National Assessment Topic #2: Juggling

What is tested in Topic #2: Juggling
Juggling consists of 3 skill assessments, each 20 seconds in length. The first is Preferred Foot juggling: How many times in a row can you juggle, using only your preferred foot, in 20 seconds? Now try it with your Non-Preferred foot for the second juggling assessment. Last but not least, try it with your Head. No matter how good you are, it’s always a challenge to get just one more touch.

MLS Player Taylor Graham of the Seattle Sounders joins the National Standards Project!

Why do we test the Preferred and Non-Preferred foot separately?
When you’re juggling, every touch sets up the next. One bad touch makes the next one that much harder. Alternating feet or juggling with the thighs allows players to compensate for possible bad touches with good touches from their preferred foot. Isolating each foot
separately provides a more realistic assessment of their ability and encourages the player to focus on improving both of their feet.

Why do we limit the time for juggling?

Soccer is a game of doing simple things very quickly and accurately. Therefore, we wanted to create a test that challenged players to improve the speed and accuracy of their touches, not just the quantity. This forces players (like the boy in the video above) to have complete control over every touch, which is much more difficult than simply keeping the ball in the air for an hour.

Maintaining and improving a personal juggling record is definitely a great idea as well, however, juggling at pace, under pressure from time constraints, and isolating different surfaces, can really accelerate the rate of improvement for a young player.