Freestyle Soccer: Tricks for the Best Jugglers

Ronaldinho has become a face of freestyle soccer's growth. (AP Photo)

It is slowly shedding the image of an underground sport--in part because freestyle soccer has entertainment value that's hard to match.

As the tricks and creative avenues of the sport spread uncontrollably, more and more skilled jugglers are showing off their talent through freestyle soccer--also called freestyle football or football freestyle across the world.

So where did freestyle soccer get started? It's hard to say. Juggling has been popular forever, but the art of breathtaking creativity while juggling--with the best of the best constantly trying to one-up each other--hit the mainstream around 2000.

That was when Nike started featuring freestyle soccer and sponsoring events around the world. Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho became a famous face connected to freestyle soccer in part because of Nike's efforts to showcase the budding sport and include Ronaldinho's talent in that campaign.

Here is a video of Fernando Pitt, a famous Brazilian freestyle soccer player, as he performed at The Southern California Beach Soccer Championships in Oceanside, Calif.

Piece of cake, right?

As hard as that looks, remember that Pitt is one of the best on the planet. Beginner golfers shouldn't worry about playing like Tiger Woods, first-time basketball players shouldn't expect to be better than Michael Jordan, and those interested in dabbling with freestyle soccer shouldn't expect to be that phenomenal anytime soon.

So what does it take? Simply put, an incredible amount of hard work and practice. First, make sure you can juggle normally, and be able to do so for a long time. Without the ordinary juggling skills, the extraordinary juggling skills are impossible. There are several articles about the fundamentals of juggling, for beginners and the experienced, to get you started.

Once you've become an advanced juggler, slowly start incorporating tricks. Watch video of the elite--there are tons of clips on YouTube, and studying them is a great way to learn. There are blogs and websites across the Internet that celebrate the skills and passes tricks and advice on. There are widespread tricks like Around the World that many people know and are willing to share via the Internet.

Most of all, practice! Not one freestyle soccer player, not even Fernando Pitt, was born with the skills. He tried things, he failed more times than he can count, and he kept working at it until he got it right.

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