Whether you’re out in the back yard playing with friends or playing in a professional soccer game everyone loves being able to do a trick or a skill that gets you past the player in front of you.
Even if you’re a beginner, this post will take you through 10 easy to learn tricks and skills that will have you taking on the opposition with confidence in no time! And to make it even easier to understand, there’s a video with each one so you can see how it’s done and copy it.
1. Single Lunge
The lunge is all about confusing the defender in front of you by shifting your bodyweight one-way but then going the opposite way. This trick is an easy one to use in any game you’re playing in. You can use it from a stationary position or on the run with the ball.
It’s particularly effective when the opposing player is running at you at speed from the other direction as it will take them longer to change direction once they realize what has happened. By then you’ll be long gone! Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1 – With the ball in front of you shift your body weight to one side. Step to the side and put all your weight through this leg. This shift should be away from the direction you actually want to go with the ball.
Step 2 – Push back in the opposite direction. After leaning towards one side quickly move back the other way. This will hopefully have confused the defender who will have made a move in the original direction you moved.
Step 3 – As you move back towards the ball push the ball with the outside of your foot. Now you’re moving away from the opposing defender. Kick the ball even further out of their reach.
Step 4 – Move off with the ball at your feet.
The Rabona has been around for well over half a century. Often used when a player wants to use their stronger foot but is not in the best position to do that. They’ll cross one foot behind the other and kick the ball with their stronger foot. This skill can take the opposition by surprise and create an opportunity would not otherwise have been there.
Step 1 – Get in the right position. When stepping up to perform a rabona you will want to start at a 90-degree angle to the ball. This will give you a good angle to prepare to complete the next step well.
Step 2 – Place your standing foot next to the ball and bring your kicking foot behind your leg. Your standing foot needs to be placed beside the ball with your toes pointing in the direction you intend to kick the ball.
Once your foot is planted bring your kicking foot behind your standing leg lifting it as high as possible to be able to get as much power as possible into the kick. This is where that 90-degree angle will help you to generate as much power from the swing as possible.
Step 3 – Kick the ball. As you bring your foot around the back of your leg to make contact with the ball you want to be aiming to hit the ball just off-center towards the outside of your foot. You also need to be aiming to make contact with the lower half of the ball to give the kick some height.
The stepover is an often-used skill in soccer. Trying to throw off the defender in front of to confuse them about which direction you and the ball are about to move in. This can be used just once or multiple times in a row. Some players will even take it to the extreme and do it over 10 times in a row! If you can master this you will have no problem getting past any defender in front of you.
Step 1 – Dribble the ball towards your opponent. This skill often requires the player to be running with the ball towards a player in front of them. It works best when done at speed. It can be effective when done in a stationary position but in this scenario, the next steps have to be done very quickly to work well and send the defender the wrong way.
Step 2 – When you are directly in front of the defender move one foot around the ball. As you step over the ball you need to give a big movement in the direction your moving, shifting your whole body weight in this direction. This will really help to sell your fake move to the defender.
Step 3 – Once you land on your foot after the step over immediately push back in the opposite direction. After convincing the defender you’re going one way it’s time to move quickly in the opposite direction to get away into space.
Step 4 – Kick the ball into the space the defender has left behind. As you move back in the other direction kick the ball ahead of you to take the ball away from the defender and into the space your skill has created.
4. Cruyff Turn
Johan Cruyff first used this trick in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. By suddenly changing direction by pulling the ball behind him he was able to swiftly get away from any defender. With a bit of practice, you can master this skill. And although few of us will ever be as great a player as Johan Cruyff being able to perform this trick during a game could set you apart from some of the other players around you.
Step 1 – Look like you’re going to kick the ball. One of the biggest parts of this trick is to initially make it look like you are going to kick the ball. Swing your leg back as if you are generating power for a big kick.
Step 2 – Bring your foot to the ball but instead of kicking it pull it behind your standing leg. The main deception in this trick is to pull the ball back rather than follow through the kick. Using the inside of your foot push the ball back in the direction you have just come from. Make sure the ball rolls behind you standing foot.
Step 3 – Turn around and take the ball into space. Now the ball is rolling in the opposite direction and the defender is still moving forward wondering where the ball has gone turn back to the direction you came from and take the ball away.
5. Inside Rollover
The inside rollover is a great, and easy, skill for moving the ball while also keeping it under close control. Rather than potentially kicking the ball too far forward where it could be taken by an opposition player, it keeps the ball close and exactly where you want it. It also allows you to keep the ball moving while shielding the ball from a defender. Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1 – Keep the ball moving. This skill only works while the ball is moving. In fact, if the ball is stationary then you’re not doing this correctly.
Step 2 – As the ball is rolling, run the bottom of your foot over the top of the ball. With the ball on the ground and your standing foot beside the ball, touch the top of the ball with the sole of your foot, preferably just beneath your toes, and drag the ball in the direction you want the ball to go.
Step 3 – Let the ball run and prepare to perform the skill again. This skill is very simple and can be done many times in a row if needed.
In my opinion, this is one of the most enjoyable tricks on this list. I don’t know if it’s because it looks so good or simply because it’s so effective. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy learning this one.
