How to Keep a Football Up: Master Juggling and Tricks for Ultimate Control

Ever tried to keep a football up in the air only to watch it plummet to the ground after a few kicks? You’re not alone. Mastering the art of juggling a football is a rite of passage for any soccer enthusiast.

It’s not just about showing off your skills; it’s about improving your control, touch, and overall game. So, lace up your cleats and get ready to learn the secrets to keeping that ball off the grass for good.

Mastering the Basics

When you first set out to keep a football aloft, it’s all about going back to square one. Starting position is crucial; make sure you’re standing comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart. You want a stable base that allows flexibility and quick adjustments. Balance is your best friend here.

Get to know your ball. Each football has its own quirks depending on material, wear, and inflation. Spend some time tapping it gently on your foot; gauge how it moves, feels, and responds to your touch. Familiarity breeds control.

kick ups, also known as juggling, might seem daunting but everyone starts somewhere. Use the laces area of your boot, which gives you the most control when striking the ball. Keep your toes pointed slightly upward to create a small pocket for the ball to sit. As you tap the ball into the air, use a gentle touch. Putting too much force will send the ball flying, too little and it won’t rise enough. It’s okay if you can’t keep the ball up for long, building stamina and consistency takes practice.

Remember to:

  • Stay on your toes to react quickly and maintain momentum
  • Use both feet to develop an all-rounded skillset
  • Keep your focus on the ball but be aware of your surroundings

Choosing the Right Ball

When you’re looking to keep a football up, the type of ball you choose can make all the difference in your control and success. You want a ball that responds well to your touch, isn’t too light or too heavy, and suits your level of skill.

Go for a regulation football; it’s the standard size five ball for players aged 12 and up. The weight should be between 410 to 450 grams, which gives you enough heft to feel the impact without it being a burden. A lighter ball might seem easier to keep in the air, but it won’t help you develop the right technique for a real game scenario.

For younger players, sizes three and four are more appropriate. They are smaller and lighter, proportionate to children’s strength and stature. Here’s a quick guide:

Ball Size Age Group Weight
3 Up to 8 years 300-320 g
4 8-12 years 350-390 g
5 12+ years 410-450 g

The material of the ball is also crucial. Synthetic leather balls offer a good grip and are generally the best choice for practice, especially if you’re planning to play in different weather conditions. They maintain their shape and are durable, which means they won’t let you down session after session.

In terms of texture, look for a ball with a slight grain. This can help you with grip and control when the ball comes in contact with your boots. A completely smooth ball might slip off easily, making your juggling act more challenging than it needs to be.

Avoid balls with a too glossy finish; they can become slippery, especially when wet. All these factors contribute to a consistent practice session, enhancing your foot-to-ball coordination, and giving you a better feel for the game.

Remember, the right ball won’t instantly make you a pro at keeping it up but pairing the right equipment with focused practice surely gives you an edge. Keep this in mind the next time you hit the field or your backyard for some football juggling fun.

Warming Up and Stretching

Before you hit the pitch to practice your juggling skills, it’s crucial to prepare your body. Warming up increases your heart rate and primes your muscles, while stretching improves your flexibility, both essential for keeping a football up successfully.

Start with a light jog around the field. This simple activity gets the blood flowing to your muscles, helping reduce the risk of injury. After a few minutes, switch to dynamic stretches—these mimic your soccer movements, so you’re essentially prepping your body for action. Some dynamic stretches to include are:

  • Leg swings
  • Walking lunges
  • High knees

Remember, a proper warm-up should last about 10 minutes. It’s short yet effective at getting you game-ready. Each stretch should be performed smoothly, without bouncing or jerking movements. That could lead to muscle strains, and you definitely don’t want that holding you back.

Once you’ve warmed up, it’s time to focus on the areas you’ll be using the most. As a footballer, your lower body and core are critical. Perform some targeted stretches for your hamstrings, quads, calves, and hip flexors. Hold each stretch for about 15-30 seconds—aiming for a point of slight tension, not pain. Strengthening your core with planks or sit-ups can also increase your stability when juggling the ball.

It’s tempting to skip straight to ball work, but don’t underestimate the importance of a good warm-up routine. It sets the stage for a top-notch practice session and improves your overall performance. So, take those extra minutes to get your body ready; you’ll notice the difference in your control and stamina when keeping the ball up.

Proper Footwork and Technique

Mastering footwork is crucial when you’re learning how to keep a football up. First and foremost, balance is key. You will want to spread your weight evenly on the balls of your feet and stay light on your toes, giving you the agility to adjust and react to the ball’s movement quickly.

