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Most soccer players at any level, whether that be amateurs or professionals can juggle a soccer ball. Some can juggle with ease while others can only do it for a few seconds. So, the question is can juggling help you in soccer?
The abilities that you can gain from juggling a soccer ball can translate onto the field. From having enough skill to be able to bring a ball down from the air or from a goal kick, to having the right co-ordination to be able to handle a bouncing ball as well as your overall touch of the soccer ball.
However simply because you can juggle a soccer ball does not mean that you will be a good player, just solely based on that. It is because you might not have the correct work rate or ability to read the game or even have the athleticism necessary to play, but juggling can certainly help you in your overall game.
Here are 10 ways that juggling helps you in soccer
1. Your first touch
This is perhaps is one of if not the most important skill that any soccer player at any level can have. As you can imagine having a great first touch in soccer is critical in most moments of a game. From being able to turn defenders and get into space or only using that one touch to send a teammate through on goal, it is especially important.
Some of the best soccer players in the world have a great first touch. This allows them to get away from defenders in a split second or if a long diagonal ball is played to them, then their first touch can bring the ball down with ease right at their feet.
When a player has a good first touch it is instantly noticeable when they get the ball played to them. It can give them the space to get their head up straight away and look for a pass. However, when a player’s first touch is not as good, and the ball gets away from them then that allows other midfielders or defenders to have a chance of winning the ball back.
The higher you progress through the levels, juniors, seniors, professionally, the more having a great first touch is crucial. Now you will not be juggling down the field on game day but juggling a soccer ball has many benefits.
The skill of the first touch is something that is seen regularly throughout a soccer match, when a ball is played at an angle or if the ball is crossed and it bounces just in front of the intended player.
By continuing to practice juggling, it will ultimately help your first touch and in turn, you are going to have control of the ball a lot better when it comes at you. This could be from different heights during a match and all up, there are many different situations you are going to find yourself in throughout a game.
Basically, try and get as many touches of the soccer ball as you can is perhaps one of the absolute best things that you can do when you are trying to improve yourself as a soccer player. Juggling is really the only way to constantly get touches quickly to improve your skills.
See the link below for some of the best first touches in soccer.
2. Being able to receive the ball either in the air or on the bounce
As most of us know, when you are playing a game of soccer, the ball is not always going to be passed to you in the best possible way. This could be from several factors, the pressure applied to the player passing, if the receiving player has enough space away from the defender, and so on.
Because of this, balls can be passed to you in many ways. Juggling can help with your ability to be able to receive any ball whether that be through the air or if it is bounced to you.
Nowadays, everyone loves fast, flowing football and the control and speed of the play is one of the most talked-about points. By juggling, you can improve your ability to receive the ball in basically every way. The faster that you can gain control of the ball when it is passed to you, then the quicker you can do something positive with it.
For example, if your team is on the counterattack and a long diagonal ball is played to you, by juggling you will have a greater chance of controlling the ball without losing speed or momentum. You could then take the ball down and continue with the attack as the team’s forward impetus will not be hindered because of your ability, you were able to keep the play going.
Also, not everyone is going to be able to play a game of soccer on a field that is like carpet (like many professional teams) and there is bound to be uneven ground and even holes. So, if you are playing on a field like this, then there is a high chance that some balls played to you will be on the bounce.
Many professional soccer players grew up playing on bad fields and they all agree that this is what has made them have the greater skill, along with juggling the ball as well. By constantly practicing and juggling you can greatly improve your ability to take difficult balls under control a lot easier as there is very rarely a thing called a perfect pass unless you play professionally in the MLS.
Below is a video of players receiving long balls and balls that bounce in front of them.
3. Passing a bouncing ball
This is really a blend of the two points that I have just made. This is the ability to essentially have only “one-touch” when playing a bouncing ball than in turn shoot at a goal or pass it to a teammate in a way in which the player receiving the ball can then do something productive with the ball.
This is crucial when playing at a higher level. Midfield players like Kevin De Bruyne, Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mesut Ozil all have a great ability to no matter how the ball is played to them, they can make something positive happen. Now whether this is simply because they are ridiculously talented or because they constantly juggle a soccer ball or even both, it is this ability that sets them apart from other players.
You can become incredibly valuable to your team if you can continually develop ball-playing skills as your teammates will trust you to make any pass they give you look good. Because when you are juggling you are constantly trying to get the ball under control and when you cannot, the ball will bounce around until you can get it up and under control again.
