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Pat Nevin on Juggling

 Gary Ireland interview on the importance of Juggling with Pat Nevin. The Former Chelsea F.C legend and Everton & Celtic player is now a Radio and TV commentator. Pat was one of the best players in the English 1st Division (now EPL) in the mid to late 80's. 


When Simon and Gary Ireland were art Chelsea FC as youth players, Pat Nevin was the superstar. He was one of the best players I've ever seen and had the privilege of playing with and against. An absolute wizard with the ball and a joy to watch. A real entertainer! The following is a recent article in The Guardian about Pat's thoughts on 'Why can't England produce a Messi or a Zidane?". 



September 8, 2011. 


Gary Ireland: I don’t think that players juggle enough in general. Juggling helped my balance,

coordination, touch, timing and more importantly, timing. I played my best soccer when my juggling was

at my best.  Do you encourage the players you coach to juggle?


Pat Nevin: Always encourage players to juggle. In the very simplest terms it gives you total control over the ball. It is probably even more important for players not generally considered skillful. every big tough center back should practice juggling to help himself improve.


Gary Ireland: I have spent many years playing foot tennis/soccer tennis, which helped me tremendously

in my development. I also know it helped all of our coaching staff. It’s one of the best ways to improve touch and timing. What do you think? 


Pat Nevin: Foot tennis is another very useful and fun training exercise which aids ball skills, awareness, touch and confidence. Along with drills (many of which are used in the Coerver coaching system, they undoubtedly help everyone from the interested amateur to the international professional.


Gary Ireland: How often should players be juggling?.


Pat Nevin: As often as you can. Many players try doing it as an end to a training session, but I would suggest that before a training session or a game is even more beneficial, because your touch will be perfect when competitors are nearby right from the start. I juggled before every one of my 750 professional games throughout my career!


Gary Ireland: Who is the best juggler you played with in your opinion?


Pat Nevin:There were only  few in but Roy Wegerle jumps to mind. The question though isn't who can do the best tricks, it is who can utilize those skills best in a match situation.


Gary Ireland: Many people, including coaches, often comment that juggling isn’t relevant to the game or

that it’s for 'show offs'. I have 40+ ways of getting the ball off the ground and numerous tricks and flicks,

which, when rehearsed regularly without doubt help me perform better because it helps my balance, touch,

and co-ordination. I’ve heard comments such as 'you should be in a circus' when showing these tricks. I

happen to work on ‘method juggling’ and juggling in motion for a greater and more realistic challenge

rather than ‘hackeysack’ tricks. How do you explain to these people that the Maradona’s, Zidanes, Ronaldinho's and Henry's have terrific juggling skills and that the best players in the world tend to have fantastic tricks. It doesnt hurt their game! 


Pat Nevin: Ignorance is common in many sports. My reasoning usually involves describing the great Pele's argument. He played 'Keepy up/juggling' so that he had an arc around him that he knew he would trap the ball and have it totally under control in won touch when it came to him. If that meant knowing particular tricks then all well and good, that can only be a positive.


Gary Ireland: A famous phrase often said to anyone juggling is "why do you bother doing that when you

cannot do it on the pitch". Many coaches or lower level players who were never able to juggle or people

who have never or rarely played the game seem to say this. How would you answer that one.


Pat Nevin: Answered above, re Pele! If it is good enough for him it should be good enough for anyone. By the way it is alos fun and increases confidence which is a very important attribute to have.


Gary Ireland: In all the places you have coached football have you ever been anywhere were juggling is

given the same importance as in South America.


Pat Nevin:South America is special.


Gary Ireland: What are the benefits of juggling?


Pat Nevin:As above


Gary Ireland: Thanks for your time and thanks for you sharing your knowledge with me. 


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