Why Is Juggling a Soccer Ball so Hard? (kickstart Tips)

Juggling a soccer ball is difficult for beginner soccer players. Even some of the pro players can’t juggle. So there’s hope for us all.

Not everyone is naturally good at juggling and we rarely use it in a game, although it can help us with controlling a soccer ball. There is something that will make juggling a soccer ball easier and here’s what we’ll look at;

  • Why juggling is hard
  • Why juggling can be important
  • Why you can’t juggle
  • Steps to help you juggle easier
  • Pro soccer players that can’t juggle

If you can only juggle the ball 10 times – that’s good enough (I’ve never seen anyone juggle more than 5 times in a game!). 10 times is my challenge to you. Let’s learn how we can make juggling easier.

Soccer Ball juggling - in Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, United States
Soccer Ball Juggling – Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, United States – (Courtesy of Unsplash)

Why Is Juggling so Hard?

Juggling a soccer ball is so hard because of the muscles you need to develop in your foot, calves, and thigh. Once these muscles have developed, your balance will improve and so will your juggling.

Juggling is unnatural movements and greater forces at play – gravity and balance. It ends up being harder than it looks. While it may be challenging, to begin with, continued practice can translate into improvements on the field with ball control and awareness.

Even though it may be difficult, learning how to juggle can lead to developments with your play on the field, and you might even impress your friends with some new tricks.

Messi at FC Barcelona training session
Messi at FC Barcelona Training Session

Why Is Juggling Important in Soccer?

While you may never have to juggle the ball with your head ten times in a row on the field to evade a defender, juggling helps improve both your touch and concentration.

Like any skill, practice leads to improvement. With a sport like soccer, where it typically takes at least two people to complete essential competencies, juggling allows an individual to improve all on their own.

Once you’ve got the basics of juggling, you’ll develop over the years. While it is important to be able to juggle a few times, passing, control, tackling, and shooting are more important.

Why Can’t I Juggle a Soccer Ball?

You can’t juggle a soccer ball because of lack of practice. Juggling takes many hours and years to get right. Practice each day for 10 minutes for a year and you’ll be much better.

Some players will be able to pick it up easier than others – but not to worry. We all learn skills at different stages and at different speeds.

Here are three things that might be stopping you from juggling a soccer ball;

1. Position

Stand on ground that is even so that you have a steady base to work from. Make sure that you have enough room around you to move around with the ball.

Keep your head facing down a little towards your feet so that your back is slightly curved. You need to position your body also into a focus on the foot.

Juggling is easier when practiced on a hard court or artificial turf so you can move easily.

2. Balance

Put your hands to the front and open out – like you are going to hug someone. Once you start to juggle move your arms a little to go with the flow – this is to control your back muscles.

Stand with your feet slightly apart in a starting position. The positions and movements need some muscles that have not been fully used before, so it takes time to build them up.

  • A good excercise for juggling is standing on one leg and also hopping.

When we drop the ball we sway, our changed focus of concentration from our body placement to the ball’s movement. This is only natural.

3. Muscles

Standing on one leg and kicking is not something that is done in any other activity. This means your muscles need to develop. When we first start out then we kick the ball up and are moving around after it like it’s a hot potato!

Juggle the ball using basic steps so that you can build up your strength in those areas. Follow these steps to help you improve;

Beginner Steps to Juggle A Soccer Ball

  1. Drop the ball from in front of your chest so that it only lightly drops onto your foot.
  2. Curl your foot to ‘catch’ the ball on the laces.
  3. Just before the ball is about to hit your foot, move your foot up to sightly kick it.
  4. Start with your best foot – you can use one foot until you get good with that one.
  5. Kick the ball up but not higher than your head so that you have some control.

Kick-Up and Catch Drill

If you are struggling to do more than 2 or 3 kick-ups, then try this;

  1. Follow the steps above for your positioning.
  2. Drop the ball down to your foot.
  3. kick the ball back up towwards your hands.
  4. Catch the ball.
  5. Repeat until you can easily do this.

Getting the aim of your kick with the right power and accuracy will help you advance easier. Your balance will also develop and the muscles required will build.

Professional Soccer Players Who Can’t Juggle

Some of the world’s most expensive soccer players can’t juggle a soccer ball! You’ll be amazed at how much they cost and how much they get paid.

Although they can’t juggle, fortunately, their other skills make up for this lack of one. So don’t pack up your kit and think your dreams are over as making as a pro soccer player.

Here are the pro soccer players that can’t juggle a soccer ball very well;

1. Danilo (Real Madrid C.F.)

The Brazilian defender who has achieved success with Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Juventus managed to produce a poor result at his unveiling.

Danilo Juggling at Unveiling – Courtesy of Vine

2. Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona)

The young French footballer made the big move from Borussia Dortmund to FC Barcelona, but the juggling display left much to be desired.

3. Paulinho (FC Barcelona)

The Brazilian made the surprising move from Guangzhou Evergrande to FC Barcelona when used to players making a move the other way. He didn’t endear himself to the supporters and left FC Barcelona soon after his arrival.

4. Theo Hernandez (Real Madrid C.F.)

The French defender didn’t invoke confidence with his juggling ability at his unveiling, but he is a defender, so maybe we can give him a pass. (Twitter)

5. Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid C.F.)

The French defender may not have impressed anyone with his juggling ability but has become an ever-present name on the team sheet.

What Does Juggling a Soccer Ball Improve?

Juggling can enhance the connection between your body and the ball. As a result, your touch improves, improving ball control. Try juggling for a week and get into a game.

  • Control
  • Touch
  • Agility
  • Awareness
  • Composure
  • Using both feet

Your feet will be able to bring down the ball with an ability that you didn’t even know that you had.

Facts About Soccer Juggling

Brought to you from the beautiful annals of Guinness World Records:

  • John Farworth (UK) set the record for the farthest distance covered juggling a soccer ball in one hour with a record of 5.82 km (3.61 mi). To top it off, he did it in the Sahara Desert. (Guinness)
  • Arash Ahmadi Tifakani (Iran) set the record for the longest distance juggling a soccer ball at 21.2 km (13.17 mi).
  • Abraham Muñoz (Mexico) set the record for the fastest mile juggling a soccer ball at 8 min 17.28 seconds.
  • The record for most people keeping a soccer ball in the air for at least 10 seconds was 1377 people in the Linzi District in Shandong Province, China.
  • The record for most consecutive soccer headers set by a pair is 1,013 by Dimos and Renos Christodoulidis (Cyprus). (Guinness Record)

Hopefully, this is enough inspiration for you to get out there and start juggling! While juggling may be challenging, to begin with, get to that magic 10 number and you concentrate on smashing the ball in the goal.

For more tips on how to juggle a soccer ball, you can move on to the advanced steps and read this article on How To Juggle a Soccer Ball.

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