18, 19 .....20!!! New world record! (okay personal record). Soccer juggling isn't as easy as it sounds and it's the small wins you need to celebrate like getting to 10, 50 and even 100 plus! As easy as the pro's make it look don't be fooled, it takes lots of practice and persistence to really get great at juggling a ball. Below you will find some tips and advice about the key fundamentals of juggling a soccer ball but there's one thing you will need that will trump all the other, persistence. One day you'll juggle it with ease and the next it will feel like you never touched a ball before, either way you need to keep at it and take small steps in becoming better day by day.
But who cares right? It's not like great jugglers make great players, I mean this isn't the circus. Well you have a point there but it's a great way to improve your ball control, touch and overall mastery of the ball, so although it doesn't exactly translate to the game it will help you develop certain parts of your eye foot coordination which you'll definitely need in a match.
So what are you staring at? Get a ball and start keeping it up, come back to this page once you can do 5 in a row, back already? Well read below and get everything you need to know about soccer juggling now that you're an expert.
1. Backspin on the Ball - When first starting out try and point your toes towards you and hit under the ball almost like you're scooping it with the top of your feet. Even start the ball in your hands and spin it towards you and let your feet keep that backspin momentum of the ball going by grazing under the ball with each foot one at a time. This may sound strange when imagining it but once you start trying it yourself you'll see what I mean, plus it's much more difficult to juggle a ball that has no spin or worse yet topspin as you try and chase it around the field.
2. Master One Part of Your Body First - Okay concentrate on one part of your body that you are most comfortable with, for most people this is either their dominant foot or thigh. Now forget what other people are saying about using every body part, we will get their eventually but first master that one part of your foot or thigh until you can comfortably hit 20 in a row. Now that you've done that you have your safety net, anytime you're in trouble while juggle always hit it to that part of your body and you should be able to get back on track and keep the ball up. Now as you get better slowly add other parts of your body but always fall back on that one part if things start to get out of control.
3. Keep the Ball Below Your Head - You have enough things to concentrate on while juggling so do your best to keep the ball somewhere your eyes can easily track and follow it. If it starts to go above your eye line high up in the air and behind you then your eyes will struggle to get a beat on the ball making your soccer juggling life so much harder. Every keep up should be below eye height to give yourself the best chance to get into a nice and easy rhythm.
4. Flexed Feet and Body Parts - To get a good consistent hit out of each juggle to keep it under control and set it up for the next hit takes the ball hitting a consistent surface. Look to flex tightly your feet with every hit, any loose unstable body parts will send the ball flying in every direction and have you guessing on where the ball will be going next.
5. Keep At It - No amount of teaching or fancy shoes are going to help you with your soccer juggling as much as your own mental strength and persistence will. No matter the set back keep going and trying new things, so much of your improvement will be from staying with it and learning from trial and error. Look to make baby steps each day and not get frustrated if after day one you're not Maradona, start with a goal of 5 in a row, each day try and add a few to it and soon enough you'll be juggling your way up and down the pitch (don't tell your coach I said that).
1. Hitting the Ball High - Trying to track the ball with your eyes constantly while trying to decide what part of your body to hit it with is hard enough, try not to let the ball go above head height or you'll be adding even more problems to just making solid contact with the ball.
2. Trying to be Too Flashy - Okay take it easy Ronaldo with the heel flick and neck stalls on the first week of learning to juggle. Stick to the basics and fundamentals of juggling before you start trying all the fancy YouTube highlight reel stuff. Let's stick with feet, thighs, shoulders and head for now, after you start feeling more and more comfortable you can try rainbows and neck stalls.
3. Juggling Unnecessarily in a Game - Now that you're feeling like Ronaldinho there are few things more disrespectful in a game then flicking the ball up to yourself and juggling it on the spot. If the ball is bouncing and oncoming defender is coming your way and you need to juggle it up once or twice to get around them then please go a head by all means but remember use when necessary not because you think it looks cool.
