Being able to juggle a soccer ball well is more than just a great party trick. It shows your proficiency, skill, and ability to connect with the ball. Everybody admires a soccer player’s ability to perform tricks that look near impossible, defying gravity and keeping the ball in the air.
If you want to be able to do that too, then you are in luck, as not a single soccer player was born with the ability to juggle a ball, these are skills which take a lot of practice, and anybody can achieve it, even you.
Below I have listed some very beneficial and practical tips on becoming an expert at soccer juggling. Take your time and go through them. Ensuring you put equal effort into all these tips is the key to mastering this skill. Once you are confident and can keep the ball in the air for as many touches as you like, you can move on to more significant and more challenging tricks you’ve seen professional players do on and off the field!
1. Practice regularly and be consistent.
Practicing every day is going to improve your ball control. I recommend doing so for about 30 and 40 minutes each day; however, it is still better than nothing if you can only afford 15 minutes. Even 15 minutes a day equates to over 90 hours over a year, which would undoubtedly lead to major achievements.
Do not worry about the discipline required for being consistent for a whole year, as you will start to notice these improvements within 4-5 weeks, and this alone will inspire you to keep at it.
Consistent practice also adds to your overall ball control and experience and helps you learn new soccer juggling techniques. You will become a better player on the field with your ball control ability.
2. Keep your focus on the ball.
Keeping the focus of the ball is one of the most crucial elements of soccer juggling. But, while it sounds simple, it is not easy. Keeping focussed on the ball requires a lot of time and practice as it is a combination of physical and mental skills.
Initially, this may require you to tune out of everything else and practice in silence. Or maybe, find a specific song or instrumental that you can train to, which you only associate with soccer juggling. Put it on repeat and go at it! After some time, whenever the song plays, it will put you in the zone.
3. Drop the ball on your foot and catch it.
This is an excellent method to start as you are developing ball control and balance. First, drop the ball on your foot and kick it back up to your hands. Try to ensure the ball moves straight up and do this with both left and right feet.
A huge mistake many people make when learning how to juggle is only focussing on their stronger foot. With juggling, practicing on both feet in juggling is essential and makes the entire juggling process easier.
Additionally, avoid kicking the ball too high; try and keep it below your belly button height. Once you’ve developed better control with both juggling and catches, you
Will be able to perform successful higher kicks and catches.
4. Be patient and enjoy yourself!
Soccer juggling is an enjoyable skill. You should always keep in mind that it takes some time to be pro and master. You will not become Messi overnight. So when you practice, also remember to be patient and celebrate your small achievements when they come. This will keep you motivated and stop you from giving up or comparing yourself to others you might follow on social media!
5. Practice with the right sized ball.
You may or may not know this, but Size 1 and Size 2 Soccer balls are not just designed for babies and small children but are actually a multipurpose ball designed for skill development. You can enhance your juggling ability dramatically by using a smaller ball.
In my own experience, after using a size 1 ball in juggling for about 30 to 40 minutes, the size 5 feels heavy and clumsy, and I was able to improve my juggling by slowly shifting to larger size balls as I improved.
Now, it could be argued that if you learn with a bigger, heavier ball, you will have mastered all sizes and weights below that also. But this is a proven strategy many people use to go from beginner to intermediate. Again, it takes time – you cannot rush the process.
6. Practice with friends
This is a significant way of enhancing your overall soccer experience. Have you tried juggling with your teammate before? Some people might refer to these as “keep-ups”, “keepy ups” or “keepie uppies”. All it means is juggling, but if somebody suggests a game of “keep ups” they usually mean partner juggling.
If you haven’t tried this with a friend or teammate, consider doing so as soon as and often as you can; you will love it. You will find it exciting, especially after you have been practicing alone for a while. You will also find that you do not get tired as quickly and will learn new skills from your friends or teammates.
Another benefit to playing keep-ups is you improve your ability to pass and receive the ball. This is something you will notice during your matches, too, as player chemistry should not be underestimated.
7. Go for new records
Anytime you successfully break your juggling record, make a record of it. Likewise, make a record of your failed attempts all the same. For example, if you are stuck at 10 kicks and cannot break through that plateau, document this each day, and then when you make it to 11 kicks and beyond, you will be able to see your progress and how long it took to get there.
You can note anything you tried differently and how long you practiced and then try your best and ensure you improve on your failures every day.
Analyzing your progress will also help you to appreciate your day to day results.
8. Record yourself.
Keeping a video diary of yourself and your progress will help you when you are looking back and reflecting on your failures and successes. You will be able to see where you are going wrong and take the necessary steps to work on those mistakes. You will also be able to visually see how far you have come, and any day that you are not feeling motivated or up to it, these videos will come in handy.
Another thing you could do is share your videos via social media. You could create a huge following just by sharing your progress which will motivate others and also give you a support network to spur you on.
9. Try to incorporate these basic key points into your practice if you are having trouble getting started.
(a) Toes should be curled up.
(b) Knees should be slightly bent.
(c) Alternate thighs and feet.
(d) Lock your ankle.
(e) React quickly to the ball.
10. Ball & Tether/Kick Trainer Hack
Using a ball and tether can drastically increase your productivity and speed up progress. You can either have your soccer ball tethered to your waist or chest as you practice juggling, hands-free, or you can get one with the chord attached to a handle.
You also have the option of getting one that is fixed or one which is adjustable, allowing you to put any sized ball into it.
See the example below:
If you apply these tips and stay consistent, you will master juggling and become a better soccer play along with it. Most importantly, stay focussed, appreciate your small victories, and do not beat yourself up over your failures; use those to improve.
Watch as many videos of your favorite players juggling as you like but DO NOT compare yourself or your skill to theirs. If the videos stop being inspirational and start making you doubt yourself, discontinue watching them immediately!
And remember, soccer is fun, soccer juggling is fun, have fun with it!