The actual game of soccer aside, there's a lot more you can do with the soccer ball. The game is fine, but once in a while, the viewers do like being treated to a bit of skill, a bit of artistry a bit of fancy-footed play. And given that a lot of focus is being trained on the cool moves, a lot of people have the desire to do them and wow the audiences.
- The Juggle
The basic juggle is a simple little trick. The first step is to lift the ball on to your foot and then start juggling it. By juggling, I mean start kicking the ball lightly in the air and don't let it fall to the ground. There are plenty of variations in the juggle. You can start with the normal juggle where you keep lifting the ball on the front part of your feet repeatedly. Make it difficult by switching from one foot to the other. Make it even more difficult by trying to lift the ball with your inner heel and then the outer heel. Still tougher? Lift it to your chest and your head! The key here is to keep your eye on the ball and maintain a good balance on one leg while you juggle with the other. This trick helps you improve your touches on the ball and improves ball control.
- The Foot Stall
This one is another basic soccer trick which you have probably seen players do several times on TV. The objective of this trick is to balance the ball on your foot, toss it up in the air and catch it with the same or the other foot. For this trick you have to stand with one leg in the air, the ball atop the foot. Then toss the ball in the air. To catch the ball, you have to kinda cup your foot by turning the ankle towards the front and then catch it. Again, improves balance and ball control. The head stall is another popular variation of the trick, which frankly I've tried but without much success. The trick to this one is to balance the ball on your head, toss it up gently and catch it (don't ask me how!) and balance it on your head. Needs a LOT of practice!
- Around The World
The 'around the world' is another feted soccer trick. The player here starts with balancing the ball on the front part of his foot and then toss the ball in the air. And while the ball is in the air, move his foot around the ball (the world) clockwise or anticlockwise. And once the leg has gone around the ball, the player has to again balance the ball in the starting position. Of course, balancing the ball might be a little tough after tossing it up and moving your foot around it, so the easy way out here is to pass it to someone next to you! You can make this trick more difficult by doing it twice and going around the world with both feet! This trick too improves your balance, alertness, and ball control.
- The Rainbow
Assuming you're right-footed, keep the ball between the left leg, which is ahead, and the right leg which stands behind the left. Now lean forwards. You keep your left foot pointing forwards while the right foot pointing sideways. Now with the right foot, roll the ball up to the back of your heel and then kick it with the back of your heel. The ball should, ideally, fall in front of you at the end of the semicircular path.
- The Cupcake
A slightly difficult trick, the cupcake uses the force from the ankles to achieve maximum effect. Here the player has to toss the ball up in the air with his feet not coming off the ground. The idea is to keep the feet on the ground, and toss the ball up by just thrusting the front part of your foot up. The force comes from the ankles. You can increase the difficulty level by juggling with a similar motion and even combining the cupcake with the 'around the world'.
- The Rabona
Now suppose you're dribbling the ball with one foot, let's assume the left foot, and you want to take a shot from the left side to the right. Normally, what you would do is, you'd simply go head on against the opposition player. But this trick will help you trick the player a bit. What the player can do instead is plant the right foot firmly on the right side of the ball, move his left foot around the ball and then kick it away to your teammate. What the rabona does is that it changes the anglel of your shot a bit and the ball doesn't hit the opposition player. I don't know much about the origin of the word here though!
- The Wrong-Foot
Perhaps one of the most underrated moves, the wrong-foot is both effective and easy. Now suppose you're running at the opposition goal, and you come across the defender of that team. The defender would normally assume that you will continue your goal-ward movement with the same foot (your stronger dribbling foot). But instead, you can simply move across (say from your right foot to the left foot) and hoodwink the defender who might not be prepared for this. It's effective because it completely changes the angle of your movement and a slower defender won't be able to catch you at it! The wrong foot is also a great trick when finishing in front of goal. In a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, he might be inclined to assume that you will shoot the ball with your stronger foot and move in that direction. But by achieving this simple change of angle, you completely nullify the prediction of the goalkeeper!