How to Juggle a Soccer Ball: Tips to Master the Art of Juggling (2024)

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

How do you juggle a soccer ball? In the beautiful game, juggling a soccer ball refers to keeping the ball in the air, without letting it drop to the ground, while using any body part besides your hands, such as your feet, thigh, and head.

The most important part of learning the essential skill of juggling a soccer ball is to take action and practice juggling consistently. The only way to get better at something is with consistent practice and juggling is no exception.

Whether this is your first time trying to juggle a soccer ball, you are looking for some tips to improve your juggling skills, or you simply need a reminder on how to juggle a soccer ball, then this is the perfect blog for you.

How to Juggle a Soccer Ball

The Art of Juggling a Soccer Ball

Knowing how to juggle a soccer ball is crucial for player development no matter the age or skill level. Although juggling is a skill that you won’t necessarily do in a real soccer game, improving your juggling skills will translate to improving various other important skills of the game such as ball control, first touch, passing, and your ability to track the ball with your eyes.

The beauty of juggling is that you can get as creative as you’d like or keep it as simple as you’d like, which is why you see players doing freestyle juggling at all levels from youth to the professional levels.

Juggling skills are not a clear indicator on if someone is a good player on the field or not, but most of the best players of all time have mastered juggling, such as Neymar and Ronaldinho, which means if juggling helped them it can help anybody get better.

Juggling the ball is all about your relationship with the ball, being creative, having fun, and attempting to control the ball in all types of ways. As with any other soccer skill, the more you practice the better you get at it, the easier it becomes, and the more your body remembers how to do it thanks to fascia and muscle memory.

This means that as you keep getting better, you will have to think less about doing it, so really, the best way to get better at juggling is to get outside in nature, practice, practice, and then practice some more.

How to Juggle a Soccer Ball Tips for How to Juggle a Soccer Ball

Now that you are a bit more familiar with the art of juggling a soccer ball, let’s discuss some tips to help you feel confident and break your juggling record in no time.

Choose the Right Size Soccer Ball

One of the most important parts of having an optimal soccer training session is having the right equipment. Having the right equipment means you have the right type of cleats, depending on the surface you are playing on, as well as having the right-sized soccer ball.

Having the right size soccer ball allows for an optimal training experience and if you are an adult player you should be training with a size 5 soccer ball, while younger players should be training with the smaller ball sizes according to their age group.

Find an Open Flat Surface with Empty Space

Once you have the right soccer ball and cleats, it is time to find an open flat surface with a lot of empty space. This not only provides you with the freedom to move without constraints but also minimizes the chances of the ball hitting other objects and obstacles, which is something you want to avoid if you are still getting the hang of juggling.

Learn to Keep your Ankle Locked

“Lock your ankle.” You may have heard this saying before during soccer practice, and I will keep repeating it because it is one of the most important things that you have to do no matter what soccer skill you are trying to attempt.

Keeping your ankle locked, by knowing how to apply fascial tension to the feet, arch, toes, and ankle complex is important for creating a strong rigid structure with your ankle that leads to better and stronger kicks. A wobbly ankle leads to wobbly kicks and an inefficient transfer of energy.

Also while juggling, and while you have your ankles locked, it is important to have the knees slightly bent as well as the foot angled slightly upward.

Use both feet equally

One of the fastest ways to improve your juggling abilities is by making sure you train both feet equally. Becoming ambidextrous, or being able to use both feet, is one of the best ways to become a better player because it opens up a new dimension to your game.

Think about how much faster and better you would be able to play if you could use both feet equally? You would no longer have to rely on using your dominant foot only which would also make it harder for defenders to guard you.

This practice not only contributes to a more well-rounded skill set but also minimizes the risk of developing imbalances, which may lead to injuries over time. Stop and think for a minute again.

If you only use one foot to kick, one foot will get really good at balancing and planting and the other one will get good at kicking, but not at doing the opposite action, which is why working both feet is one of the most important things you can do for overall development.

Do barefoot juggling everyday

Another one of the best ways to improve your juggling abilities, besides using both feet, is to juggle with both feet but barefoot. Barefoot juggling enhances coordination, balance, strength, body control, and ball control much better than with cleats because the absence of cleats allows for a more direct connection with the ground and the ball.

Even spending just 5-10 minutes barefoot juggling every day will add up in the long term and allow you to get in so many quality touches with the ball. Many of the world’s best players grew up playing barefoot all throughout their childhood and this way of training can help you “become one with the ball.”

