Freestyle Soccer – Confused on Where to Start?

First of all, let's start with a simple question, what is freestyle soccer? Freestyle soccer is simply the style and ability to combine various soccer tricks in juggling and ground moves. It's a new trend in soccer along with other types like five a side futsal and beach soccer. In a soccer context, freestyle is perceived as less significance to the modern game. However, freestyle soccer does improve a footballer's ability to control the ball.

The ball control is what I perceived as the most important element in soccer before other attributes like fitness and tactics. There's a saying that if you can control the ball you can control the game. In fact, I stumbled one of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's, an Inter Milan player, quotes saying that as long as you have the ball, you'll have the advantage. Yet majority of footballers still ignore the importance of freestyle soccer. There are reasons behind it and one of them is that the soccer tricks are difficult to execute and only brings less to the modern game. True enough, but let's not forget the concept of ball control. Learning freestyle allows a player to enhance his touches especially the first touch. A great first touch buys you thousands of mili seconds to give you an edge over the opposition.

Those seconds could change the game in an instant especially in the modern game where it demands fast and furious soccer. As a result of those reasons, they don't even bother in the first place. On the other side, the ones who love freestyle soccer perceived it as something that they can express their creativity and improve on ball control and touches to a greater heights. But I'm more concern to those who are ignorant and may not have the slightest interest on freestyle soccer. The problem is, they may not know where to begin especially after watching a series of freestyle videos on streaming sites like YouTube. I'm assuming that they only watched the difficult tricks and instead forget the basics of freestyle soccer. I believe that freestyle soccer should begin with the basics like juggling and planting before moving on to the more advanced soccer tricks like the around the world, crossover, flip flap and others. It's important since juggling is the principle of all types of ball control along with dribbling. In this case, I shall focus on juggling since it's related to freestyle soccer.

Juggling the ball

Simply done by doing kick ups without letting the ball fall on to the ground and expanded to different parts of the body from foot, thigh, shoulder and head. The aim is to be able to link your juggling skills from one part to the other. For example, transfer your juggling from foot to your thigh. You can start with a simple transfer and improve to more advanced transfers like juggling from foot to thigh and then head. Once you've mastered juggling, you can start planting or stalling a soccer ball.

Planting the ball

The ability to balance the ball on a specific part of your body like balancing the ball on your foot. You can start by placing the ball on your foot and once you've mastered, you can plant the ball during your juggling. For example, juggle with your foot which is then transferred to your thigh and then balance it with your foot ie foot plant. Focus on these two abilities will help build confidence for you to start on learning some of the basic freestyle soccer tricks. Improving your juggling and planting skills increases your coordination abilities especially when you practice your transferring or linking skills. For this one, I'd recommend the around the world trick because it's the principle of all soccer tricks. Once you've mastered this trick, you have a great chance of doing other tough soccer tricks like the MATW, TATW, crossover etc. The trick is simply to rotate your foot around the ball after either juggling or footplant and kick it as you finish the rotation to complete the process.

These are a couple of basics that you'd need to constantly bear in mind. Similar to soccer, the techniques are very important and I highly encourage you to practice these tricks with a lot of dedication and once mastered, you'll begin to appreciate the beauty of freestyle soccer.

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How To Keep Your Soccer Cleats In Top Shape

Soccer cleats may not have the ability to make you a better player, but they definitely bring out the best in you because you are able to make use of your skills appropriately. There are so many cleats available in the market today and you should make the right choice in terms of fit, comfort, materials and even the features to enjoy a rewarding session in the field. But it is one thing to buy the perfect pair and quite another if you do not take care of your soccer boots. Keeping your cleats in top shape enhances durability and quality and it is not that hard to keep them in top shape.

1. Avoid the myth of hot water technique to loosen the soccer boots because it ruins the shoe even though it does loosen and expand them to give you a good fit. Instead, choosing other better breaking in techniques such as jogging in them during warm ups or prior to the game. The more activities you engage while wearing the boots, the more they loosen and the better the fit when you finally go to play.

