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Who says tricks are for kids? If you watch some of the best players in the world they’re all of course masters of the fundamentals of soccer, but they also love to do the unexpected.
In the videos below you can see Ronaldinho use his back to pass the ball to a teammate or Blanco use his ass to pass the ball. Yes, he uses his back side to pass the ball. It's genius.
It’s these soccer tricks or soccer moves that can lift a team and change games at times. It's the surprise that might inspire a team if a player pulls off the unexpected. How many times have you seen a clever back heel catch a defender off guard and the other team score? It's those plays that lift a team if they are down, and many times, enable a team to get back into the game.
No Circus Acts
However, it’s not about becoming a circus act. Don't do too many soccer moves or soccer tricks. There's a time and a place for the move or trick - in the attacking third of the field and when there's little risk of a counter attack.
Take Cristiano Ronaldo for instance, when he first starting playing for Manchester United there was some worry that he was full of too many tricks and didn’t play simple soccer, but that changed rather quickly. Ronaldo learned to do the tricks and moves, all those step overs, at the right moments in the game. Ronaldo learned to play smart soccer when it was called for. And, to top it all off, he started smashing in goals, which is really all that matters.
Soccer tricks sometimes require a certain flexibility and freedom of movement. This you can learn how Roger Spry, who has revolutionized that game of soccer with his flexibility routines and agility work. Techniques that help you reach for those high balls, control the ball when you’re failing down, or do the unexpected. Why not try something different and not do the same predictable thing time and time again?
Soccer tricks also help build your own confidence and creativity and lead to other moves or tricks. I'm all for doing something that some say you won’t use in a game, not excessively, you want to be a soccer player and not a juggler, but if those soccer tricks lead to other moves and make you more comfortable on the ball, then there’s nothing wrong with that. That one trick could lead to another move that is perfect for that one moment in a game where you can only reach the ball with your heel or flick the ball with the outside of your foot.
In the end, the ability to make the ball do what you want is what it's all about. Making the ball go this way or that, while the opponent thinks or is assuming something entirely different. The old magic of: now you see it, now you don't.
Element of Surprise
Overall, soccer tricks are about successfully doing the unexpected and the unorthodox, where the trick helps your team, which is the most important thing.
Again, the trick could be a back heel pass, a flick, a unique turn, a surprise shot, or an amazing step over, but what they all have in common is they catch the other team off guard. Of course, you're not going to try to back heel the ball in your own defensive third, but you might try it in the attacking third to surprise the defenders and set your teammate up for a shot. One again, the tricks and moves in the right part of the field and the right moment in the game. You don’t want to try that trick when you’re up 1-0 late in the game, but you might try it if you're losing and it could lead to a goal scoring chance.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with practicing soccer tricks and moves over and over again, but don’t get away from the fundamentals of the game, and remember that smashing in goals is what it’s all about.
Next: Learn more about control, dribbling moves and first touch at these pages: skills and control, moves and more, and attacking the ball.