4. Being Too Stiff - Take a deep breath and relllllllllax, you're not in court here, soccer juggling is supposed to be fun and relaxing so loosen up and think of it as a fun dance with the ball. Keep your knees bent and shoulders relaxed as you start to keep the ball up, when you make contact with the ball you want the body part you're using to be strong and firm but all the moments in between that you want to keep your body and limbs as relaxed as possible.
5. Getting Frustrated and Quitting - No part of improving your game will come easy, get used to it being difficult to learn new skills such as shooting, passing and even juggling. Stay with it and try new things until you find a pattern or two that makes you feel comfortable in possession of the ball, there is no shame in taking a break and coming back to it and trying again.
No chance. But it does help improve different parts of your game like your comfort around the ball, first touch, controlling a ball and just overall ball mastery. Are their incredible players that can't juggle five times to save their lives? Of course there are but just like any other ball mastery routine juggling is a fun way to improve your skill that is also challenging and gives you clear measurements to try and improve upon. Now don't go spending all your time juggling a ball thinking it's somehow going to help your shot or dribbling directly but it is a good foundation to start from when trying to learn the game from the ground up, literally.
Well the goal should be to get so comfortable with the ball that you can go on juggling all day long without any trouble. It is good to set some daily goals like adding three to five each day but your first goal should be 20, then 50 and eventually 100. Once you've passed 100 you should be able to go all day without any problems, this is true soccer juggling mastery. So the real answer to what a good juggling score is..... (drumroll please).....just one more than the day before.
A stall is when you get the ball to literally stop moving on one of your body parts. The most common place to stall a ball is on the top of your foot but nowadays players can stall the ball on their head, thigh, neck and even on the sole of their feet. Stalls are a fun way to mix up a juggling routine and also help with developing an even higher level of ball control and mastery. To put it simply a stall is anytime you make the ball stop moving while being balanced on a body part.
1. Top of Foot - The classic top of the foot stall, this takes some practice because not only are you balance on one foot you're trying to get the ball to stay still and not roll off your uneven boney foot. The best way to start this stall is not by rolling it up the front of your toes, roll the ball up the side of your foot on a 45 degree angle aiming right at your pinky toe, this way you have a lot bigger surface to try and keep it balanced on.
2. Side of Foot - This one will take some time to master the top of the foot stall before you can slowly and carefully roll the ball to be resting just on the outside of the foot. Once your balanced on one leg start to lean your body all the way away from the ball while raising your entire leg up sideways, slowly the ball will start to roll outwards and it's your job to get the balancing act just right.
3. Back of Neck - Okay superstar this one you may have seen online will take you weeks to perfect. Essentially you are getting the ball to stop on the back of your neck without rolling off, so much easier said than done. The first thing you're going to need to do is practice bending over with a flat back and lifting your arms up and shoulder blades back to make a nice little pocket where the ball can sit. Once you've done that try placing the ball there with your hands to see if it will stay. Now comes the hard part, usually having the ball stalled on your foot is the easiest way to get it up to your neck but I'll let you choose your own fate on this one. While flicking the ball up try and use the back of your head as guide for it to slide down, the timing of this has to just right so keep plugging away until you get some success.
4. Chest - Finally all of those years of not lifting weights will come in handy, stalling it on your chest takes a good bend in the spine with the bending of the knees while your torso cradles the ball. This is as hard as any stall so be sure to stay relaxed and keep your shoulders pulled back to help with the cushioning of the ball.
5. Between Knees - This one looks easy but actually takes a fair bit of skill and timing. Be careful not to knock your knees together too hard but essentially you want to jump forward with both feet and knees and trap the ball between your legs. Most people close too early and the ball never has a chance, close late and hope forward slightly with both legs as you try and time it just so.
For a closer look at step by step stalls feel free to check this guide to How To Balance A Soccer Ball On Your Foot.