No one can learn to move the ball like Ronaldinho, two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, in just a couple of weeks. Faking out opponents with cheeky foot skills takes practice -- and talent. Still, if you focus on a few useful ball-handling skills, you can learn to keep up with the pace of play and contribute to your team’s efforts -- even if the big game is in less than two weeks. You might even score a goal or two.
Practice receiving the ball. Kick the ball against a wall or have someone pass it to you on the ground and in the air. Softly stop the ball with the inside of your foot.
Pass the ball to a wall or another person with the inside of your foot. If you’re right-footed, stand slightly to the left of a dead ball. Plant your left foot on the left side of the ball and swing your right leg through, making firm contact with the inside of your right foot. Try to keep the ball on the ground. Practice equally or more with your nondominant foot.
Practice one-touch passing with a wall or another person. When the ball comes to you, strike it softly but firmly with the inside of your foot without stopping it first. Your foot should slightly cushion the ball as it makes contact; don’t swing your leg too much or strike it too hard.
Juggle the ball with your knees and the tops and insides of your feet. While mastering juggling can take years, juggling is still an effective skill to practice because it forces you to become comfortable and relaxed with the ball. Really skilled soccer players handle the ball calmly, rather than flailing wildly to control the ball.
Shoot at a target, such as a soccer net or spot on a wall. If you’re right-footed, stand slightly left of a dead ball. Take one or two running steps, plant your left foot to the left of the ball and strike the center of the back of the ball with the tongue of your right shoe. Practice shooting with your nondominant foot as well.
Dribble the ball around obstacles. Place pylons or other makeshift obstacles such as balls, bags or chairs 3 or 4 feet apart in a line. Jog slowly around the obstacles while gently tapping the ball with the inside and outside of your feet. Keep the ball close to your feet and circle the obstacles closely. Stagger the obstacles or place them closer together for more difficulty.
Jog around a soccer field or area of grass dribbling the ball. Every so often, move with the ball in a different way. For example, drag the ball in front of you with the bottom of one foot while you hop backward on the other. Swing your feet around the ball, the left first and then the right, as if you were deking around someone, or faking him out. Run hard with the ball and then change direction quickly. Drag the ball back under you with the bottom of one foot and then turn 90 degrees and run the other way.