For whatever reason, many people consider juggling as an unnecessary skill! This is understandable as the most important thing in soccer is the ability to score more goals, and by juggling you aren’t doing so …
… However, people tend to forget that scoring is just one part of the puzzle and soccer is much more complex than that!
In other words, the more skills you have on your tool box the better!
So, Is soccer juggling actually important?
You rarely see a soccer players juggle with the ball during a match and on those rare occasions when it does happen, players will be accused of showboating.
However, that does not mean that the ability to juggle a soccer ball is not important!
In fact, juggling teaches any player how to get better at two of the essential skills of the game – touch and control.
They are what set the great players apart from the average ones, and what makes a Lionel Messi or a Cristiano Ronaldo the best in the world at what they do.
They didn’t just acquire the ability to control the football instinctively by magic – they learned how to juggle first.
Another thing that juggling teaches you is balance, something that is key for any soccer player, who must learn how to change direction at any given moment, jump to win heads, dribble and shot when under pressure.
Last and not least, it helps improve concentration. Soccer is not just a physical game but it is also a mental challenge as well, and you need to be fully focused on the task in hand.
Probably more than half the scored goals in any match happen as the result of the loss of concentration.
How can you improve your juggling skills?
There are many different drills for improving your juggling, but the following is a good way to start.
Step 1: Hold the ball in your hands, with your feet apart approximately the width of the ball from each other. Balance on the balls of your feet as you would when receiving a pass.
Step 2: Drop the ball onto your foot, or slowly throw the ball in the air, and, as the ball reaches your boot, try, and kick the ball back so that it lands in your hand again. Always try and make sure that your foot is straight, not pointed, and that you are kicking with the end of the boot, and not the laces. This will give you the most control over the ball.
Step 3: Repeat this procedure until you feel comfortable, and then gradually add-in more kicks before catching the ball.
Step 4: Now work on the same drill, this time with your weaker foot.
Cleats and ball recommendation for juggling …
There are many cleats and soccer balls designed for juggling, below are one of my favourites:
Adidas Predator (Check it Here on Amazon) is a classic, and this is the latest version of a boot that has been around for more than 50 years and has sold in the thousands.
There is a reason for that as well – they are both comfortable to wear, and they do their job on the practice and match field.
Manufactured in a classic black and white design with the iconic three stripes on them, they come with a full grain leather upper with synthetic lining for comfort.
The boots also have a durable firm ground outsole and cleats that grip the turf on firm, natural grounds. Above all, though, thy are light, which aids both the touch and control of the ball.
All the best soccer balls for juggling are made of polyurethane material because it is soft, durable, and resistant to water.
The Armour Desafio ball (Check it Here on Amazon) has also a rubber bladder that allows for high rebound ability but also gives a player excellent touch and control.
Will juggling increase your IQ and make you a better soccer player?
Claiming that the ability to juggle will increase your overall IQ may be taking things too far, but it will certainly enhance your soccer intelligence!
In the first place it enhances your confidence and self-esteem, and willingness to take risks on the field.
Knowing that you have mastered the basics of the game and can control the ball instantly and without effort, means that you have much more time to consider your options, both with, and without, the ball.
The best players always play with their head-up, not looking down at the ball.
That is because, at the top level, soccer is as much a mental game as a physical one. Those who rise to the top always seem to have more time on the ball than their teammates.
That is not by accident – they have mastered the basic skills and can focus on other aspects of the game.
It also helps teach balance and coordination on the pitch, two essential elements for any player.
By the way, I highly encourage you to learn how you can improve your mindset for soccer! I’ve share some helpful tips in there …
Does juggling improve dribbling?
The ability to juggle has a direct correlation to dribbling skills, which are all about close control and touch.
That is because juggling teaches you how to control the ball and feel confident with it at your feet. That, in turn, improves touch which is arguably the most important attribute for any soccer player, whether they be a striker a midfielder, or play at the back.
Juggling also helps build confidence, which means that, when dribbling, players no longer need to look at the ball all the time.
