Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Keepy uppies helps kids master the ball

David Clarke

Juggling is a great way to improve mastery of the ball, which will help your players during matches and give their confidence a boost. Three things come out of juggling:

  • Improving ball control and touch.

  • Improving coordination.

  • Improving reactions.

All age groups can do juggling and they should eventually be able to use all parts of their body – thighs, head, chest – to keep the ball in the air. But for young or inexperienced players it is best to start off with simple kicks so they get the feel of it. It is also best to do it on firmer surfaces because the ball will not bounce off muddy ones.

The technique is to use the laces of the boot, keep toes pointing up and tap directly under the ball.

  • Hold the ball with both hands and it let drop to the ground. After one bounce, tap the ball back up and catch (bounce-foot-catch).

  • Next, rather than catch the ball, let it bounce, tap it again, then catch (bounce-foot-bounce-foot-catch).

  • Try increasing the number of bounces and taps before catching the ball to 3, then 4 etc.

  • Now try tapping the ball twice before it bounces (bounce-foot-foot-catch), then 3 times etc.

  • Repeat all progressions several times with each foot. Hold the ball, release it so it falls, but tap it back into hands before it hits the ground. Increase the difficulty by tapping the ball two, three, four times etc before catching. Now, try moving the ball from one foot to the other and back again. (right-left-right etc).

How to develop the session

When players reach a certain number of kick ups you can get them to do more advance juggling. In this session they can start on their thigh, and catch it. Then move to incorporating their feet and head.

So if you look at the diagram you go thigh, dropping it onto the foot then high in the air to head it. Players should try to keep this sequence going for as long as possible.

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