We have been hearing soccer enthusiasts over the years ask if learning juggling is important for soccer players since they rarely use it on the pitch. Aside from freestyle soccer players, other variants of soccer players hardly display their juggling skills on the pitch.
Juggling might not seem like an essential skill for soccer players but coaches see a lot of potential in it which is why they insist on using it during training sessions. Aside from making soccer more entertaining, juggling does a lot of good for soccer players.
Juggling improves the concentration level of soccer players. Players who have mastered juggling can control balls effectively without much difficulty no matter the speed or angle the ball might be approaching from.
Spinning balls traveling at high speed can often be very difficult to control if you aren’t familiar with juggling. Jugglers have more confidence with ball control because they can control balls with many unfamiliar parts of their bodies.
Soccer balls will hardly catch you unawares on the pitch if you know how to juggle balls because while juggling balls, you train the brain on how to bring balls under control using different methods.
So, does juggling have any positive effect on soccer players? Keep on reading to find out. In this article, we will be unraveling the basic benefits of juggling.
- How important is juggling in soccer?
- How many juggles should a soccer player do?
How important is juggling in soccer?
Juggling in soccer seems to be underrated even though it has very strong effects on soccer players’ overall gameplay. From studies, we discovered that players who juggle often are good at dribbling and can also run very fast when compared to players who juggle less.
For example, Jay Jay Okocha who was famous for his dribbling skills often entertained fans by juggling the ball on the pitch while the opponent watched helplessly. He garnered many fans who tuned in to his games just to see him perform one of his remarkable dribbles.
It is also important for soccer players to learn how to juggle because most times on TV commercials featuring soccer players, they are often expected to do bits of juggling for the camera.
Soccer players who don’t know how to juggle might lose big marketing contracts to other players who do. Although it is very rare to find soccer players who can’t juggle doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
If you are one of those asking “Why can’t I juggle a soccer ball?”, have a look at this post for answers.
Thankfully, juggling is a skill that any soccer player that is willing can learn. All you need to do is start by practicing daily. While practicing, always set feasible goals which you can exponentially increase every day.
It might seem very difficult initially but with time, you will be accustomed to it and you will find yourself improving in ways you never expected. Starting with simple juggles is always better.
Use only your feet without involving other parts of the body allowed by the Laws of the Game. Only involve other body parts when you have mastered the use of your feet.
It is no doubt that the best players soccer has ever produced are all good at juggling. Juggling improves timing, touch, spatial understanding, balance, motor coordination, leg strength, body control, confidence, and also increases soccer players’ affinity with the ball.
Juggling is not just about suspending soccer balls in the air for the longest period. It looks at certain factors such as high and low touches, the total number of touches per minute, and your ability to skillfully manipulate the ball.
Nikolai Kutsenko from Ukraine on December 6th, 1995, set the record for the longest juggle (24 hours and 30 minutes) in history. It took many years of practice for him to be able to achieve this record.
One of the basic perks of juggling is that it doesn’t incur further costs to practice it effectively because all you would be needing is a properly inflated soccer ball. The best part is that it can be done both indoors and outdoors without any difficulties.
Below is a compilation of the numerous reasons why soccer players often engage in juggling, even though they hardly juggle balls while on the soccer pitch.
Juggling develops flexibility
Flexibility is a crucial trait in soccer because it makes playing it a whole lot easier. Being rigid is not good for athletes even when you are engaging in high-contact sports like wrestling and boxing.
Juggling aids in loosening stiff joints and also assists soccer players in becoming more flexible in no time. Flexible players usually find it easier to dribble during matches.
Soccer players who have hopes of playing professionally in big leagues usually engage in juggling because they want to be generally competent at all levels in case they finally get signed by big clubs.
Knowing that juggling makes people flexible should be one of your major motivations for practicing it even when it doesn’t interest you as a soccer player. Always start simple and improve from there.
Flexible soccer players hardly get injured easily because of their admirable fluidity and dexterity on the pitch. It is also easier to deceive your opponent with your body movements when you are flexible.
You can easily evade an opponent’s attacks when you are flexible and your intended moves can hardly be deciphered compared to when you are stiff.
It keeps players happy and motivated
When players juggle, they tend to forget about all their fears and anxieties because juggling keeps them centered and driven.
Soccer is a game that requires numerous difficult training and drills but since juggling sometimes looks less serious, players often use it in relaxing their nerves.
