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Restless Foot SocSum

SocSum Basic Click here to view the instructional SocSum video on Google.

Monday I invented a new soccer juggling exercise called Restless Foot SocSum. It is in fact a family of exercises with some similar traits: they all involve incremental counting, juggling with one foot, and rigorous challenge. Monday night I set my first personal SocSum record by matching my left leg's sum of 45 with my right leg. Please let me know of your success with the exercise.

SocSum Basic

Objectives: to get as many hits with one foot as possible without touching the ground, and to then match the number with the opposite leg. If the specific rules are followed a weakness, lack of dexterity or balance in one leg will soon be improved until both legs are equally skilled and responsive.

To Play: Start by choosing a first leg: left or right. Begin kicking the ball in the air with the starting leg and keeping track of the number of hits. The total number of hits achieved before the ball or your foot touches the ground is called a sum. Remember this number or write it down before continuing.

Switch feet and attempt to match or exceed the same sum with the second foot. When the first leg's sum is attained, it is called a matched sum. Sums that are not matched cannot be recorded as a completed SocSum.

Only when the first leg's sum is matched by the second leg can you switch back to the first leg (unless you decide to start from scratch with a new sum session - all previous numbers are void at this point). If the second leg's sum exceeded the first leg's, you must now beat this second sum in order to match it and count it. So the legs alternate each time the previous leg's sum is matched. Continue in this fashion as long as desired.

This activity will greatly increase one's ability to juggle a soccer ball, one's balance, leg strength, focus, confidence and health. It forces people with favored leg to step out and improve the weaker leg because nothing is achieved or recorded until the previous leg's sum is matched. More time will be spent on the weaker leg until it is improved to equality. When both legs are equally skilled, the game will never end - until exhaustion. This is great practice for intermediate to advanced jugglers as well because it requires a more intense focus and balance than freestyle juggling. In addition, each player will reach his limit. Even if someone achieves perfect technique, eventually the active leg will tire from being suspended in the air and in constant motion. It is a satisfying and healthy strain on the leg muscles and great exercise if not overdone.

Dos and Don'ts:

  • Any hit made by the active foot or knee counts. Hits must be reasonably discernable. A roll down the leg does not count as six vague hits!
  • In SocSum Basic the starting kick to get the ball off the ground counts as the first hit. If the sum is begun by dropping the ball from the hands, the first hit occurs when the ball contacts the active foot.
  • The ball must never touch the ground, another deflecting object or body part besides the various surfaces of the kicking leg. The sum is over if the ball touches anything significant besides the active leg.
  • Hitting the ball with the leg that is not active (the one planted on the ground) is not allowed.
  • The active kicking foot must not touch, graze or skim the ground. If this happens, the sum ends with the last valid kick before the ground contact.


  • It might be more realistic to start with your weaker leg. If you get a hundred with your right and try to match it with your left, you may as well give up right there - unless you are really good (or left-handed)!
  • Start with small sums like three or five. You will be more likely to achieve this number with your second leg. A matched sum of three hits with both legs actually counts as a record, while 100 hits with the right count for nothing if not matched by the left.
  • Depending on one's level of control and balance, it might be necessary to twist the planted foot or even hop to follow the movement of the ball. This is perfectly acceptable as long as the active foot doesn't touch the ground. I noticed that initially I had to hop quite a bit with my left foot because my control and balance were lacking. This hopping helped me to quickly develop quick reaction times and to sense where I would need to be next in order to receive and hit the ball.
  • If one leg is better than the other, take note to how you are succeeding with the strong foot and try to emulate the motions and hits with the weaker foot. Similarly, if your balance is much better on one foot, observe of the angle of the successfully planted foot and the relation of your body to your foot so you can do the same on your weaker side.

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