2. If you want to soften your leather soccer cleats, then choose a high quality leather food. You can apply it to the boots after cleaning suitably one day before your game. The softer the boots the more comfortable the fit will be and the easier the movement on the pitch.

3. For natural leather cleats, polishing with creams is enough in ensuring that they do not dry out. They need this kind of conditioning to maintain softness and you can rub the cream after cleaning and drying the shoes. When they remain soft, cracking and hardening is eliminated.

4. Air dries the cleats after every game and avoid situations where you leave them in your bag till it is next practice day. You can stuff some newspaper into the soccer boats to soak up dampness inside and to hold them in shape as they dry. It is also important that you do not expose them to direct sunlight when drying or areas that are too hot because it can end up cracking them.

5. Remove the cleats out immediately after the game; the only place to wear them should be on the field. Hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt can wear the spikes down, making them less functional in offering you grip during play.

6. Clean the soccer boots as soon as possible after the game so you are able to avoid grime and dirt settling into the leather causing damage in the process. When cleaning, you need to also ensure that you clean out every inch of the boot including dented areas as a result of stitching.

7. Use gentle cleaning products that will not damage the shoe and affect the breathability. The cleaning method and the cleaning products should be as gentle as possible to keep your shoe in top shape for longer.

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Considerations to Be Kept in Mind While Buying Soccer Cleats

All sorts of players, whether they are experienced ones, the young ones, the adult ones or the pro everyone needs a hand while picking up the perfect cleats for playing soccer. This article is dedicated towards making the right choice and selecting the cleats which are perfect for your feet. Let us start.

Cleats are Cleats!

This point becomes the first guide to buying cleats to illustrate that it is only the technique of the player which matters. The cleats can only accentuate the game. And hence no player should think that purchasing high quality ones would mean a drastic change in the game as it is going to be the endless practice which will make all the difference.

Get to know your style

Whether you are a goalkeeper, or a forward, defender, midfielder or winger, all this is going to impact on the type that you are going to buy. This is because all these styles are different and require a different set of grip on the ground. After identifying the style, go on for choosing the one which fits you best.

What is the type of your pitch?

The sort of playground you will be playing upon also makes a lot of difference in choosing your soccer cleats. If the land on which you are going to play is muddy and wet then you should go for HG ones. If you need one for a year, then turf should be your choice. Go for firm ground (FG) in case of grassy ground. Soft ground (SG) is apt for surfaces which are soft enough to allow the studs to penetrate the ground. If the surface is solid as a rock, then Indoor ones should be your choice.

The material used matters!

There are a number of materials which are used in making them. It can be K-Leather, Natural leather, synthetic leather, synthetic, mesh or knit. The K leather quality allows your feet to get molded properly and it also provides durability. Made up of the skin of a calf or goat, these are very good at the balls. Some companies are working in the direction of using synthetic leather that gives the same effect as that of natural leather. Mesh is a trendy and lightweight upper covering which sometimes allows moisture to reach the skin of the player. Companies are working on the waterproofing technology of mesh.

Weight

The weight also matters a lot. On an average cleats with the weight of 8oz is considered to be perfect as it keeps the things balanced and the player does not feel the heaviness. However, there are some extra light weight which also weigh between 5oz to 6oz.

Budget your cleat

The most important aspect of purchasing is the budget. How much can you spend on it? Usually $150 or above is the elite level where you can purchase the top companies cleats. But to see a minimum of budget, it should be $10 at least which you are willing to spend on.

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Interesting Facts About Soccer Cleats

Soccer is a sport that has been growing in popularity around the world for hundreds of years. It is the favorite sport in most European countries, and is continuing to gain popularity in America. People young and old around the globe enjoy the game of soccer. One of the most important aspects of the game of soccer is the soccer cleat! Cleats help to give athletes enhanced turning and running capabilities on the field.

Shoes for soccer are generally referred to as either soccer cleats or football cleats. The first ones were supposedly designed for and worn by King Henry VIII in 1525. The king asked his personal shoemaker to make him a pair of shoes that were more durable for normal shoes for playing football. Modern day soccer cleats have come a long way from their initial design. Today, they are specially designed to help athletes perform to the very best of their ability.

