brazilian - The Brazilian way is to play and play with flare. It's not enough just to win, but to look good while doing it. He was raised and developed in this culture so it comes second nature to him.
3. Free Role - Whether it's with PSG or Brazil Neymar has a role to freely occupy any space he thinks is best. With that comes the confidence and freedom to dribble, meg and pull off moves of his choice all game long.
Can I offer you a dash of nutmeg soccer star? Let's start with the basics first then work our way up to performing a nutmeg in a game at full speed. Knowing in which situations to try a meg and the body positions of the opponents in these situations is half the battle.
Meg, megs, meggers, panna and salad are the most common names for a typical nutmeg in soccer. It also largely depends on what country you're from and the language you speak, you may hear different words for it as you travel from place to place.
Not a bad idea, if it's on. This isn't classified as your typical meg in a game but if the goalie comes out and your best option is between his legs then ya fire away. Trying to nutmeg soccer goalies will have to be done within 10 yards of them or they'll have enough time to adjust and close that lane real quick. Is this a meg you want to be bragging about to your friends later? Probably not but a goal through the goalies legs is not too shabby in my books.
Well if you like your playing time I would stay away from doing it in your own box or if you're the last defender back, you'll be hearing it from the coach, even if it works out. All risk and very little reward trying to meg someone so close to your own net, but if you must, make sure it's completely on. So as a rule try and throw megs in the opponents half and when it will gain an advantage like beating a player.
Just stop. You can but there really is no point, the move was created to nutmeg soccer opponents not teammates and refs, wait until you played for Barcelona for 10 years and get your testimonial match, try it then.
Alright now listen closely the "when" is just as if not more important than the "how" of megging an opposing player.
What you should be looking for is any of the following situations a defender may put themselves in such as:
1. Flat footed - if you ever see a defender step to you and they aren't side on but defending you like a basketball player with their legs wide open, this should set off alarms in your head. Even if the meg doesn't work perfectly, they aren't in great position to recover either.
2. Out of position - if you can see a player covering for their teammate and playing a position they aren't use to and don't look comfortable in; for example a striker covering for a right or left back then you should look to take advantage of such mismatches.
3. Compromising position - if you see a player who just made a tackle, either lunged in somewhere or slid and are getting back to their feet and are a little disoriented this should get your mind thinking oh me oh meg!
4. They just lost it, didn't get the call then start running after it like mad person - this happens more often they it may sound, frustration can lead to foolish decisions so have you eye out for someone who lost the ball or didn't get a foul in their favour trying to make up for it. They'll be the ones running a thousand miles per hour with all of the above poor body positions flying your way.
Well as you can probably guess the players get that megged the most aren't exactly the easiest to meg. Why? Well of course defenders are going to get megged more because they are constantly defending players dribbling at them and trying to beat them. A forward who does less 1v1 on ball defending will megged less for example. But the easiest position to meg are probably strikers! Calm down strikers you can't score all the goals and get all the glory for everything. Strikers are easiest because they have the least amount of reps then anyone in 1v1 defending, so the odd time or two they do hustle around the pitch and try act like a true defender they are out practice and may jump or lunge in leaving themselves most vulnerable to catch a nutmeg.
Well you can't run around the field hoping you don't get megged and shuffle your legs never to open them and ignoring playing the game. Everyone gets megged, Messi, Ronaldo, you, me... everyone! But there are a few ways you can decrease your odds of being embarrassed with a filthy nutmeg soccer style.
1. Don't defend flat footed (get in a good low defensive stance, side on with one foot pointing at the ball and the other behind it.
2. Don't lunge in unnecessarily (great dribblers want you to overcommit and dive in so they can slip you a meg, patience young grasshopper).
3. Be careful of players who like to try and meg people excessively (know your crowd, some players just try and nutmeg soccer opponents all game long, even though they aren't accomplishing much all game long, keep an extra eye out for them).
Now these guys and girls will humble you when it comes to being megged. They may not be the best players in the world but they will teach you a thing or two about how to put it through someones legs where you didn't think it was possible. Take a look at some creative ways they find gaps between the legs of their opponents using patience, deception and baiting their defenders to make them look foolish.
The reality of it is there are players who just think megging someone is as important as winning the game or scoring a goal, these types of players never get very far in the game. Do it for for fun with your friends, try one if it accomplishes what you're trying to achieve on the field in a serious match but trying them out of foolishness will get you into trouble as well as losing the element of surprise. The last thing your coach or a scout at the game wants to see is someone trying meg after meg, losing it and showing a lack of respect for playing the game the right way.
Not as often as some may place importance on. I've played so many games where no nutmegs happen and I've played in some where up to 10 happen. So typically 2-5 real nutmegs may happen a game, most of which don't really accomplish too much so don't get bent out of shape if you meg someone or you happen to get megged.
It's usually midfielders and strikers. Why? Well they are the ones attacking the most so it's only normal for them to succeed and fail the most at attempting a nutmeg. Even more specifically it's wingers who get the most megs because like no other position on the field they are constantly taking players on 1v1 game in and game out. A large part of their game is to find players weaknesses from dribbling and whether it's standing still or at speed they are always looking for some way to beat their defenders to go to goal and the meg becomes a part of their arsenal.