It is this that can greatly help in your ability to control even the hardest passes that come your way when they are bouncing on the ground, thanks to juggling. We have seen many professional soccer players keep flowing attacking moves alive by being able to play a bouncing ball to a teammate. Also, when you look at defenders, they need this ability too.
It is because when an opposition player crosses the ball, sometimes it will be in the air, other times it will be slid along the ground and other times, the ball will come bouncing into the box. So, defenders that can play the bouncing ball effectively deal with those balls that are coming in at weird and difficult angles because they are bouncing their way into the box are a valued commodity.
4. Hitting a soccer ball on the volley
Because when you are juggling, you are essentially volleying the ball to yourself, and this can in turn help you when it comes to volleying shots at goal. Now depending on what position you play on the field will determine if you will ever have a chance at a volley, however, there are always going to be chances throughout a game when there is the opportunity to volley the soccer ball.
Being able to hit a soccer ball on the volley and to be able to do it correctly is a hard skill to get a handle on. However, by practicing juggling the soccer ball, you will slowly over time develop a better understanding of how to volley to the ball. This is because soccer players that regularly juggle at training or at home have essentially exercised the muscles in their legs to be able to adjust the touch of their foot to be able to control the ball at various speeds and angles.
By doing this they give themselves a good chance at having good timing from the ball to their foot and that makes the probability of hitting a volley correctly, significantly higher.
Because the art of being able to hit a ball on the volley is rare, even among professional players, by juggling the soccer ball as often as you can then you give yourself the best chance at being able to volley the ball when it comes away during a match.
Now because it requires nearly perfect timing, from the ball to your foot, it is extremely hard to get right consistently, so practice is paramount. By juggling, you are training your brain, body, and feet to be able to constantly kick a ball that is being volleyed repeatedly. Thus you are learning about how and where you should be putting your foot in terms of being able to volley correctly.
When the technique is done right it looks incredible 33 Monstrous Volley Goals ● What A Strike! – YouTube
5. Agility and balance
Aside from improving your first touch, this is probably the next best thing that will improve. The benefit of juggling is that it can improve both your balance and agility. As most of us know, to be successful in soccer, you will need the ability to keep your body control and to be able to adjust and change direction quickly.
Especially when playing professionally you will need to be able to pull off certain moves flawlessly but also without sacrificing your speed or falling while you do it.
When you juggle a soccer ball on a regular basis, you should consider changing quickly from your left foot to your right as this can help you when trying to perform a skill without losing your speed. Additionally juggling is going to greatly improve your foot and eye co-ordination so the movements that you make will be more synchronized.
That is why when you look at the absolute best players in the world, their agility and balance when on the ball is nearly unmatched with anyone else. They can simply be too agile for their opponents and go by them with ease and because they have incredible balance while they do it.
Balance is also crucial for other positions on a soccer field as well. Basically, every player on the pitch will need to have good balance, agility, or both. Strikers need to have good balance so if you are a striker then juggling can help you immensely.
Because when you are shooting at goal, your body needs to be balanced when making a connection with the ball and because the ball gets to come in many ways. Strikers need to be able to have the superb body control to be able to get themselves into a balanced position to have the best chance of making good contact with the ball with their foot.
The same goes for heading too. So if you are a striker, defender, or midfielder and you are required to head the ball regularly, then having good body control is crucial to making good contact. Especially if you are defending. You do not want the ball going into your own net because of your body position or because you are not agile enough to move your body to get it into the correct position to head the ball.
Players that have good balance and agility are usually playing in attacking positions or in the middle of the pitch because, in those advanced positions, great body control and agility is a necessity in either scoring or creating goals.
So juggling the soccer ball will help improve your balance and agility and will make certain things that you do on a soccer field easier. In the video below you can see how Leo Messi uses his incredible balance and agility to hold up the ball, to win free-kicks, and to help create chances for his team. The body balance and The Agility Of Lionel Messi ● Crazy Body Adjustement – YouTube
6. Strengthens both sides of your body
By juggling with both of your feet, not just your dominant side but your weaker side too, it will only have a positive impact on your ability to play soccer. This is because it gives you the ability to play the ball with both feet so you do not have to receive the ball on your preferred foot, it can be either.
If you do in fact have a weaker foot in which you do not regularly use on the field, then that will make it easier for the opposition to simply sit on your dominant side and force you to use your opposite foot.
However, if you can use both feet just as effectively then the opposition does not know which way you are going to go because you can use either foot to make a positive contribution. It will also help your team as well because you can play multiple positions on the field too.
