Learning how to juggle a soccer ball can be a great way of improving your ball control. But sometimes when you’re relaxing at home or with friends you don’t want to put your shoes on just to kick the ball around. In this article, I want to show you the best way to juggle a soccer ball without shoes.
To juggle a soccer ball without shoes you need to bend your knees as you kick the ball and focus on kicking the ball with the flattest part of your foot. Your foot is more angular than a shoe and therefore you need to take more care regarding where your foot and the ball make contact.
Although you obviously won’t use this skill during a soccer game it can still be fun to know and you can play around at home or with your friends on the beach!
So, let’s look at each of these tips and give you the best chance of enjoying juggling a ball without having to use your shoes.
Tip 1: Kick the Ball With Your Toes
My most important tip for juggling a soccer ball without shoes is to focus on kicking the ball with your toes rather than the top of your feet.
This is important because it is different from the best technique used for juggling a ball with shoes on your feet.
As I explain in my step-by-step how to juggle a soccer ball guide, the top part, or laces, of your shoe is the best place to kick the ball.
However, when you are not wearing shoes you want to avoid the top of your foot.
This is because this area of your foot is far more “angular” than your toe area. When the ball hits this area it is more likely to fly off in the wrong direction rather than go where you want it to go.
As the ball comes down aim for the center of the ball to make contact with your big toe. This toe has the biggest surface area giving you the most control over where the ball goes.
Tip 2: Cushion the Ball as It Makes Contact With Your Foot
Make sure you cushion the ball as it touches your foot.
When you are not wearing shoes you lose the padding on your foot that the shoes provide. This causes the ball to bounce more erratically after you kick it when not wearing shoes.
To counteract this you need to make sure you cushion the ball as you touch it.
The best technique for doing this is to bring your foot down slightly as your foot and the ball makes contact. This technique can take a bit of time to master as you also want to be kicking the ball up at the same time!
Your toes should be soft to cushion the ball but sturdy enough to push the ball back up.
Tip 3: Bend Your Knees as You Juggle the Ball
Another tip that will help you control the ball is to make sure you bend your knees as you kick the ball.
Having a straight leg doesn’t give you the control you need when you’re juggling the ball without shoes.
Beginners are especially likely to make this mistake. You’ll see their leg fully extended as they kick the ball.
To avoid this mistake, focus on keeping your knees bent at all times. Even your standing leg.
This position will keep you ready to shift and adapt to the movement of the ball and give you far more control over the ball as you juggle with it.
It may feel unusual at first and take a bit of practice, but once you master this technique you will appreciate the advantages.
Tip 4: Stand on the Balls of Your Feet
When you are attempting to juggle a soccer ball without shoes then you need to be fully aware of how quickly the ball can move.
Juggling with shoes on tends to make it easier to control the ball and makes it easier to juggle for a long time. When you remove your shoes it’s more likely that the ball will move in directions you didn’t intend for it to move.
Standing with your weight on the balls of your feet keeps you ready to adjust your body and weight quickly.
If you stand flat-footed then those extra moments it takes to adjust your weight can be the difference between juggling the ball successfully or not.
Again, this may take some practice as it is asking a lot of your calf muscles, but keep trying and you will soon see the benefits.
Tip 5: Wear Socks to Reduce Any Discomfort
Tip number 5 is to wear socks when you juggle without shoes on.
(obviously, it doesn’t just have to be socks, anything that covers your feet will help)
One of the natural things to do when juggling without shoes on is to attempt to juggle with bare feet. This is especially common if you’re at the beach, for instance.
However, in my experience, this can become uncomfortable really fast. Especially if you’re using a standard size 5 soccer ball.
Most soccer balls are designed to be kicked by a player wearing shoes or soccer cleats. When you start juggling a ball barefoot, the constant impact of the ball against the foot can cause your foot to turn red and start to feel sore.
To minimize this effect, my advice is to wear socks.
You’ll still be gain the skill of juggling without shoes but you won’t have to put yourself through so much pain!
Once you have mastered the art of juggling without shoes you will soon notice how much learning to juggle a soccer ball can improve your all-around soccer performance.
For more helpful information on improving your soccer skills, check out one of my previous articles: