Freestyle soccer is usually about combining juggling, different soccer tricks, and ground moves. Plus, it involves a lot of ball control that is as essential as tactics and fitness to every soccer player. And a soccer player’s ability to control the ball speaks of his experience.
However, many soccer players usually ignore freestyle soccer because most of the tricks associated with it are generally difficult to execute. Plus, most players perceive it as having little importance to modern soccer.
Though true, freestyle soccer can help every soccer player to control the ball better. The better part of it is that soccer freestyle can be performed while sitting or standing on the ground; it can be done anywhere and in any place.
Generally, you need a space and a ball to start soccer freestyle. But, if you want to become a good freestyler, you have to practice or train regularly and have patience as practicing freestyle is not a simple one.
So, how to start soccer freestyle? Let’s dive in!
How To Start Soccer Freestyle?
When a soccer player learns freestyle, improvement is usually seen in his first touches because of enhanced ball control. And having an excellent first touch gives soccer players an edge over their opposition.
That split-second control can give you an instant change in modern games that are usually fast-paced. Typically, people that love freestyle soccer see it as a way of improving their ball control and expressing creativity.
However, a lot of people are usually discouraged because of the difficulty that is attached to learning freestyle soccer. A significant reason for this is that they do not know where to start, especially after watching various freestyle videos from streaming sites such as YouTube.
After watching players performing various complicated tricks, they become disillusioned with freestyle soccer. Therefore, they see it as a difficult sport while they neglect that you have to start from the basics.
So, let’s dive in and discover some of the methods (both physical and psychological) that you can use to start freestyle soccer.
Usually, soccer freestyling tends to be more physical than a psychological approach; nevertheless, that doesn’t dismay the latter. So, what are the physical ways to get started in soccer freestyling, let’s see them.
1. Get a freestyle shoe and a ball
You need a good shoe and a ball to be able to train freestyle soccer. So buying a shoe is the first step that you should take to start learning soccer freestyle. Ask the community of freestylers for some of the best shoes that you can get to begin.
However, you have to ensure that your shoes are not over-tightened, high and that they do not have thick seams because different freestyle categories have other balls used.
Generally, freestyle balls are pretty different from the regular ones, as freestyle calls are made to have grips that can attach to the clothes of the freestyler. This helps the players to make various technical gestures.
2. Train and practice your skills
You have to practice your skills if you wish to start soccer freestyle. You have to consistently train and practice to improve yourself because others are not waiting for you.
Therefore it is necessary that you keep training and practicing your skills repeatedly so you won’t be left behind. Typically, training improves the mastery of your skills, and it helps you to enhance your tricks further.
Training your skills would make you proficient as long as you follow the correct procedure. It is therefore important that you believe in yourself and keep training.
While training, you also have to ensure that you have a training schedule. Why? Having a training schedule allows you to lay out your goals and objectives and helps you organize yourself.
Organizing your training sessions will help you know the trick to work on and what not to work on. It also gives you direction in your focus on ground dribbling, upper neck blocks, lower air moves, sitting juggling, and much more.
3. Practice juggling
Juggling is an essential factor in starting freestyle soccer. To practice juggling, you have to get a ball that is not too pumped, then perform kick-ups while ensuring that the ball does not fall to the ground.
This freestyle skill will improve your leg speeds and ball control. After much practice, you can also expand the ball to various parts of your body like the head, shoulder, thigh, or feet.
You have to link your juggling skills to various parts of your body. For example, juggle the ball from your feet to your head and then to your thigh. Start with simple moves, then move into advanced movements, like the example above.
You should practice juggling for an hour each day for a month. And you will most likely find yourself proficient in juggling and performing 100 kept-ups without sweat after your practice.
4. Practice freestyle skills
Freestyle skills are the aim of freestyle soccer, and they differentiate the average Joe from the professional soccer freestyle. Generally, there are different freestyle skills that you can practice.
When starting soccer freestyle, start with some basic freestyle skills, then move into advanced ones as you progress. Below are some of the soccer freestyle skills that you can practice to get started.
- The knee catch
This is one of the easiest tricks that can be learned quickly, and it also needs little practice. To start, juggle the ball like normal, then kick it high. When it comes down, catch it between your knees and thigh area.
The knee catch creates a spectacular sight, especially when the viewers think the ball would bounce, but you catch it. After catching the ball with your knees, you can continue juggling the ball or move on to other skills.
- Around the world
Around the world is a fundamental trick in soccer freestyle. The trick is performed by flicking the ball up, going around it, and beginning juggling after you are done with it. You need a lot of patience and speed before you can practice this skill.
After performing the skill motion, you can try going fast as possible. Then, practice for an hour every day to become proficient in “The Around the World” trick. Finally, though it is harder than juggling, you can perform the trick from juggling.
- The rainbow
This is another easy novelty freestyle skill that Ronaldinho often used. You can perform it by placing the ball between your feet. Then, after the ball is packed, use your weaker feet to move the ball towards your other leg.
When the ball gets to your heel region, you flick the ball with your stronger foot and catch it mid-air. After catching it, walk with the ball clenched between your feet. It helps in increasing your ball control.
- Hop the world
Hop the world is another basic soccer freestyle skill. It is done by hopping and flicking the ball high by making use of your weaker feet. When the ball comes down, you then encircle the ball with your stronger feet.
Then meet the ball from your base then you start juggling the ball again. However, you have to practice the encircling part a lot of times so you can get accustomed to it.
The headstall is a superb move in soccer. It involves trapping the ball on your head and keeping it still. To do a headstall, first, use your forehead.
The aim is for the ball to remain on your forehead. This means you must move around a lot to maintain balance. Keep your knees locked so you can move side to side with ease.
For the ball to remain on your forehead, you must lean back. If you lean front, the ball will fall. Unless you’re a magician or your forehead has natural adhesive. The purpose of leaning back is so the ball can balance on your head.
Now, getting the ball to your head is the interesting part. You do this with your foot. Place the ball on foot you are most comfortable with then kick it up into the air. You can juggle the ball for a bit to make it look cooler. Once you kick the ball high enough, catch it with your head.
This is when you begin stalling. Combine the tips listed above; keep your knees locked, head bent and move side to side. Do this for as long as you can. Look, you’re stalling!
The trick is to catch the ball with your neck and keep it there. But, first, you must master the correct body position.
Keep your waist bent at 90 degrees. Then, look upwards, creating an angle between your head and neck. This will help keep the ball balanced. And don’t forget to move around as you do this.
Now, as always, start by juggling the ball with your feet. When you kick the ball high enough, catch it with the back of your neck. Make sure you’re in the correct position as you do this.
- T-shirt trick
This trick is fascinating. It involves using your t-shirt to catch the ball. To achieve this, you first have to wear an oversized shirt.
Then, you start by juggling the ball, then kicking it high. Once it gets to your chest level, catch it with your shirt. Do this by lifting the neck of your shirt to accommodate the ball.
- Plant the ball
Planting the ball is a skill that allows you to balance the soccer ball on any part of your body just the same way you do on your foot. And this skill is started by placing the ball at your feet.
After you have mastered planting the ball on your feet, then during juggling, try placing the ball on other parts of your body. You could, for example, juggle the ball with your foot, then transfer the ball to your chest, then to your thigh, and finally balance again with your foot.
A footstall, like every other type of stalling, requires making the ball stay. Only this time, you’re doing it with your foot. As usual, make sure you use your strong foot. You will be balancing the ball between the tip of your foot and your shin.
To achieve this, place your foot on the ground with your toes facing up. Now, to get the ball on your foot, flick it from the ground. It should land between your toes and shin.
Next, lift your foot in the air with the ball in that position. Then, maintain the balance of the ball, and you are stalling! Once you’ve perfected this, try transitioning from juggling to footstall.
In this technique, your leg is going behind the ball. While standing on your weaker foot, bring your stronger foot across. Then, start hopping and kick the ball up.
Cross your stronger foot between the ball and the weaker foot as you hop. Once you’re perfect, start again with juggling this time.
This trick starts with placing the ball between your ankles. Then roll it to the outer part of your weak foot while securing it between your feet. This will make your strong foot cross at your back.
Let the ball roll down, then roll it back up your shin and flick it into the air.
- Mirror ATW
This trick is only possible when you master the around-the-world trick. This is doing the opposite around the world. After performing around the world, perform “inside” the world. You are mirroring the movements of the ATW.
This way, you are moving your foot around the ball in an inward motion.
Raise your stronger foot in the air and bend your knees 90 degrees. This technique requires you to balance the ball on your bent knees. While doing this, the foot you are standing on should bend a little. Maintain balance and repeat till you get the hang of it.
Of course, don’t forget to start with a juggle once you’ve learned the trick.
The crossover, unlike an x-over, involves crossing around the ball, not behind it. When you let the ball drop from your hands, move your strong foot around it. Do not let the ball touch the ground.
While your strong foot moves around it, hop up and kick the ball back up with your weak foot. Practice till you are perfect. Now start juggling the ball and transition to a crossover.
This is using the back of your neck to toss the ball and catch it with your neck too. It is like a neck stall with a twist; once you’ve achieved a neck stall, toss the ball up while maintaining that position. Let it land on your neck again and return to a neck stall. Repeat this process.
