Don’t be a player that thinks “Juggling is a waste of time.”
Juggling will help you improve every area of your game. Every player should juggle regularly.
This article will cover a few benefits of juggling, teach you how to juggle, and provide tips that will make you an expert.
3 Benefits of Juggling
1. Improves ball control
I know players that seem to have the ball glued to their feet. They almost never lose control of the ball and tackling them is almost impossible without fouling.
I ask these players “what’s your juggling record?” They report numbers in the hundreds or thousands. This is no coincidence – juggling improves ball control.
I know this on a personal level. One summer I decided to focus on juggling. I started at 1000 nonconsecutive juggles a day and worked up to 5000.
My ball control drastically improved. It improved more from juggling than ball control drills (still very helpful).
2. Helps you receive the ball
Juggling will improve your first touch. You will keep the ball closer when you receive it – whether the ball is played on the ground or in the air.
If you don’t have a partner to pass with, juggling is the best way to improve your first touch
3. Develop comfort with the ball
When I focused on juggling I felt more comfortable dribbling, passing, shooting, and receiving the ball.
Other players I talked to reported the same thing. It’s a hard concept to explain; you have to experience it for yourself to understand.
Added comfort with the ball improves your game and confidence. It makes juggling worth the time and effort.
Starting to Juggle
Throw the ball in the air, let it bounce once, kick it up, then catch it.
Alternate feet. Get used to alternating feet with each juggle. Developing both feet equally will greatly improve your skill on the field.
Once you get the hang of it repeat the process but try to get two juggles before catching the ball.
Repeat the process until you can do 10 juggles (5 with each foot) before the ball touches the ground.
Getting to ten juggles may take days of practice. Keep at it.
Now you can learn how to juggle without using your hands to throw the ball.
Start with the ball in front of you. Pull the ball back then pop it up with the same foot. Use your foot to scoop the ball into the air.
Start juggling the ball after you pop it up. This takes practice to get right but you’ll soon master it.
Now you can juggle the ball without using your hands or letting it bounce. That’s all you need to know to start practicing the skill.
9 Soccer Juggling Tips
1. Move past frustration
Juggling can be frustrating. You will “fail” over and over again.
Every great juggler pushed through these frustrating moments.
If you start getting angry remember this “Juggling skill takes a long time to develop, but you will achieve your goals if you pesevere.”
I never believed I would get to 1000+ juggles. It seemed impossible. But I kept moving past all the frustrating failures and reached my goal.
You will become a great juggler if you keep trying. Keep putting in the time and effort.
2. You will have a breakthrough
It will seem like you are making little to no progress.
Some days you may even think you are getting worse.
Don’t worry. If you keep persevering (see tip 1) you will have a breakthrough. You may struggle to get 50 juggles in a row for months then suddenly get over 100 juggles.
Trust me, you will have a breakthrough if you keep going.
3. Kick the ball high
Switch things up when you get good at juggling.
Try kicking the ball high into the air then resuming normal juggling (don’t let the ball hit the ground).
Also try “touch juggling.” Barely touch the ball each juggle. The ball should be in the air for a very short amount of time before touching your foot.
4. Use different parts of the feet
Juggling shouldn’t be limited to the top of your feet.
Try juggling the ball with the outside and inside of your foot to develop these touches.
It takes practice but it will soon be second nature. I can juggle the ball with the inside of my feet almost as good as the tops of my feet.
5. Use your thigh and head
Using the thigh to juggle the ball is easy. Players shouldn’t count touches with the thigh as a “juggle” when setting records.
Having said that, try practicing with your thigh occasionally. Master the touch so you can use the thigh to control aerial passes.
Use your head too. Use weak headers to juggle the ball. You won’t use headers to control the ball in games but juggling with your head will improve your heading ability.
6. Use backspin to improve
Hit the back of the ball to create backspin.
Backspin makes juggling easier. It helps you get into a rhythm.
7. Stop counting consecutive juggles
If you want to improve your juggling ability fast, forget about breaking your juggling record.
Instead, set a goal for a total number of nonconsecutive juggles. Promise yourself that you won’t stop juggling until you reach that number.
This goal will keep you motivated to continue, even if you are having an off-day.
It’s a great alternative to keeping track of consecutive juggles.
You won’t get as frustrated because every juggle counts towards your goal. You won’t get angry when you mess up after only a few juggles or mess up right before reaching your previous record.
8. Juggle with a friend
Juggling with a friend (or multiple friends) is fun and great for developing juggling ability.
I think I improve more when juggling with a friend then alone. It’s harder to control the ball so you improve quicker.
There are multiple ways to juggle with a friend.
Try choosing a max number before you start juggling. You have to stop and start over if one of you goes over or under that number.
Try shouting out a number when you kick the ball to your friend. For example, if you shout “5” your friend has to touch the ball exactly 5 times before kicking it to you.
Try limiting juggling to headers only.
Try kicking the ball high in the air each time you kick it to a friend.
9. Play soccer tennis
Playing soccer tennis with a group or a friend is an excellent way to improve your juggling ability.
Read our article, How to Play Soccer Tennis for more information.