As a soccer player, skills that you can learn and add to your abilities are almost limitless! There is always something new and different that you can learn and implement in your game …
… Some skills are really easy, but some are quite hard and requires hundreds of hours of practice to fully master them!
In this quick Post, I breakdown 11 of the hardest soccer skills that will make you a better player.
Quick Tip: To practice the skills bellow, I strongly recommend to use soccer shoes with decent Quality and reliable Grip to perform at the best of your abilities. You can have a quick look at these quality soccer cleats to get an idea!
1. Single Lunge
The single lunge is one of the easier and first skills all players should try to master (I’ve included it here, because it could be quite hard for a beginner)
It is by far the most effective skill against defenders or when dribbling when on offense.
Start by sprinting towards your opponent straight on. Then explosively lunge to one side without making contact with the ball, perform a head/shoulder fake, and then use the outside of your foot to explode the opposite direction away from the defender.
Basically, you are lunging to one side then kicking to the other to get the ball to go opposite of your body. A simple feint trick that is highly effective.
2. Double Lunge
If one lunge is highly effective, then surely two is better? You are right, if you have the mobility to pull off this more advanced skill.
Before you go making double lunge attempts, be sure to have the single lunge down. If you are performing the single lunge with moderate success, then you can move onto the double, or even triple.
Moderate success means getting past a defender more often than not.
Let’s say your opponent has learned your single lunge as well as you, now it’s time to do the double lunge. Set up is the same, except now you will be adding another lunge after the first.
The key to selling this trick is to make a small lunge, then a longer lunge to appear as though you are performing a single lunge. The longer second lunge will make it seem you are committing to the direction, when really you are going back to the original side.
By the way, if you are a beginner, then you should check those beginner friendly soccer skills … You will find those extremely interesting!
3. The Inside Hook
Timing is everything in soccer. More importantly, your timing is everything. You should be playing as fast or as slow as you want. If you can control the speed, you can get the upper hand on your opponent.
The inside hook is used to slow down play, not to beat your opponent off the dribble.
When you are going for an inside hook you must first present the ball to your opponent and open your body. You want to appear like you’re able to attempt a move to get past the defender, but instead you will hook the ball with the interior of your foot and slow it down.
Similar to the lunge except you want to keep contact with the ball by dragging it slowly. The drag will give you space and time to make your next move, all the while slowing the pace between you and the opponent.
You will need patience and total ball control to perform this skill, but it is worth it against aggressive opponents.
4. Ronaldo Chop
Who wouldn’t want to play a little more like Ronaldo? Well, here’s your chance to learn one of his patented moves that will help you get past defenders.
As impressive as it looks, it is actually fairly straightforward and easy to learn (the hardest part is to do it effectively in an actual game especially against a good defender)
Pick up speed while dribbling in a straight line. As the defender moves in on the ball, you’ll want to hop forward, then strike the ball with the inside of your foot and cut it behind your standing leg.
The ball should be hit at least 4-5 feet away from you, and be sure you are in the air when you strike the ball for the cut.
This skill is similar to a lunge, except you’ll need plenty of speed to perform this one.
This skill is more adapted to strikers … To learn more, you can check those important soccer skills for forwards. You will find those really interesting!
5. Matthews Cut
The Matthews Cut should be a skill all players need to master. This skill is far from flashy. Which is what makes it easy to learn and implement often. However, don’t think because it is easy to learn it is easy to master.
In fact, you’ll need plenty of ball control skills to perform this trick flawlessly.
While running towards your opponent, use the inside of your foot to knock the ball slightly towards the middle of your body then quickly use the outside of the same foot to cut it past your opponent.
Sounds easy, but you’ll need to master a light touch to get the ball to your center without getting it too far. The key is to use your big toe to kick in, and your small toe to kick out.
6. The Rainbow
Let’s move into flashy territory with the Rainbow. Few tricks are as impressive or as difficult as pulling off a Rainbow. It’s difficult to control the ball on the ground let alone in the air.
If you can pull off a Rainbow, not only will you get past a defender but completely humiliate them in the process as well.The rest of the team will be intimidated by your professional skills.
Put both feet on the sides of the ball, then use one leg to roll the ball up the back of your other leg before kicking it up and over your opponent’s head.
This trick is not easy to learn or practical in a game. Which is why you rarely see it in matches. However, feel free to embarrass a couple friends during a friendly exhibition game by performing the Rainbow right over their heads.
7. The Fake Pull Back
We can move back to practical skills with the fake pull back. It’s exactly as it sounds. Instead of actually pulling the ball back, you are faking it.
A pull back involves placing the foot on top of the ball and stopping or pulling the ball back to you. It is an excellent way to change the pace between you and a defender, moving in a different direction, or setting up for a pass or to shoot.
The fake pull back has the same goal in mind, to change the pace and to throw off a defender.
To get the most out of this trick, you’ll want to perform it fast and frequently. In fact, you might want to use this trick often in combination with others, such as the lunge.
8. The Rabona
This difficult trick is impressive to see in play. You have to be confident in your skills, because if not you will not only fail, but run the risk of losing the ball to your opponent.
What makes the Rabona so difficult is the awkward position you need to be in order to pull it off. You are crossing one leg behind you to hit the ball.
Plant one foot down firmly, and with the other you will swing it behind you striking the ball fiercely. Lean back to get more height and power out of your shot.
Practice this trick from a stationary position. The awkward stance will be uncomfortable at first. You want to make sure you are firm in your stance, if not you might fall over.
9. The Okocha
Another tricky skill that looks easy, but is actually difficult to learn is the Okocha. Take your time learning this trick because without decent ball handling skills, you are going to have trouble trying to get this one down.
While moving with the ball, roll it with the inside of your foot and use your other foot to fake as if to kick the ball. You won’t be kicking the ball, instead you will step over the ball.
After you perform the Okocha, you have plenty of options to move forward. You can commit to the fake kick, keep going forward, or mix in other tricks such as the fake pull back into a Rainbow.
The possibilities are endless.
10. The Nutmeg
The nutmeg is truly a classic trick that is embarrassing for a defender if done correctly. Simply put, you kick the ball between a defender’s legs. However, what makes this difficult is you have to not only get it through their legs but be quick enough to recover the ball.
The best way to pull off a nutmeg is in combination with other skills first. Lunge, lunge, fake pull back, then nutmeg. Or, double lunge, Okocha, inside hook, then nutmeg. You get the picture.
If you can string tricks together, you’ll be able to pull off a successful nutmeg. You should be stringing tricks together in order to be unpredictable on the field. A nutmeg is the final touch to make you more intimidating on the field.
11. The Roulette
If you think you got skills, then try pulling off a roulette. It looks impressive and is highly effective for getting past defenders.
You might know the roulette as the 360, mostly because that’s what you will be doing around the ball. Run with the ball in front of you, as the defender closes in on you put your inside foot on top of the ball and slightly roll it back.
As you roll the ball back, spin your body and roll the ball with your outside foot in the direction you’re turning towards.
If done right, the ball will now be in line with your intended path. The faster you spin, the better chance you have getting past defenders.
Hope these skills were not perceived as hard as you might think! I am sure that by learning these you will end up being a much better and efficient player …
… Just keep practicing and you will do just fine!
Lastely, If you master those hard skills, then you can play at the hardest soccer positions out there …