One of the most important things that soccer cleats do for soccer players is to provide traction. The cleats help to grip the ground, allowing players to change direction quickly and without getting injured. Especially on wet, slippery grass, changing direction quickly is extremely difficult when you do not have shoes that can grip the ground well. Before cleats were manufactured world-wide, some players used to attach pieces of leather to the bottom of their shoes to help them gain better traction. The small leather studs have since developed into the modern day cleats that we know today.

High end soccer cleats such as the Mercurial Vapor VI FG cleat are usually priced well over $200. However, with the right amount of luck, you can find high-end soccer cleats online for a discount. Shopping for cleats online can provide huge savings. Additionally, soccer cleats, like many shoes, run almost identically in sizes across different brands. This makes buying cleats online an easy process!

Now, soccer cleats are available in a whole assortment of types and designs. Lightweight leather generally makes up modern soccer cleats. Without these special shoes, the sport of soccer would not be as fast paced and exciting as we know it to be today. Cleats are one of the most important aspects of any soccer player’s game. When you hit the field for a game of soccer, make sure you are wearing a great pair of soccer cleats! Your feet and your teammates will thank you.

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IPL 2018: Top 3 Players to Watch Out for on the Rajasthan Royals

Post the IPL 2018 auctions, the franchises have a new look to the team with many new faces coming up and some old veteran players to represent their local franchise. With the 11th edition of Indian Premier League to start off in April, team Circle of Cricket gets down to list the key players from Rajasthan Royals squad who can make a difference with their performance this year.

The team which won the inaugural edition of Indian Premier League under the captaincy of Shane Warne is making their way back after two years of suspension. From the start of the tournament, Rajasthan Royals are said to have unknown talent hidden in them. Royals of Rajasthan had a very decent IPL 2018 auction building their team around Steven Smith. Manoj Badale’s blue army will definitely have some firework this season with many match winners in the team.

Rajasthan will get full support from their fans as they have Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur as their home ground for the coming season.

Steven Smith

Smith who led Rising Pune Supergiant in the nail-biting finals of 2017 IPL against Mumbai Indians was retained by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12 Crores. Steven Smith will prove to be very effective for the team at the top order as he was a part of the franchise before it got terminated for two years. Steven Smith leading a whole new Rajasthan Royals will be very valuable for the team with support coming from experienced Ajinkya Rahane who can bat up in the order and stimulate quick runs on the board.

Smith has more than 1700 runs in the tournament with an average of 37 plus Rajasthan will be heavily dependent on their captain.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes who was bought by Rajasthan as the most expensive player at IPL 2018 auction for Rs 12.5 Crore will have the liberty to free his arms in the middle over and take wickets at intervals with his bag full of different all-rounding skills.

The latter from England was one of the most valuable players in the previous edition of IPL with scoring 300 plus runs and taking 12 wickets in the tournament. Ben Stokes’s presence in Rajasthan Royals team will be very beneficiary for players like Stuart Binny and Jofra Archer who have the ability to single handily change the fortune of a game.

Rajasthan will be hoping for their star all-rounder player Ben Stokes to play every game for them.

Jaydev Unadkat

Unadkat who was the most expensive Indian player to be sold at IPL 2018 auction fetch a mind-boggling amount of Rs 11.5 Crore. The player from Saurashtra has been in a decent form in the recent past. Jayadev is a very skilful player for Rajasthan as he has performed well for RPS in the previous edition of IPL.

The left arm pacer has better IPL economy from most of the other known bowlers. He will be opening the bowling attack with Dhawal Kulkarni who was retained by the team using Right to Match card.

Unadkat is well known for his responsibilities and his wickets taking spirit. He becomes one of the contenders to grab Purple Cap at the end of the tournament.

The players listed above, form the core strength of the franchise and have the ability to win matches for the team. It will be great to see how each one of them performs under the mentorship of Shane Warne.