Juggling the ball refers to keeping the ball in the air by bouncing it off your feet, chest, head, thighs and other parts of the body. While it may appear as a fancy skill that is used for showboating, its usefulness goes much beyond that. Learning how to juggle a soccer ball can improve your touch as well as your overall balance.
While a soccer ball can be juggled using any part of the body, the primary parts used in this activity are both the feet. The area which makes contact with the ball is mostly the front part of the laces of the shoe and the area below that, as shown in the figure.
To juggle the ball, you should give it a back spin by kicking it upwards with the area of the shoe described above. The backspin helps in keeping the ball towards your body when it bounced off your foot, or any other part that is being used.
Remember to keep your toes pointed slightly upwards, and keep your legs straight.
How to Practice
First of all, remember that juggling is a skill that cannot be learned overnight. It can only come with consistent practice. Having said that, the practice routine described below is the fastest way you can learn how to juggle because it is goal oriented. Learning juggling without a goal oriented practice routine can get you frustrated very quickly. Here is what you do –
- Hold the ball, and drop it onto one of your foot (start off with your dominant foot, as it can be easier). Kick it up using the juggling technique described above. Once the ball comes up, hold the ball. Repeat the process with your weaker foot. Carry on doing this till you get feel a degree of comfort. You will feel that when the ball does not drift away from your body and you are consistently able to kick and hold every time.
- Now is time to start COUNTING. By that what i mean is, you should repeat the step above, but this time instead of holding the ball after you hit it the first time, let it go down and try to hit it back up with your other foot, and THEN hold the ball. So instead of holding the ball after one touch, you are holding it after two touches, one from your dominant foot and the other from your weaker foot.This may take a little while to get used to, but provided you practiced the first step well enough, you should get this soon enough. NOW, once you are able to achieve this, count “TWO” in your mind.
- From here on, the aim it to just get better. Since you are at “TWO”, your only aim when you are practicing the juggling drill should be to increase your count. So once you have achieved “TWO”, your next target is to get three touches before you hold the ball. So if you start off with your right foot then a count of ‘THREE” means – drop, right foot , left foot, right foot, hold. Once you achieve that, it is obvious that your next count target will be “FOUR”.
- Keep practicing like this, and keep increasing the count. A good target to have is 20. But really speaking, the sky is the limit.
- As you get better, try to use other parts of your body, like your thighs, chest, and head.
Important Tip : It is a MUST to learn juggling with both feet. Learning juggling only with your dominant foot will defeat the purpose of this drill, so make sure you always practice with both your feet.
As mentioned above, a good target to have is 20. So if you are able to make to 20 counts ( 10 from the left foot, 10 from the right), then you will start to see the benefits of this drill.
A 20 minutes practice session should be sufficient.