There are numerous ways to spice up juggling and make it more fun, unlike most soccer exercises which are less pleasurable. You can jazz up juggling by using only your non-dominant foot to discover how long you can last while doing it.
Another pleasant way of making juggling more interesting is by juggling with a partner with whom you casually compete to see who will outshine the other. This way of juggling makes it more fun but also makes it a bit more challenging and competitive.
Sometimes, if there are enough balls and willing players, you can form large teams and compete on who will outjuggle the rest of the team. You guys can even go as far as setting a price for the winner of the challenge to make it more intense.
You can also juggle the ball and try balancing it on your head or shoulder for a little while like freestyle soccer players before continuing juggling. It makes it more fun and less straining, unlike some monotonous soccer exercises.
Some soccer players draw a large circle on the floor and try juggling within its confines just to keep it more interesting and improve their balance in the process.
Juggling can be fun because it can be done while on the move and you can set targets using distances that you should try beating every time you juggle.
Juggling improves your leg’s strength
Soccer players often have skinny legs but that doesn’t mean their skinny legs are not strong. Players often need to find ways of strengthening their leg muscles using physical exercises so they can generate more power which will be channeled into taking shots and sprints.
With stronger legs in soccer, you can easily retrieve balls from opponents and also dribble past them with added ease. You can also give more accurate passes and take better shots on target if your legs are properly developed.
Juggling has often been linked with strengthening leg muscles by professionals in soccer. To play soccer effectively and optimally your leg muscles need to be properly developed—albeit this will not happen overnight.
Most soccer players often have a dominant leg which they use most in taking shots and giving passes. Only a few soccer players use both of their legs equally while playing.
Whether you use both of your legs equally or not, you can always train them to be stronger by doing something as interesting as juggling.
Juggling gives your legs added stamina. By gaining more stamina, your endurance level will also increase drastically.
Improves your touch
To have a refined touch in soccer, you must perfect your ball control and also have a good command of the soccer ball. It takes a lot of time and effort to be able to attain this feat. However, once you have a fine touch in soccer, your style of play will improve.
By being a good juggler, you can gradually refine your touch on the ball until you have gotten a hang of it. Juggling helps you have a better understanding and communication with the soccer ball, unlike other exercises.
As you juggle consistently, you will begin to understand various ways in which soccer balls respond to touch. You will sequentially become conversant with the various ways of positioning yourself while trying to control all kinds of balls including spinning and fast-moving balls.
Making brilliant touches in soccer becomes easier when you know how to juggle effortlessly. If you know how to juggle, you can adequately control aerial balls and even give accurate passes even when you are surrounded by opponents.
Juggling balls will equip you with all the essential ways in which you can successfully control balls during matches, even when they are passed to you at odd angles. If your intention in soccer is to expand your knowledge of making good touches, you must embrace juggling and practice it daily.
It is often said that an athlete without balance is like a building without a foundation. To be able to compete sufficiently as a soccer player, you must have a good balance above every other characteristic.
Having a good balance as a soccer player doesn’t happen overnight. Juggling over a long period can help improve your poise on the soccer pitch.
Having a good balance in soccer will give you leverage over your counterparts and you will also enjoy playing the game because only a few people will be able to challenge your strides on the pitch.
Developing your balance as a soccer player can help you in shooting balls accurately while at high speed, changing directions with ease, and maintaining possession of the ball even under immense pressure from opponents.
To fit properly into a soccer team without always being benched by the coach, you must strive to develop your stamina and balance. Juggling consistently will help you develop a good balance when in possession of the soccer ball.
Juggling trains your ball control and timing
Soccer is a sport where ball control and timing are a big deal. Players who have good control of the ball and are accurate with time are always ranked amongst the best in the sport.
Playing soccer goes beyond just hitting balls around the pitch and expecting goals. Knowing when and how to make crucial decisions on the pitch matters a lot and it can either make or mar your soccer career.
Juggling doesn’t only condition you on how to efficiently control balls, it also trains you on how to time your actions on the pitch, especially when it comes to scoring goals and giving passes.
Players who know how to juggle balls are also able to time their touches accurately and control their bodies to properly align with their intended style of play.
Concentration is very crucial in soccer—a second of distraction can be costly for a team, especially in the defense. A high level of concentration makes you highly dependable because everybody begins to believe that you will always deliver quality results when given the ball.
Being physically, emotionally, and mentally present during soccer matches can often be very difficult, especially when you have pressing issues weighing you down and preventing you from thinking straight.
