How To Juggle a Soccer Ball
I asked ChatGPT to define how important it is to juggle in soccer, and here’s the answer I received:
”It’s more than a beat; it’s the pulse of soccer—juggling, a skill that turns good players into great ones”.
It’s enough to make a grown man cry…
If you clicked on this article, chances are you are a beginner trying to learn how to juggle a soccer ball.
You’re in the right place my friends!
Juggling is the first skill you learn when you are a child. In my middle school days, the best player was always the one who could juggle a soccer ball the most.
So read my steps carefully, grab a soccer ball, and let’s teach you how to elevate your game!!!!
In This Article
Understanding the Basics of Ball Juggling
Just to be clear, juggling soccer balls isn’t what they do in the circus…although it’s still impressive if you can do that.
Instead, juggling a soccer ball is about keeping it in the air with your feet, thighs, chest, and head—without letting it hit the ground. It’s building comfort on the ball to become better at your next soccer or futsal match.
For beginners, juggling can seem like a worrying prospect. I remember my first time trying to hit 20 juggles…it took me 2 hours and a lot of stubbornness in my garage…
But remember, even the most complex castles are built brick by brick.
Once you get to your first 10, the next 10 will be a lot easier. Muscle memory has a big role to play in mastering the art of juggling a soccer ball.
When juggling is mastered, other soccer skills will develop automatically such as dribbling and ball control.
Step-by-Step Guide On How To Juggle a Soccer Ball
Most of these steps require only a ball. To achieve faster results, you can do the exercises and drills with a soccer rebounder.
This will add a new level to your juggling, as well as being on your toes. But for beginners who need to know how to juggle a soccer ball, start with basic juggling.
Before we start on the steps, let’s look at how the foot should be positioned:
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Ball
Before you start, choose a spot with enough space and a flat surface.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and remain relaxed. Remember: a good body position is key to getting consistent juggles.
To understand how to juggle a soccer ball, you must understand the ball itself.
The first step is simple—drop the ball and let it bounce. Observe its trajectory and bounce height.
I like to do this ball bounce to understand the dynamics of the ball:
If it rained, the ball would be heavier, meaning stronger taps.
If the ball is less deflated than usual, it requires a more subtle touch.
Drop the ball. After it bounces, gently tap it back into the air with the laces of your foot. Your foot should be pointing slightly upward when you tap into the ball. This is done to create a little backspin.
Catch the ball and repeat the process.
Aim for your waist’s height, no higher for now. Repeat this step until you can comfortably kick it back up 3 to 5 times in a row.
Step 2: Master the First Touch
Now we can begin the training session to familiarize ourselves with the ball.
Start with the ball in your hands. Drop it to your dominant foot, and kick it back up.
Catch the ball, and repeat. One juggle at a time is important to unlock body control and get the right tap. You aim to keep the ball steady and controlled.
If our taps tend to be too strong, then we catch the ball and throw it again, adjusting to a more subtle touch.
You should repeat the process until you get the first touch right and the aerial control necessary to level up. In other words, when you kick the ball back up with control and in the same trajectory more than five times in a row.
Step 3: Develop a Rhythm
Begin with one touch at a time. As you get comfortable, try for two, then three consecutive touches.
I would suggest you aim for 5 juggles with both your left and right foot in your first session. I say both feet, but we all know you will only use your dominant foot :). That’s okay for now.
Remember that the goal is to get the technique right! Don’t worry if you can’t reach 20 juggles right away.
Juggling is one of those skills that takes time to get the gist of it, but when you do, you’re better at soccer automatically.
Once you’ve mastered a few controlled touches with one foot, switch to the other to build balance. After that, you can start to alternate feet to reach ultimate ball control.
Step 4: Number’s Game
Now that you understand the technique, and you can do 5-10 juggles consecutively, the next step is to add reps under your belt.
How? Simply practice juggling and aim for specific numbers. Did you reach 10? Aim for 15 now. then 20, after that 30…
Steadily increase the target number. Remember to be realistic with yourself. If you just got 10 juggles, don’t aim for 30 right away. Improve slowly, whatever that progress may be.
For reference, when I got to ten, it took me 3 days to get to twelve…I must admit I am a slow learner, but the point is that the progress is not linear…sometimes you can plateau.
Step 5: Introduce Other Body Parts
Start using your other body parts to get more comfortable with juggling. It also adds resiliency to your juggling, which in turn makes you better.
Here’s how you should level up to other body parts:
Weak foot + alternate feet
Inside of your foot
Once you have reached juggling with your head, you can start spicing it up with juggling games or exercises, or add it at the beginning of your existing soccer drills.
Step 6: Incorporate Drills and Exercises
Aim for higher consecutive touch counts each practice session. Use juggling in any exercises you can find in this article or a soccer app.
It’s important to remember that although numbers are a great way to measure progress, there comes a time when they become irrelevant.