Instead they can keep their head up, assess where their opponents are, and also consider what their options are on the pitch.
Does juggling build muscle?
Juggling can help improve and build muscle because as a soccer player you are often on one leg, trying to maintain your balance and to keep your body in a good position.
Juggling helps improve single leg strength and balance, and also helps strengthen ankles, knees, and neck muscles.
It also improves confidence and self-esteem in the one part of the body whose importance in soccer is often overlooked – the brain!
You can also learn about other ways to get in soccer shape efficiently …
How long does it take to master juggling?
There is no set time that it takes to master juggling. It may take one player two months and another two years. Nor should it matter whether you are a quick or slow learner, as long as you are having fun and enjoying it.
The important thing to realise though is that, as with many things in life, the more you practice, the better you will become at it!
Regular juggling sessions, first with one foot, then the other, will help build confidence, and then you can begin to combine them, gradually brining in other parts of the body as well, such as thighs, chest, and head.
Even those who have “mastered” it, never stop practicing!
Where do you look when juggling?
When people begin juggling, they almost always begin by looking at the ball at it strikes their feet, and they tend to keep their head down looking at the ground.
However, as they begin to gain more confidence, the head starts to come up, and they focus more on the ball in the air, learning to anticipate where it will next land.
This is a lot like soccer itself. Players in a match situation rarely look at their feet – instead, they are looking around them at what else is happening on the pitch, trying to anticipate the flow of the game.
Is Juggling with bare feet easier or harder?
Juggling with bare feet is harder because of the tendency of the toes to curl up.
And whilst some may argue that being able to juggle bare foot helps with overall ball control, soccer in real life is played wearing boots.
So, if you want to transfer your juggling skills to a match situation, then practice wearing boots!
How many juggles should kids have on average?
Young children – under the age of six or seven – may struggle to manage more than five juggles at a time, but, as they get older, the number should start to rise.
This can mean 5 – 10 for an eight-year-old, 25 or so for somebody who is ten, and perhaps more than 100 for a 12-yeasr old.
However, there should be no hard and fast rules. Some young children can be experts at juggling at an early age, whilst their older siblings might struggle to master it.
The absolute number that a child can manage is far less important than whether they continue to improve their skill levels.
After all, a kid who has managed three more juggles than last week’s total is showing a bigger incremental improvement than somebody who has improved his all-time record from 100 to 125!
What is the soccer juggling world record?
The longest that anybody has juggled a regulation soccer ball is Nikolai Kutsenko from the Ukraine. On December 6th, 1995 in Kiev he juggled the ball for 24 hour and 30 minutes using his feet, legs, and head without it once touching the ground.
The most soccer balls juggled at the same time is five, and three men have equalled this particular record.
The first was Victor Rubilar of Argentina who did it on 4th November 2006 at the Gallerian Shopping Centre in Stockholm, Marko Vermeer from the Netherlands matched this feat in Amsterdam on 11th August 2014, and, a year later, on 4 November 2015, in Adeje Tenerife, Spain, the Spaniard Silveira emulated the pair of them.
Who is the best juggler in the world?
There are many with claims to the record, including the man who holds the current world record, the Ukrainian Nikola Kutsenko.
Another left-field choice is Katelyn Penner, from Beaverton, Oregon, who, when she was just ten years old, set a personal record of 5,000 touches without the ball hitting the ground once in fifty minutes.
Two years later she went further and juggled the ball throughout the entire Portland Metropolitan area, even going so far as to take part in a game of hopscotch, without once breaking stride or losing control of the ball.
Final Thoughts …
I remember when I was a young kid our coach was always asking us to juggle with the ball for at least 20 minutes before the training session eve starts! This was really a great way to get us ready, warm-up and have a feel for the ball …
… However, to be honest, I don’t want you to be obsessed with juggling that much! This is something that will come naturally and that you will master over time before you even realize it!
Lastly, you can learn about these tips to help your confidence for soccer! I am sure you will find those tips very helpful ….