Step 1 – The first step in performing this trick is knowing that it helps to be running with the ball. This can be done from standing still and I have even done it as a first touch when intercepting a pass, but it’s much easier to already be running with the ball when you perform this.
Step 2 – Push the ball with your foot slightly to one side. This will set you up nicely to perform the trick. For me, as someone who is right-footed, I find it much easier to push the ball to the left at this point. If you are left-footed you may find it easier to push the ball to the right. As you’re practicing, see what works best for you.
Step 3 – Step on the ball (with your right foot if you pushed the ball to your left in the previous step, and left foot if you pushed the ball to your right) and drag the ball back. While doing this you will begin to spin your body around in the air.
Step 4 – While spinning in the air, drag the ball back with your other foot (left if you performed the first drag back with your right foot, and right foot if you first used your left).
Step 5 – Allow the ball to roll ahead of you while you finish your 360-degree spin. If you have timed your spin and drag backs right the ball should now be rolling in the direction you are running and you can just carry on running up the field now you have left the defender in the dust!
7. The Matthews Cut
The Matthews cut was first used by the legendary England international Sir Stanley Matthews as early as the 1940s. It is a seemingly basic trick with just two quick touches but can be very effective at getting you past a defender.
Step 1 – While running push the ball across your body with the inside of your foot. Make sure this is just a gentle touch as you don’t want the ball to move too far. Only enough to make the defender think you are moving in that direction.
Step 2 – Quickly move the same foot to the other side of the ball. Before the ball gets too far away and before you have put your foot back down move your foot behind the ball to the opposite side.
Step 3 – With the outside of the same foot push the ball back in the direction it came from. This will probably be a harder kick than before as you will now be wanting to create some space between you and the defender.
Step 4 – Run into space with the ball.
The Elastico is an almost a sped up Matthews cut. The aim is the same. To confuse the defender about which direction you are going with the ball. With the Elastico, however, you are flicking the ball back in the opposite direction much quicker.
Although it can be done in the same direction as a Matthews Cut you will most often see the Elastico performed by flicking the ball from the outside to the inside rather than the other way round as is done with a Matthews cut. To see what I mean let’s go through this skill step by step.
Step 1 – With the ball in front of you gently tap the ball with the outside of your foot. This will push the ball slightly away from you.
Step 2 – Quickly bring your foot back around the ball. In the same movement as you used in step one, keep your foot moving through the air until it is on the opposite side of the ball.
Step 3 – Push the ball back the other way. Now your foot is on the other side of the ball push it back across your body using the inside of your foot.
Step 4 – Remember that steps 1 -3 should be one quick, fluid motion. For this skill to be most effective it needs to be done at speed and as one flick of the ball.
9. Around the World
This one is a little more complicated and will take a bit more practice than some of the others but is completely achievable.
It’s not one you will probably ever use in a game, but it is a great one to learn to improve your skill and ball control.
I remember when I was younger spending hours practicing this trick. I kept doing it over and over again until I could do it. I can promise you it is achievable!
Step 1 – Balance the ball on your foot (foot stall). This is the best way to start the “around the world” skill. It can be done with a moving ball but it can take a bit longer to master that skill! So start by getting comfortable having the ball balanced on top of your foot.
Step 2 – Next you are going to bend your knee on your standing leg and squat
Step 3 – As you come back up from the squat you are going to use the momentum to push the ball up into the air. Be careful not to push the ball too high as you need to be able to get your leg over the top of the ball.
Step 4 – Once the ball is air bourne throw your leg over the top of the ball and back down the other side. I find it easier to do this by moving my leg in a clockwise motion when I do this, but it can be done either way. Remember, this is not done as a separate move from pushing the ball up but all done as one continuous movement.
Step 5 – Bring your foot back under the ball to catch or kick it before it hits the floor.
If you want more advice on how to improve your ball juggling skills, make sure you check out this guide I put together. It will show you everything you need to know to take your juggling skills to the next level.
10. Ronaldo Chop
The Ronaldo Chop is a trick made famous by the Portuguese soccer player Christiano Ronaldo. He uses it time and time again to get past defenders and create space for himself when running with the ball. This is a great trick to use in a game when you’re running at a defender and need a sudden change of direction.
Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1 – Position yourself where you need to be. The best position to be in is to be running at speed and have the defender at your side or slightly behind you. This will make the trick mush more effective and throw the defender off balance.
Step 2 – Use your right foot to chop to the left and your left foot to chop to the right. Using the opposite foot to the direction you want the ball to go will achieve the outcome you are looking for. Your right foot will push the ball to the left and the left foot will push the ball to the right.
Step 3 – Jump. The “chop” is performed with both feet in the air. As you’re running jump off the ground (still with forward momentum). Throw your “non-chopping” leg forward while preparing the “chopping” foot to make contact with the ball.
Step 4 – Chop! As you come back down to earth your “chopping” foot, which is also the leg you will be landing on, will make contact with the ball in a chopping motion. It will look as though you are trying to chop the edge of the ball off. This will push the ball sharply away from your foot in the direction you want to go.
Step 5 – As your other foot lands, push off with that foot and follow the ball. At this point, the defender will hopefully be running the wrong way and scrambling to catch up with you.
*Check out the next post – A Complete Guide to a Soccer Field – Size and Dimensions *
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