Soccer players and parents sometimes ask me how juggling helps in a game. It’s such a popular question that I’ve listed 7 ways juggling makes a soccer player better. The ability to juggle will help your confidence, passing and first touch. During youth games, the ball is in the air a lot. Players who can juggle will most likely feel confident to control it out of the air. Often in futbol, the first touch has to be from a bouncing ball or coming from a long ball or punt. I recommend players who are good at juggling to start practicing many different ways. Most just know 1 way trying to break a record. For players who are not good at juggling, be patient and take a look at the age breakdown below. Ages 6-10 have a hard time juggling, but those that practice at home are usually better at keeping the ball up.
Juggling doesn’t define you as a player
You probably notice how some players might be the best on the team, but not necessarily great jugglers. You’ll also notice how not all players who can juggle are good players in the game. You can be technically good, but not be a “game player”.
Just because you have good technique and can juggle doesn’t mean you have awareness, composure, speed, strength, aggression, finishing skills, defense, work ethic, long passes, turning.
Some of the faster or bigger players have a harder time with juggling. Others are very athletic but clumsy at the same time due to growing at different rates. So remember to be patient and keep practicing.
Juggling comes naturally for only a few
Players who can juggle 50+ times by 10 years old are usually players who have early high desire to improve. It means they spent a lot of time practicing on their own.
Juggling is definitely something that is not easy nor comes natural or fast. Though there are some players ages 7-9 that are more natural and get it down. If it doesn’t come for you early, trust me it will eventually come.
The thing is once you are 11 years old, it’s like something clicks for those who keep practicing.
After age 10-11 it won’t come with age, it will have to come with time practicing.
Also know that there are college players who still struggle with juggling. It won’t make you or break you, but it will help your touch and confidence.
Juggling can be frustrating for some personalities
Most people will tell you that juggling is frustrating, while others will tell you it’s motivating and satisfying.
It’s frustrating to not see yourself improve, even if you spend hours doing it. This is normal.
For those who get discouraged, remember we all improve and peak at different times. Some players who may be stronger or faster might not get good at juggling. Then there are those who might be good at juggling at a young age, but will never be fast.
I do believe there are some people who are born to be more technique, but then you have to have the mindset and discipline to reach your potential.
There’s also tons of coaches who don’t care about how many juggles you can get. Instead know that trapping, passing, movement off the ball are more important.
Other coaches I’ve heard reward playing time to those who can juggle the most. I understand motivation, but this idea shouldn’t be what determines who starts on game day.
Whatever your personality is, make sure you know it can take time and by looking at the age chart you’ll know how others compare.
Some of the best jugglers and tricksters aren’t game players. Have you ever seen a player with great skill, but on game day they lose the ball?Just because you can juggle a soccer ball doesn’t mean you can play futbol. - Jeremie PietteClick To Tweet
Age breakdown for typical club soccer player
General guidelines to consider for competitive academy/select/club level players counting their juggles
- Ages 6-7 have a hard time getting 3-5 juggles, but very skilled players can get 10 using either foot. Few can get 100+
- Age 8 has a hard time getting 5-10 juggles, very skilled determined players can get 25+ and very few can get 100+ (This age it’s hard to alternate so using mostly strong foot is okay)
- Age 9 still has a hard time getting 10+ juggles, alternating feet only but then some get 100+. This ages shows more coordination and ability to use both feet compared to ages 7-8.
- Age 10 average is still 5-10 juggles, while high-skilled players can get 25-100+ alternating using feet only. Age 10 & 11 who practice on their own at home start to get 100+. It proves that hard work pays off, b/c they had to work hard for it. They see their teammates aren’t improving.
- Age 11 many have a hard time getting 15-25+ juggles alternating feet only. Skilled players 50+ alternating feet only. Some kids who will end up being top HS and college players still have a hard time. Remember it doesn’t define you as a total player. It will come.
- Ages 12-14 the goal should be 100+ juggles but still MOST have a hard time getting 100+ alternating feet only. Start to juggle while walking with the ball. Get touches below the hips or knees and big juggles that go above your head.
- Ages 15+ the goal should be to master the Light Green (100+ Alternating feet) & Black Levels (Juggling through
cones) also able to get several juggles in a row with only the left and only the right.
How juggling can add to your value
*Note: There are players who play in top leagues, even college that can’t juggle very well…
Imagine how much better they could be if they can learn to juggle good.