Knowing how to concentrate during matches will not automatically make you win games but it will go a long way in helping you focus on creating chances.
Juggling is amongst the most viable ways of increasing your concentration as a soccer player and the best part remains that it can be done anywhere.
Professional soccer players who are very good at juggling balls for long hours without letting them touch the ground can successfully do this because they have disciplined themselves to remain concentrated while juggling balls.
Concentration takes more discipline than training, and juggling helps you stay disciplined since you are working in close proximity with the soccer ball. Staying focused for the entire 90 minutes in a soccer match often begins with learning how to juggle the ball 100 times.
We all know that a little confidence can do a whole lot of magic, not just in soccer but in other aspects of life as well. People who lack confidence are limited to a greater extent in life compared to people with a lot of confidence.
Soccer is a mental game as much as it is physical. Sometimes, the confidence that a team brings into the pitch intimidates their opponents into making mistakes.
With enough confidence, you can trick people into believing that you are a good soccer player even when you don’t possess the required skills. Good players who lack confidence will always disappoint their teams by performing below their capacity.
Being good at juggling can help in increasing your confidence level and making you more worthwhile in the eyes of your coach.
Juggling soccer balls requires players to be creative and creativity often comes with a bit of confidence. Ball juggling also makes you more conversant with the ball which also boosts confidence.
Creative players are always sorted after because they know how to create chances even when playing against the toughest opponents. Creative players to date, remain the most decorated players in soccer.
If you are a soccer player suffering from dwindling confidence, start juggling and see how much it transforms your game.
Improve your aerial control
Controlling balls on the ground seems easy until they start traveling up in the air where extra effort is required to bring them under control. Soccer players who don’t know how to control aerial balls usually encounter a lot of problems.
One soccer player that has mastered how to control aerial balls is Neymar. If you would like to play like Neymar, have a look at this guide.
Good coaches usually emphasize training players on various ways of controlling aerial balls, knowing that it is often very difficult to master. By mastering your aerial control of soccer balls, you can easily convert freekicks and corner kicks into brilliant goals.
Including juggling in drills can help soccer players improve their aerial control of balls. The sole aim of juggling is to keep a ball in the air by any legal means once it is kicked off the ground.
Create goalscoring spaces
When a player wants to hit a shot at the goal, the opposing defenders will usually slide to block the shot. A player that is skilled at juggling can elevate the ball and juggle a bit to find an opening to hit their shot.
We have seen soccer players juggle the ball before hitting a beautiful bicycle kick. Some stunning goals or goalscoring chances have emerged from juggling.
Inasmuch as soccer players rarely juggle the ball on match day, Cristiano Ronaldo is one player that has used juggling effectively in creating chances for his team and evading defenders.
How many juggles should a soccer player do?
The number of juggles required from soccer players is not static. Players who are not yet good at juggling can always do a fewer number of juggles per day until they get a hold of the technicalities involved in juggling.
Age grade also matters when trying to fix a number of juggles required from soccer players. Below is a breakdown of the desired number of juggles expected from soccer players based on their age.
|Age||Number of Juggles|
|6 to 7 years old||3-5 juggles and 10+ for skilled players|
|8 years old||5-10 juggles and 25+ for skilled players|
|9 years old||10+ juggles for both amateur and skilled players|
|10 years old||10-20 juggles and 25-50 for skilled players|
|11 years old||15-25 juggles and 50-100 for skilled players|
|12-14 years old||50+ juggles for both amateur and skilled players|
|15 years old and above||100+ juggles for both amateur and skilled players|
Many soccer players can do 200 juggles and above but they often are only able to use their strong foot and thigh. Professional soccer players can easily alternate feet while juggling and can even balance balls on their heads without much difficulty.
When you talk about juggling in association football, some fans and even soccer players might attack your opinions because they don’t usually entertain the idea of fancy tricks in soccer.
Some might even go as far as telling you that association football is not freestyle soccer where tricks are important.
Who says soccer players can’t be good at fancy tricks and still play soccer excellently? We often fail to realize that juggling is not just done for fun and entertainment. Soccer players who juggle frequently during training are very good at ball control.
It is good to practice juggling daily as a soccer player if you want to excel in the sport. Juggling doesn’t require much from you even though it has a lot to offer if you engage in it daily.
Regardless of what soccer players and fans may think about juggling, any trick that helps a soccer player to advance their performance is always welcomed.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!