Your Essential Guide to Freestyle Football
Freestyle football is a relatively new sport, but it has its origins in the ancient Southeast Asian games of chinlone, sepak takraw, and jianzi. In the 1800s, circus performers used many of the same ball tricks we see freestyle footballers showcasing today.
Many people credit Diego Maradona’s famous warmups in the 1980s as the birth of freestyle football. Fans loved the Argentinian, who was the first football player to publicly showcase these tricks. However, critics slammed his antics, declaring they had little to do with football. Yet, they lit a spark in freestyle football pioneers like South Korea’s Mr. Woo and Kang Sung Min. Mr. Woo, a former footballer, became the first freestyle footballer performing in Las Vegas. His performances around the world in the 1990s helped freestyle football gain acceptance and popularity in the 21st century.
Simply playing around with a football is one of the best ways to get involved with freestyle football. Juggling is the foundation of many freestyle football tricks, so you should practice that first. Try to keep the ball in motion below your hip. Dedicating an hour or so every day until you can do 100 keep-ups consistently will help you develop your leg speed and ball control skills.
Once you’re a confident juggler, you can progress to some of the more complex freestyle football moves. Stalling the ball, where you balance the ball on your foot, is probably the easiest freestyle football trick. Around the World, where you flick the ball up and circle your foot around it before starting juggling, is another simple trick.
Lower body tricks: Standing tricks using the feet or legs.
Upper body tricks: Standing tricks using the shoulders, chest, or head.
Sitting tricks: Tricks performed in a seated position.
Ground move tricks: Standing tricks where the ball moves along the ground.
Blocking tricks: Tricks performed by holding the ball with parts of the lower body.
Acrobatic tricks: Tricks inspired by gymnasts and circus performers.
Transitions: Intermediate moves that connect different tricks.
Once you’re confident in your skills, search for local competitions or freestyle football groups. Participating in competitions and groups will help you hone your freestyle football skills.
Freestyle football is a global sport staging competitions all over the world. These events see participants compete in a range of challenges, including battles, doubles (team battles), routines, doubles routines, and more. Get to know some of the world’s leading competitions.
Super Ball World Open Championship
In 2013, the annual European Freestyle Football Championship began in Budapest. The event travels to a different European host city each year. Its main competition sees male and female competitors go head-to-head in freestyle football battles. Each participant has three 30-second rounds to impress the judging panel with their tricks, ball control, and originality.