For example what makes Cristiano Ronaldo so special and effective is that he can play centrally or either on the left side or the right side, this is because he is so strong on both sides of his body and that is what makes him so difficult to defend.
Whereas a player who only has one dominant side can be easily shut down. All the opposition must do is simply make sure that the player cannot use his preferred foot. This is why some players lose the ball so often because they do not have confidence in their weaker side they will then try their best to shift or make the defender go a certain way so that they can then get onto their dominant side.
However, doing this usually takes time and that allows fellow defenders to come and help cover the player. If the soccer player can use both sides of his body, then defenders are not going to know which way they are going to go and which foot they are going to use.
This is especially noticeable in strikers. Because defenders are always going to be second-guessing which way they will go, they are unsure about how to defend them because the striker can shoot with both feet. What this can do is make that little extra bit of space for the striker to get his shot off.
But if the forward only has one dominant foot then essentially half of the defender’s job is done already because straight away they are going to know which way they will be going but also which foot the striker will shoot with.
So that is why juggling with both feet can be so important to a soccer player, because it is going to make them far less predictable to the opposition and that is the last thing defenders what to see, is a player that is equally as dangerous with either foot.
See the link below of players who are exceptional with both sides of their body. Top 10 Double Footed Football Players 2020 – YouTube
7. Understanding where and how to use certain touches in games
When juggling the soccer ball, over time you are going to develop little abilities that you can do with the ball. This could be where to hit the ball to get it to go a certain way or how to make touches of the ball fall your way often.
For some, this is a real skill. Players can have a ridiculous amount of control over the ball. One such player that comes to mind is the great Ronaldinho. Now Brazilians have a way to make the ball talk however Ronaldinho was something different. To be able to send players the wrong way with the ball still attached to his foot was a sight to behold.
Now obviously that level of skill is going to be out of reach for some of us, however, the benefits are there to see when you are juggling. By moving a certain way with the ball you are going to get the defender to react and by using certain little touches and flicks that you develop while juggling, you can create goal-scoring chances for your teammates or ever make yourself that little pocket of space to get your pass away.
Because juggling requires skill, many players use this skill in games because they practice them over and over as they are always juggling the ball and get used to the ball always being on their foot. They get confident in their ability to translate their understanding of when and where to use certain touches in games and that can be a game-changer.
From fancy flicks to incredible chest control, juggling can drastically improve a player’s offensive arsenal during games. It can create separation or create a goal-scoring chance simply by knowing when to use that certain flick or movement of their body. By doing this they can turn games on their head in a matter of minutes.
Here are some examples of players using their skill during matches and how effective it can be Best 50 Fake Skills & Tricks In Football – YouTube
8. It gives you confidence
Perhaps the most crucial thing for a soccer player to have. Confidence enables players to display their full ability on matchday. By juggling consistently you are going to increase your overall confidence in what you can do with a ball.
This is because you develop a connection with the ball, you understand how it moves when kicked a certain way or when you use your foot on a certain area of it. Confidence is perhaps the best thing at the disposal of a soccer player as it gives them the belief that they are going to be able to do certain things on the pitch.
A player that is low on confidence is easy to spot out on the soccer field. Depending on what position they play it is glaringly obvious. With forwards their touch will be off and not as good, they might not constantly make those forward runs into space or they might miss a guilt-edged chance at goal, all because they are not confident in their ability to be able to do it effectively.
On the other hand, a player who is full of confidence is simply a joy to watch. They make life hard for the opposition as they feel that no matter what the other team does, it will not stop them.
By juggling a soccer ball you are going to increase your confidence with the ball at your feet and that can only be a good thing for you because a confident player is a dangerous player. It is the key to many things when it comes to soccer as it can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing a match.
Your confidence will grow with each touch of the ball you have and as they say, practice makes perfect.
9. Improve the strength in your leg
When playing a game of soccer, players are always on one leg because they are trying to put their bodies in good positions as well as trying to balance themselves too. Juggling a soccer ball is going to significantly enhance your single-leg strength as well as your balance while improving the strength of your knees and ankles too.
10. Improves your timing
This is because when juggling, you are consistently trying to time you kicks correctly so the ball will continue to be in an area where it is easy for you to kick it again. Timing is important in soccer and juggling a soccer ball can greatly improve your timing whether that be shooting the ball or passing.
How do you get better at juggling?
There are a number of ways that you can get better at juggling. Head over to Juggling Soccer Ball: Learn How To and Tips & Tricks and read on how to improve your juggling skills with our article