Also, when you spend time barefoot on natural land you get the benefits of grounding therapy, which can improve mitochondrial function, sleep, and recovery. Being barefoot has so many benefits far beyond just the physical and mental benefits.

Practice Juggling with various parts of the body

To improve your overall ball control and juggling skills it is also important to practice juggling using various body parts such as thighs, chest, head, and shoulders. You can spend time individually working on each body part, such as juggling for three minutes with feet only, then thighs only, etc, or you can set up a timer and simply juggle using any body part you’d like.

How to Juggle a Soccer Ball

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Soccer Juggling Drills and Progressions

Now that you have read over a few tips to improve your juggling skills, I recommend watching the clip above of Diego Maradona, arguably the best professional soccer player of all time, juggling the ball so that you can see what the epitome of effortless ball control looks like.

Start with the ball at your hands if you have to

For beginners taking their initial steps into the world of soccer juggling you can start with the ball in your hands to get familiar with the weight and feel for the ball.

  • Start with the ball at about chest height.
  • Drop the ball and before the ball hits the ground kick the ball with your dominant foot and catch it
  • Repeat this with both feet until it becomes easy and you get comfortable with this movement.

To progress you can

  • Start with the ball at about chest height.
  • Drop the ball and let the ball bounce once
  • As the ball drops again use your dominant kicking foot to kick the ball up in the air
  • Catch the ball with your hands and keep repeating this process
  • Make sure you switch feet so that you train both

One Foot Focus

Once you get comfortable jugging by starting with the ball at your hands you can move on to a more advanced progression. For this one you can start with the ball in your hands or on the floor and all you are going to do is keep the ball in the air using one foot only.

You can start with your non-dominant foot, since this will be harder, and then do your dominant foot last. Also, make sure to challenge yourself and kick the ball at different heights. For example, for one minute kick the ball at knee height, then the next minute kick the ball at chest height, and finally kick the ball above your head for a more advanced drill, although this may take time to build up to.

Alternate Feet

Next, transition into a drill that alternates between your left and right foot. Juggle the ball with your dominant foot, then smoothly switch to your non-dominant foot for consecutive touches without letting the ball drop.

This exercise promotes coordination and balance between both feet, essential for well-rounded soccer skills. Again, make sure you play with the height that you kick the ball at and as you get better you should be challenging yourself to kick the ball higher and higher while maintaining it under control.

Alternate Body Parts

As you get better at juggling with both your dominant and non-dominant feet, it can be very beneficial to practice juggling with all body parts. Practice juggling with all surfaces of your feet, your thighs, your chest, shoulders, head, and anything you can think of besides your hands.

Free Juggling

Free juggling, or freestyle juggling, is exactly what it sounds like. Be free with the ball and try to manipulate it in as many ways as you can. This is where your creativity comes in as you can get as creative as you’d like to learn juggling tricks, such as the around the world, or you can keep it simple and challenge yourself by kicking the ball higher and higher and alternating feet.

Think back to the Diego Maradona video above. Be free with the ball, try new tricks, and always challenge yourself to control it at different heights.

Wall Juggling

Finding a wall can also be very beneficial as a wall can act like a training partner that never gets tired. For this drill simply set up a timer for about 5-10 minutes and juggle with a ball without letting the ball drop.

Again get as creative as you’d like and challenge yourself by getting further and further from the wall, kicking the ball higher, using different sides of the wall, or even doing this drill barefoot. If you don’t have a wall you may be able to find a soccer rebounder to help improve your juggling skills.

How to Juggle a Soccer Ball Image by Manu Mangalassery

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

What is the Easiest Way to Juggle a Soccer Ball?

The easiest way to juggle a soccer ball is by starting with the ball in your hands at about chest height, dropping the ball, kickin it, catching it, and repeating this process until you get very comfortable. Over time try to do multiple kicks before catching it and eventually move on to pick the ball up with your feet instead of starting with it in your hands.

How many times should I be able to juggle a soccer ball?

There is no specific number that soccer players should be able to juggle to, but the truth is at the professional level and even at the collegiate level, players should be able to juggle comfortably to at least 100 without dropping the ball.

Conclusion

Juggling a soccer ball is one of the most basic skills that all players should focus on improving because the skills you gain from juggling the ball translate to many other skills such as passing and controlling the ball.

In this blog, I explained what the art of juggling a soccer ball is, I provided you with helpful tips to improve your juggling skills, as well as provided drills and progression for juggling drills you can start doing today.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a soccer ball, your cleats or simply your bare feet, head outside, and use the tips on this list to start juggling, become a good juggler, and even break your old juggling record.

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