Juggling the ball is certainly one of the best practice method for improving you first touch and ball control, and not to mention, the basic aspects of most freestyle air moves. What many might not know is that juggling does not necessarily mean you have to use a standard soccer ball.
One of the greats of the game, Ronaldo (Luiz Nazario De Lima), once said that practicing with a smaller sized ball, such as a tennis ball or a mini (size 3) skill ball was one of the main contributors to his phenomenal touch and control. Remember, this was a player that started out playing Futsal, before moving onto standard 11-a-side football.
Juggling with your weaker foot would also greatly improve your first touch and ball control, making you less reliant on just one foot. We’ve been thinking about it lately and have decide to post a little challenge. It’s probably easy for most novice players, so i’d rather recommend it for beginners. Here’s how it goes:
- Day 1 – Target: Aim to juggle a standard size 5 football 8 times consecutively without allowing it to touch the ground using your stronger foot.
- Day 2 – Target: Aim to juggle a standard size 5 football 8 times consecutively using both feet, one at a time, eg: left then right, then left again.
- Day 3 – Target: Aim to juggle a standard size 5 football 8 times consecutively using only your weaker feet.
Try each of the 3 challenges / drills above as many times as you like, if you’re comfortable juggling it for 8 consecutive times, then increase this value, go for 12, 16 or even 20. Juggling height is not important at this stage as we’d like to stick to the basics first.
The reason we use a standard size 5 football (soccer!) ball is simply because it is larger (easier to control) and bounces much better than say, a futsal or skill ball. Lastly, when juggling, always try to make contact with the ball using the top half your foot ( just behind the toe area), and try not to kick the ball with to much power (unless you deliberately want it to catch more air), just a soft tap will do fine. Happy practicing!