Next, focus on striking the ball correctly. Using the laces area of your boots can offer control, but the secret lies in the subtle touch. It’s not about power; it’s about gentle taps that keep the ball aloft. Your touches should be as light as possible to prevent the ball from gaining too much height, which could throw off your rhythm.

Let’s not forget about using the inside and outside of your feet. This is crucial for controlling the ball’s direction in the air and for when you’re transitioning into more complex tricks. Keep your ankle firm but flexible, allowing you to change the angle of contact as needed.

  • Balance on the balls of your feet
  • Strike gently with the laces area
  • Use inside and outside of your feet for direction control

Remember to watch the ball at all times. Your eyes should be fixed on the lower half of the ball, helping you anticipate its descent and prepare for the next tap. Trust me, after playing at high levels and now being an avid watcher, I’ve observed how the pros do it. They always seem to have eyes on the ball till the very last moment before they execute a tap.

Practicing proper footwork becomes second nature over time. Incorporate different types of footwork into your routine, like alternating between left and right foot taps and introducing thigh and head juggles as your confidence grows. Variety not only improves your skill but also keeps training sessions engaging and fun.

Don’t rush the process; think of it as a dance with the football, where every movement counts towards building up that seamless flow of keeping the ball up. Watch lots of football, analyze the footwork of top players, and above all, keep practicing. Your technique will sharpen with time, and before you know it, you’ll be juggling like the pros.

Practicing Control and Touch

When it comes to keeping a football aloft, your level of control and touch is what sets you apart from the rest. Perfecting these skills isn’t just about keeping the ball up; it’s about owning every movement you make. Here’s how you hone in on those crucial abilities.

Start by working on your first touch. The way you receive the ball can make or break the flow of your juggling. Begin with simple drills: have someone toss the ball at various heights and distances, and practice cushioning it with your foot. It’s all about absorbing the impact – think soft and precise. You’re aiming to tame the ball, to have it behave exactly as you wish.

Transition into space management. Your personal space, your bubble of movement, is your stage when juggling a football. Navigate this space by taking your touches in different directions. Left, right, forward, back — mix it up. This prepares you for unpredictable scenarios on the field and boosts your spatial awareness.

Let’s talk timing and rhythm. Much like a metronome for a musician, timing is essential for consistent juggling. Develop a cadence and stick with it; this will solidify your muscle memory. Count your juggles out loud or to a beat in your head to maintain consistency.

Incorporate various parts of your foot to build versatility. Don’t just use the laces area — get comfortable with the sole, the toe, and the heel as well. Each part of your boot offers unique control, and versatility is key in match situations. Consider the situation: a sole touch to stop a high ball, a toe flick to pop it over an opponent, a heel knock to change direction swiftly.

Remember, the best footballers are those who look like they’re barely trying. Your touches should be effortless. Train hard but also smart. Be patient with yourself. Like any form of mastery, control, and touch require dedication and time. Keep at it, and you’ll see your hard work pay off every time you step onto the pitch.

Building Strength and Stamina

As you’re discovering the elegant dance of keeping a football in the air, it’s crucial to bolster the two pillars that’ll sustain your performance: strength and stamina. Without them, even the best technique might struggle under the strain of a long session.

Developing core strength is integral to maintaining balance and control. Engage in exercises such as planks, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches. These will not only support your footwork but also help prevent injuries by stabilizing your midsection, allowing for fluid transitions and better control over the ball.

Your leg muscles carry the brunt of the work in this juggling act. Incorporate squats, lunges, and calf raises into your routine. These exercises build the explosive power needed to pop the ball up with finesse and keep it aloft for longer periods. Aim for lower weights and higher repetitions to foster endurance alongside strength.

For stamina, your best friend is cardiovascular training. Whether it’s running, cycling, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), these activities will increase your ability to perform at your peak for extended periods. You’ll notice the difference when you’re juggling the football and find that you can keep going without that burning sensation in your lungs calling for a time-out.

Let’s not forget the importance of consistent practice. It’s a different kind of strength and stamina you’re building here—the mental kind. Push yourself to set new records with the number of juggles, but listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Your persistence will pay off in both your physical capability and mental resilience.

Remember, you’re not in this alone. Watch how the pros do it. Notice not just their footwork but also their posture and how they hold their core tight while effortlessly keeping the ball in play. Mimic their movements and your body will start to understand the stamina and strength they’ve cultivated through years of practice. Keep at it, and you’ll find your own rhythm, just like they did.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re learning how to keep a football up, there are a few pitfalls you’ll want to steer clear of. These common mistakes can hinder your progress and may lead to frustration.