On another note there are many kids who can get 50-200 juggles but they only are able to use their thigh and strong foot. Try to eventually get good at alternating feet every touch. Coaches will recognize your talent this way.
Let’s say you go to a tryout and before the scrimmage all the players are asked to juggle. Well during the scrimmage, juggling skills don’t really matter. But if you can’t juggle in the warm up, you might lose credit points from the coaches who don’t know how you play. If you can juggle well, they know it doesn’t mean you can play good soccer.
Gain that extra eye from a coach during a juggling warm-up and then with a good scrimmage/game it adds to your value.
4 ways juggling makes a soccer player better
Of course there are more than 4 ways to juggle, but the video below shows 4 good ones you can spend time on.
Most players are only good at one way. The players who can get a lot of juggles are usually the ones who keep the ball low or the players who use their thigh.
I’m not a fan of tricks because it doesn’t help you near as much as the clean touches. I can promise you that most pro players can’t do a lot of juggling tricks. It’s good to practice juggling high and low balls, but don’t worry about being fancy.
There are the low juggles, mid-size and then the higher ones above the head.
The mid-size juggles are the smoother looking ones.
Low juggles will get you more in short amount of time.
Then the higher ones are more difficult. I promise you it’s more important to be good at all of these, more than just being really good at only one way.
There are many ways juggling makes a soccer player better, but these 4 are good ones for sure.
7 Ways juggling make a soccer player better
- 1st touch in soccer/futbol is vital. If you control the ball quickly it gives you more time and lower defensive pressure. Also you are going to received the ball more than you do anything else. Your 1st touch not only gives you freedom to be able to look up and make a quick pass or dribble into space.
- Teaches and builds good habits and at a certain age 10+ starts to prove hard work pays off. These players usually end up being players who will train on their own even in high school and college. Learning to practice young is vital for long term development.
- Receiving balls in the air is one of the best things you will gain from practicing your juggles.
- Passing balls out of the air or off the bounce. Good for every player position.
- Volleys on goal even for high school players is difficult. One reason is because players don’t get the opportunity to practice this skill as much as other skills. Besides that the bounce is going to be the most challenging part. You usually will want to strike the ball as it’s coming down, but you also want to be good at striking it when it comes up. Striking it as it comes up is for times when you don’t have time to let it come down. It’s usually going to be where the ball bounces and you hit it right after, so that the ball never comes up high.
- Trails/tryouts are part of the game and often times juggling is a skill that is in the coaches plans. So practicing juggling will help you in future tryout, as coaches will notice.
- Confidence is something that every player deals with. When you can juggle it helps confidence because doing well at something feels good. Players who can’t juggle well are usually not confident with the soccer ball.
Keeping the ball under pressure
Jillian shows amazing control to keep the ball up in the video below.
She can juggle well, so what I wanted to do was apply pressure by coming at her while she juggled.
Great thing to try for advanced players!
Example of how juggling helps in a game
Imagine a player trapping the ball out of the air from a goal keepers long punt or a long defensive clear…
A player that has good juggling skills will most likely have a good touch to control the ball.
Player who are not good at juggling will oftentimes have a hard time bringing the same ball down. This is a big part of the game, and if you are patient and work on it the skill will come. Once it comes you will be a happier soccer player.
If you can get 50 juggles easy and clean using different styles you will have a good touch in a game. Some players can juggle hundreds of times, but on gameday can’t complete a pass under pressure.
Being patient is key
Juggling a soccer ball is by far one of the hardest skills to get down. It’s a slow process, especially for players under the age of 11 or new players at any age.
Frustration is normal, but the ones who stick with it will get there.
Some of my online lessons/courses in [Advanced] are the perfect solution for learning ways to improve faster and in a less frustrating way.
When you know you’re at least working on the right things it helps. Then remember juggling can take several years for it to finally click, so keep practicing at home.
Challenge yourself with different ways to juggle
There are so many ways juggling makes a soccer player better. So instead of only and constantly trying to break your juggling record, add these ways.
Juggle high and low balls using feet only, walking, jogging, back spin, side spin and with no rotation.
Don’t just be a stiff robot that has to take every single touch the same way…
Once you can juggle 25 times and time and any day, start to juggle using these many different ways. Spend your time learning and becoming comfortable with the ball.
My goal is to Raise your level through motivation and training!
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