Personally, after I reached 500 juggles, I stopped trying to improve my personal best. Once muscle memory is set, you have completed 80% of the progress.
One exercise is to practice juggling while moving to improve your touch and ball control. Juggling while moving is a great way to improve your balance and comfort on the ball, skills that are crucial in-game.
You can also create solo soccer drills around juggling. Here’s a fun exercise you can try:
Place cones on the floor randomly, or any soccer equipment you have.
While juggling, kick the ball high, pick up the cone, and catch the ball with your foot without letting it bounce on the ground.
Make your way to the second cone, and do the same thing.
You win the game if you’re able to pick up all the cones without dropping the ball once!
Step 7: Blend Juggling with Your Training Regimen
Use juggling as a warm-up to start sessions and a cool-down to end them. Make juggling a part of your daily routine to consistently improve your touch.
If you’re with a friend, try the ”Brazilian”, where you juggle the ball and pass it around without it touching the floor. You can spice it up by adding touch limits. You can even do this drill alone with a soccer rebounder.
The beauty of juggling is that you only need a soccer ball. No cones or any other soccer training equipment is needed. Therefore, you can practice juggling anytime, anywhere.
Step 8: Challenge Yourself with Advanced Techniques
Try juggling while moving around to simulate match conditions. You can juggle while walking, jogging, or for advanced level, sprinting.
Here’s a fun video showing Arsenal players racing while juggling:
Learn to stall the ball on various parts of your body, adding flair to your control. The easiest way to stall is to point your shoe upwards and balance the ball in the little scoop you created.
Other ways to stall are behind the neck, on the sole of your feet, on your forehead…
These are advanced techniques, and if you’ve reached this level, then chances are you’re juggling skills are similar to a professional soccer player. Congratulations!
Learn Other Soccer Skills
Common Juggling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Many beginners make the mistake of kicking the ball too hard or too high. The secret to juggling isn’t in the power—it’s in the poise (subtle touch).
Keep your movements gentle and measured. Remember, the goal is to keep the ball close and controlled, not to send it soaring.
Another frequent error is to juggle with the toes. This makes the ball spin and harder to control. Instead, use the laces or the flat parts of your feet, and maintain a straight-backed posture.
Training Equipment to Help You Juggle
Although juggling a soccer ball only requires…you guessed it, a soccer ball, if you’re looking to pass the ball and catch it in the air, then a soccer rebounder is a great investment to take your juggling to the next level.
You can also get some cones to mark out a zone on juggling, where you must stay inside.
Drills and Exercises to Improve Your Juggling
Like any skill worth acquiring, juggling requires practice. Set yourself targets—10 consecutive touches, then 20, and keep building.
Practice using only your weaker foot, or alternate between foot, thigh, and head. Challenge yourself, and with each session, you’ll find your counts going higher.
Include dynamic drills as well. Move forward, backward, and side to side while juggling to mimic the unpredictability of a real match and add conditioning to your training.
The Juggling Drill With a Friend!
One drill I love to do is to juggle and pass it to a friend, all while the ball is in the air. If you don’t have a partner, you can use a soccer rebounder, or simply a wall.
Stand approximately 5 meters away from your partner. Juggle the ball, and kick it to him. He must control it in the air, juggle it, and kick it back to you. Try to make as many passes as possible without letting the ball drop!
You can see professional soccer players like Messi, Thiago Alcantara or Phil Foden do this exercise as a warmup!
The High-Kicks Drill
This is a real test to see if your juggling and first touch are on point.
Start juggling the ball. At one point, kick the ball high above you, and catch it while juggling. Do not let it drop. If you can do this exercise for more than 5 high-kicks, chances are your touch is great!
Q: How long does it take to learn to juggle a soccer ball?
A: The time it takes
to learn juggling varies from person to person. With daily practice, you could be juggling comfortably within a few weeks.
Q: Can juggling help me become a better soccer player?
A: Absolutely. Juggling improves your touch, control, and coordination, which are all critical for match play.
Q: Is it necessary to use all parts of the body to juggle effectively?
A: While it’s not necessary, being able to use multiple parts of your body to juggle can significantly enhance your overall ball control.
Q: How often should I practice juggling?
A: For best results, incorporate juggling into your daily training routine, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
A little surprise for you!
Here is a compilation of Maradona’s juggling skills!
Conclusion – Keeping the Ball Rolling
Congratulations, you’ve just uncovered the secret to mastering the art of juggling!
Remember that juggling is a great way to start improving your soccer skills. If you can learn to juggle comfortably, you will level up your game and step into the more advanced realm of soccer.
Do you want to become better at playing soccer? Start juggling, it’s that simple. See you on the field, my friends!
Learning & relearning: The power of consistency. MindEdge. (2023, June 12). https://www.mindedge.com/courses/learning-relearning-the-power-of-consistency/#:~:text=Consistency%20is%20key%2C%20no%20matter,information%20on%20a%20regular%20basis.