- Shoulder spin
This trick is a little bit difficult. But don’t let it discourage you. You need more practice. Here’s how to do it: juggle the ball with your foot, knees, and forehead.
Flick the ball and let it land on your shoulder-neck area; make sure you bend while doing this. Spread your arms out wide and lean towards the right. When the ball rolls towards your right arm, lean towards the left. Repeat the process, and you’re good to go!
There are many other tricks in soccer freestyle. You can even invent yours as you practice. After all, what is a freestyle without creativity?
Now that we have mastered the physical methods let us look at some psychological methods. These methods help put you in the right frame of mind.
The first thing to note while practicing a freestyle is the stages of skill acquisition. These are the stages your mind goes through till you finally learn freestyle.
1. Cognitive Stage
This is the stage where your brain first gets introduced to the skill. After that, it is the processing and adjusting period. This is the point where the skill might appear strange or difficult. At this point, go with the flow and be patient with yourself.
- Have patience
Like with every other aspect of an endeavor, you must have the patience to start freestyle soccer. Unfortunately, one of the primary reasons most people give up even before getting started properly is because they lack patience.
You have to be able to tolerate problems or delay without becoming anxious or annoyed. For example, most people would see a person on YouTube performing a freestyle skill; then they will go and give it a try neglecting the fact they haven’t trained or practiced for it.
When they cannot do it, they will complain that freestyle soccer is hard and can’t do it. Nobody was born having these skills; they trained before that got to their level of competence.
You have to learn slowly, train, and build up your skills over time. This means you have to be patient and believe that you would get to the professional level, maybe not on your first try, but eventually, you would get there. This is why patience is essential for every freestyler.
2. Associative Stage
This is the stage where you start getting used to the skill. This requires constant practice. Your brain starts to figure out the skill. This is the stage where you get satisfaction from accomplishing a part of it.
- Avoid comparison
When learning soccer freestyle, you have to avoid certain things. One of them is not to compare yourself with others. Others would be better than you; to bridge the gap, you have to work hard.
As a soccer freestyler, you have to improve, and if you constantly compare yourself with others, it might slow down your progress. Therefore while practicing to get better, ensure that you do not compare yourself with others when you improve.
You need to become better than that; that is the aim. Therefore, you have to focus on yourself so that you can increase your skill level.
Other soccer freestylers should be used as a point of benchmark or guidelines to measure your success level. This allows you to focus on your personal development.
3. Autonomous Stage
This is the point where the skill is no longer strange to you. Here, you have learned the basics of the skill. You can now focus on being liberal with it and adding your style. At this point, it is easy to get carried away. However, it is still important that you calm down and perfect your skills regardless.
- Practice to overcome the pressure
Freestyle competitions usually involve pressure; therefore, you must practice overcoming pressure. Practicing on your own is usually different from practicing in a crowd.
Some freestylers can perform every set they have been training for about nine times out of ten. But even with this, some of them usually falter and make mistakes on the competition day.
This might result from various factors, so it is crucial to find a way to overcome this pressure. One way is to adapt to the pressure.
While training, you could be strict on yourself by rehearsing under pressure to make minor mistakes. You could make use of tools like buzzer sounds or even record some strict coach voices.
The aim is to ensure that such triggers would have little chance of affecting or disrupting what you have been practicing training for when you are in competitions. In addition, it ensures that you are used to such stimuli and conditions.
As a freestyler having little experience with such competitions, such conditions can negatively affect you, even some juggling rhythms of opponents. So, you should practice mock battles with other soccer freestylers, as it will help you get used to the competitive nature of the sport.
Lastly, training with other freestyle soccer players would allow you to get your rhythm.
- Be active in the freestyle community
You have to be active in the freestyle community if you wish to improve your freestyle skills. Ask others for help and questions whenever you feel stuck.
Moreover, you could also join social media groups and social events or networks. You could get advice from freestyle stars and from coaches who might be eager to give you answers to your questions.
Plus, you have to make yourself more visible in the freestyle community to get the chance to meet more people. Shelve your fears by uploading videos of your practice to get professional advice.
Your video might be seen by someone who is a master at freestyling, and he might offer his input or give feedback on how you can improve. And you should also not be afraid of criticism; view it as a way to make the necessary changes.
The fun of freestyle soccer is at the level of elite trickeries that the sport employs. However, freestylers usually show various skills, and it takes them a long time to become proficient in these skills or tricks.
Moreover, some soccer players usually do watch freestyle soccer to help improve their game by some level. Plus, personally practicing basic freestyle soccer skills also helps in enhancing some difficult soccer skills.
So, as a soccer freestyler just getting into the world of soccer freestyle, we advise that you start from the basics and have fun while training.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
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!