Some might say you don't need to know how to juggle the soccer ball in order play the game of soccer at a high level. Some might ask, like kids in a high school math class, how or when do you actually use juggling in a real soccer game?
But take a look at some of these examples of juggling in real games. See how juggling is used by some of the best players in the game of soccer. Have you ever scored a goal after juggling the ball on your thigh a few times like Inter Milan defender Maicon? Take a look at this juggling skill by the Brazilian defender if you don't think juggling is used in a game.
Take Mario Stanic, who juggles the ball a few times before he volleys the ball into the back of the net when he played for Chelsea. And then there's Robinho, who simply juggles the ball up and over the head of a defender, a sombrero, in his first game for Real Madrid a few years ago. Finally, there's Maxi Rodriguez volley, where he controls the ball on his chest before blasting the ball into the back of the net. These are all examples of juggling the ball in a soccer game.
Often, when just starting out and learning how to juggle, it can seem almost impossible to keep the ball up in the air. But as you've heard numerous times before, you need to practice and practice and practice. Soon enough, things will start to click and you can build from one juggle, to two juggles, to ten, and on up to fifty touches and beyond, with the ball in the air.
Start by kicking the ball into your hands, dropping the ball down to your feet and kicking the ball back up to your hands. Then do two juggles with your feet before sending it back up to the hands. Then do three and four. Then try alternating from your right foot to your left. As you go along, it will become easier and easier and you'll gain control of the ball and make the ball do what you want it to do. Again, work on alternating from right to left - maybe twice with the right and then once with the left or four with the left and then two with the right. Or, if it's easier for you, let the ball bounce and then hit it back up in the air.
The main goal is to be able to juggle back and forth from your right foot to your left. Then kick the ball higher into the air while you’re juggling, and then lower and then higher. Have fun with the ball as you grow accustomed to using all the different surfaces of your feet as well as other parts of your body to control the ball. Incorporate more parts as you improve (e.g. foot to head to thigh, back to foot to head again).
Take a look at Manchester City winger Adam Johnson as he shows you some juggling tricks.
Make the Ball Do What You Want It To Do
Go in a cycle: Left and then right foot, then right thigh and then left thigh, and then hitting the ball up to your head and back down to your right foot and then left and so on. Make up various cycles that you have to go through, choosing where the ball goes, and not just keeping the ball up in the air in a desperate effort, but manipulating the ball on your terms. It’s not about how many times you can juggle, but making the ball go where you want it to. It's about being in control of the ball.
Later, try to manipulate the ball even more. Aim for kicking the ball away from you to the right and then away from you to the left while you're juggling. Kick the ball out at a slight angle in the air, almost like you’re faking going to the right and then the left, but all in the air. To do this, it helps to lean your body to the side in which you are kicking the ball. Kick the ball out to the right then back towards the inside with the right foot, turn your foot slightly as you kick the ball with the top part of the foot. Then try this with your left foot, all the while keeping the ball up in the air.
Next, try walking and juggling with the ball. See if you can juggle the ball to the half way line or the other side of the field. Afterwards, try jogging and juggling the ball in the air at the same time. It might seem hard in the beginning, but you just need to find the right rhythm, alternating the ball with each step as you jog along. Slowly try to pick up speed as you improve.
Can you juggle the soccer ball while you're sitting on the ground like Brazil's Robinho?
Juggling helps you get a good feel for the ball and improve your ability to strike the ball on the volley. And it will not only help you with hitting the ball on the volley, but in general, juggling helps you get more accustomed to using all the different surfaces of your feet. Juggling helps you get creative and used to using all parts of your feet when you're playing in a real game.
Slowly but surely you'll find yourself using all the surfaces of your feet in games, ones you normally don't use. Say a long ball is played to you, but it's a bit behind you, maybe you use the outside of your foot to control the ball or strike the ball directly with the outside of your foot to a teammate or on goal rather than stopping and controlling the ball.
Watch and Learn
From Ronaldo to Robinho to a host of promising footballers, here are some expert jugglers and players. Take a look at the video below.
Wall Ball Juggling
Knock the ball up in the air against the wall with the inside of your foot. Later, try this same drill with the instep. This a good drill to work on volleying the ball, whether it's to make a pass, clear the ball or shoot.
Don't let the ball bounce more than once and keep track of how many times you can hit the ball against the wall in one touch with just one bounce. The key is to move your feet and adjust your body to strike the ball just after it bounces. Vary the amount of power you hit the ball with, try hitting the ball softly a few times and then hit the ball harder. Try hitting the ball low against the wall and then higher up. Challenge yourself and make this harder once you get the hang of it. For example, are you equally as good at this with your weaker foot?