I really love soccer. I’ve been playing it since I was four years old, at home with my family and friends, at school with my classmates and on the field with various recreational club teams. I’ve grown up kicking a soccer ball around, but it was not until my freshman year of high school that I learned how to seriously juggle a soccer ball. Being able to juggle a soccer ball is something all true soccer fans should at least attempt to figure out and it’s a lot of fun once one becomes familiar with it. It is not as hard as it may feel at first; it just takes practice and a few key points to remember when juggling for optimal success. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little while to get used to, it took me way longer than my friends but I eventually caught on, as you hopefully will as well.
First, start with a decent pair of shoes. I have seen people juggle with everything from hiking boots to bare feet, but it is best to use flat topped, soccer or Converse-style shoes. These offer the greatest area for juggling. Once a person has mastered the art of juggling with these types of shoes (or basic running shoes), using other types of shoes or bare feet comes naturally.
Second, try a semi-flat soccer ball to start out with. These are easier to juggle than balls totally full, although they may require a little more force. Alternatively, get good at hacky-sacking (juggling a beanbag-type toy). This is a great way to learn the basic ‘movements’ associated with juggling. Hacky sacks may be purchased at many toy stores, and are sometimes associated with the old skool ‘grunge’ culture that sprang up in the Pacific Northwest.
Finally, keep the ball close to your body. Don’t be afraid to use your knees, hips, chest or, if comfortable, your head. There are some safety concerns associated with constant head bounces from soccer balls, so keep that in mind. The key with juggling is to learn to control the ball at each touch-its not a full on kick each time, rather its simply giving the ball enough force to stay near your body and move 2-3 feet up in the air.
Juggling is a lot of fun to do and a great way to hang with soccer buddies when not on the playing field. With all the above steps in mind, remember the main step: practice, practice, practice! Find a flat area, like a grass field or gym court and start kicking. Happy juggling!