Although juggling is a great skill in soccer, it’s not something that many players get to do. The basic rule of livescore states that you must keep the ball on the ground as much possible if your team wants to retain possession. Today’s game is all about prolonged possession. Juggling would require you to lift the ball from the ground. This is why it isn’t very useful.
This is why many coaches ignore it or neglect it during training sessions. They think they would rather teach the players something that can be used in a match. This is what I consider to be the greatest mistake in coaching, particularly in youth coaching.
I will show you why soccer juggling matters and how to do it properly.
Soccer Juggling: Why is it Important?
Juggling is not something you will find yourself doing in every situation, except maybe to embarrass your opponents. But that doesn’t mean that soccer juggling should be ignored. It’s actually one of the most easy skills to learn and you’ll see the results quickly.
Juggling can improve a variety of peripheral skills, and it’s also fun. While it is not the most effective way to learn and develop as a soccer player, boring or difficult exercises aren’t the best. However, if you have the ability to train and have fun, that’s a proven recipe for success. These are the most visible ways that juggling can improve your skills.
Ball Control This skill is the most important to improve in juggling. You’ll be able to control the ball by doing constant juggling exercises.
You’ll also learn what I call “foot confidence” while juggling. Soon you will be able to control the ball with no need to concentrate on the trapping. This is vital because it allows you to control the ball naturally. Instead of spending 2 seconds focusing on the trapping, you can use the extra time to look for a player to pass the ball to.
Agility Juggling requires you to adjust your body quickly to keep the ball in mid-air. This will improve your agility, and you will be able gain control of the ball quicker in matches, when lightning reflexes are required. This also allows you to make faster direction changes which can be very useful when passing the ball between opponents.
Trapping and receiving – This is especially important for balls that are coming at you from the air, which you must control. Soccer juggling will allow you to quickly determine how hard or soft you should hit the ball to keep it from getting out of reach. While trapping a long ball with your foot or thigh won’t be as easy as juggling a ball at the exact same height with your foot or thigh, it is a great way to practice these moves.
These are the skills you can learn with soccer juggling. However, juggling has a lesser impact on other skills. Now that you are aware of the importance of juggling, let’s learn how to train it and how you can juggle correctly.
Soccer Juggling: How to Juggling Correctly
There is no “correct” way to soccer juggle. That’s the fun part about it. It doesn’t matter if you juggle with your heel, inside or outside of your foot, or with your hips, shoulder, or hips. As long as the ball is in the air, it will work. If you are looking to improve the skills mentioned above, it is a good idea for you to learn a few juggling patterns.
Begin by using your strong foot to juggle. Once you are able to do 50-100 juggles using your strong foot, then switch to your weaker foot. Once you feel confident that you can perform 50-100 juggles using your weaker foot without too much trouble, you can start switching between them.
Once you’re able to do more than 100 alternative juggles, (meaning there is no left-left or right juggle combination among those 100 or more), then start practicing with the stronger foot’s heel, followed by your weaker foot and finally your head.
Once you have mastered all the sub-exercises of juggling, you can simply play with your ball and juggle it with whatever part of your body is most comfortable. You’ll reach this point in juggling where you can juggle the ball for hours and never drop it. This is a huge improvement on your other skills. The hard part is getting there.
Soccer Juggling – Drills
You’ve already covered how to juggle in the section. If you are willing to put aside some time to improve your soccer juggling skills, it is worth doing so. You will want your players to practice juggling in the practice sessions. It’s also a good idea to combine them, allowing them to work in pairs or groups.
Hand picking pairs of soccer juggling players will allow them to practice their skills in pairs. It’s important that players of similar height work together. You don’t want to pit someone who is a foot taller than a person half their size, as it could disrupt the exercise. Players with similar juggling skills should work together. This will allow them to improve their skills and not hinder another player’s exercise.
Imagine what it would look like if a less skilled juggler was paired up with one who is highly skilled. He would have to constantly wait for his less skilled partner to catch up.
It is very simple to do the pair exercise. Each player will be allowed to pass the ball in mid-air, with a maximum of three touches. Encourage them to use different parts of their feet, thighs, and heads to pass the ball, so that they have ball control in all three areas.
You can spice it up with small rewards or “punishments”. For example, the pair that keeps the ball in the air for longer should be rewarded. Or, each time a player drops it to the ground, he should do 10-20 pushups and then continue the exercise.
You can also work with your players to improve their juggling skills in larger groups than one. The windmill exercise can be used to supplement juggling training. A windmill exercise involves 4-6 people sitting in a row with another 4-6 ahead. The ball is passed to row A’s first player, who then moves quickly to the back. The player receiving the ball from row B returns it to row A, then moves back to row A.
This is a dynamic game that requires several players. If you wish to make it more fun for juggling, have your players pass the ball in mid-air instead of on the ground. They should only touch the ball a maximum of two times and no more than three. This will not only improve your players’ juggling abilities, but also simulates how you might use your juggling skills when the ball is coming from an opponent or teammate in real match situations.