Firstly, avoid using your toes to juggle. It might seem intuitive, but it’s a rookie error. Instead, use the laces of your shoes or your instep. This will give you much more control and help you keep the ball at a manageable height.

A lot of beginners aren’t aware that they’re ignoring their weaker foot. It’s natural to favor the foot you’re most comfortable with, but remember, strength and skill in both feet is crucial in football. Make sure you practice equally with each foot to maintain balance and skill development.

Diagnosing your own form can be tricky, but pay attention to whether you’re locking your knees. Keeping a slight bend in your knees aids in cushioning the ball’s impact and makes for smoother transitions between touches. Locked knees can lead to a loss of control and even injury.

Overlooking the importance of upper body movement is another stumble you’ll want to avoid. Your upper body plays a key role in maintaining balance. Keep your body relaxed, allowing your arms to move freely and help you keep your bearings.

Avoid getting into the habit of juggling at one speed. Mix up the tempo and height of your touches. This not only prepares you for the unpredictability of a real match but it also enhances your overall ball control skills.

  • Use the laces or instep, not the toes
  • Practice with both feet
  • Keep a slight bend in the knees
  • Let your upper body assist in balance
  • Vary the speed and height of touches

Letting the ball drop can be discouraging, but remember, maintaining consistent practice and mental resilience, while observing and mimicking the movements of pros will steadily refine your technique and get those numbers up. Keep at it, and you’ll find your rhythm in no time.

Taking It to the Next Level

Once you’ve grasped the fundamentals of keeping the ball off the ground, you’re ready to inject some flair and complexity into your practice. You’ve got the basics down; now let’s add the sizzle that’ll turn heads.

Start incorporating juggling tricks to push your boundaries. Begin with something simple like the foot stall – where the ball rests on your foot. Then, move onto more complex maneuvers such as around the world, where your foot circles over and around the stationary ball. These tricks won’t just look impressive – they’ll fine-tune your control and touch.

Height control is another crucial skill as you advance. You’ll want to try keeping the ball up but at varying heights, challenging your coordination and timing. Let the ball drop a bit lower, then with a quick tap, send it soaring above head height. It’s a fantastic drill to get used to the unpredictability of in-game scenarios.

Don’t shy away from using other parts of your body. Sure, your feet are getting the hang of it, but can you keep it up with your thighs, head, and even shoulders? Integrating your whole body into the drill mimics the real-life demands of a match. After all, you never know which part you’ll need to use to control a wild pass or deflection.

Include movement as well. Rather than staying stationary, practice walking, jogging, and eventually sprinting while juggling. You’ll find your sense of balance and control tested in new ways.

For those competitive spirits out there, try setting personal challenges or records. How many touches can you manage with your weaker foot? Can you complete a series of tricks without the ball touching the ground? And always remember to play around with rhythm – mix up fast touches with slow, deliberate ones to replicate match conditions.


Now that you’ve got the basics down and started adding some flair with tricks like foot stalls and around the worlds, remember that the key to keeping a football up is consistent practice. Challenge yourself with height control and using various body parts to maintain that touch. Don’t forget to bring movement into your routine to simulate real-game scenarios. And most importantly, have fun with it! Play with rhythm, set personal goals, and keep pushing your limits. You’ll not only impress your friends but also build skills that translate beautifully onto the pitch. Keep at it, and soon you’ll juggle like a pro!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can beginners learn football juggling from this article?

Yes, beginners can learn football juggling from this article. It provides basic techniques and tips suitable for those just starting out.

What are some advanced juggling tricks mentioned in the article?

The article mentions advanced juggling tricks like the foot stall and around the world, which can help improve control and touch.

Why is height control important in football juggling?

Height control is important because it helps players maintain better control over the ball, making it easier to perform consistent juggling.

Does the article suggest using different parts of the body for juggling?

Yes, the article suggests using various parts of the body, such as thighs, head, and shoulders, to enhance juggling skills.

How can movement be incorporated into juggling practice?

Movement can be incorporated into juggling practice by walking, jogging, or sprinting while juggling to test balance and control in dynamic conditions.

Why should players set personal challenges in juggling?

Players should set personal challenges to continuously improve their skills and replicate match conditions in their practice sessions.

Is rhythm important in football juggling?

Rhythm is crucial in football juggling as it helps players to simulate real-game scenarios, making the practice more effective.

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