Whether you’re a soccer player looking to improve your skills, or you’re a soccer coach wanting to expand upon your expertise, one of the best soccer moves to have in your trick arsenal is something that goes by the name of The Elastico.
Now, though it might sound mysterious, the Elastico is actually a pretty simple skill to perform - so long as you know how to do it!
Posing the ability to take out a defender, it’s an ideal skill for an attacking soccer player that not only wants to become a more dangerous player out on the field, but also one that wants to hone in on their individual playing style.
If you haven’t tried it out already or you’re not too sure just yet what the Elastico is, then we’re sure you’ve already seen the likes of Neymar all the way to Rivellino (who is widely known for bringing this specialty move to prominence way back in the 1970s) putting this move through its paces out on the pitch.
Today, we’re going to be talking you through how to correctly carry out this move, as well as providing you with some additional context and insights along the way.
Not only that, but the instructions on how to perform the Elastico will be laid out in a simple step format, so you can start putting everything we discuss into practice today, whether at training or in your yard.
Once you’ve mastered this legendary trick, you’ll be able to cause a defender on the opposing team to get thrown off balance, force them to run in the wrong direction and give you extra seconds, and pitch space to charge down the field to the goal.
So, ready to learn how to master the Elastico soccer move and use it like a pro next time you’re out on the field? Just read on!
The Elastico Soccer Move: Backstory
Loved by wingers and forwards alike, the Elastico is a soccer move that was first invented by a Brazilian and Japanese soccer player known as Sergio Echigo (if you’re a soccer fanatic, we’re sure you’ll already be familiar with him) way back in the 1960s.
Interestingly enough though, this agile and fancy trick wasn’t actually made popular or mainstream until nearly a decade later in the 1970s, in which player Rivellino made it a signature move in the World Cup.
After Rivellino’s display, the move then got catapulted into prominence and has been a favorite and well-used soccer move ever since.
Most notably, names such as Ronaldinho and Romario became synonymous with the soccer trick during the 90s and early 00s, and as of recent times, the Elastico (otherwise known as the flip-flap) has become a characterizing move of Neymar’s.
The Elastico Soccer Move: What Is It?
In a nutshell, the Elastico (which also goes by the names of the flip-flap, la culebrita, akka, and the snakebite) is a type of attacking dribbling move that is used to essentially trick the defending player into moving in the wrong direction.
It basically consists of pushing the ball away by using the outside of your leading foot, in order to make it travel just outside the perimeters of your body.
This will naturally cause the defender to move in the direction of the ball and, after the defender has started to move their body to take the ball, you can then bring the ball back by moving your foot to the outside of the ball so you’re in control of it again, at which point you’ll be able to power down the pitch.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Not so fast! The Elastico can yield some pretty disastrous results if done wrong, which brings us to our next section!
Keep reading to discover how to correctly perform the Elastico soccer move.
The Elastico Soccer Move: Step-by-Step Instructions
Step One: Position the ball directly in front of you
Seeing as you’re just starting out, the very first thing that you’re going to need to do is to place your soccer ball directly in front of your body, just like the way that you would when beginning to perform any type of soccer trick.
As your skills increase while performing the Elastico, you’re going to find that you won’t need to be totally stationary prior to performing the trick (especially as stopping play in the middle of a pitch would be counterproductive) and the soccer move will feel second nature.
However, as you’re just beginning to learn the Elastico move, we recommend that you start off stationery, especially as you’re only going to be practicing while at training.
Step two: Move the ball with your dominant foot
Just like with other soccer tricks, you’re likely to find that you’ll be able to perform the Elastico soccer move with both your dominant and non-dominant foot.
However, for the purpose of getting your head around the Elastico move, we recommend just sticking to your dominant foot, as this is going to help you to get your head around how to properly do the trick.
So, with all that being said, go ahead and stand in front of the ball with a relaxed stance, roll your shoulders, and then gently begin to move the ball back and forth with your dominant foot.
This should be done by players of all levels, as this will help you to relax and get a feel for the ball.
Step three: Move the ball outwards with your dominant foot
Now that you are set up and have practiced moving the ball with your dominant foot, the next thing that you will need to go ahead and do is try pushing the ball outwards with your dominant foot.
While pushing the ball with your foot, keep in mind that you’ll need to push the ball with the outside part of your foot in the toe area, otherwise you might find yourself losing control of the ball if you go any lower.
While you are pushing the ball with your dominant foot, it’s very important to make sure that you are only gently pushing the ball rather than kicking it, as in order to carry out the move correctly, you’re going to need to stay in control of the ball.
If you lose control of the ball at any point, then the defender will potentially be able to steal it off you, so it’s absolutely imperative that you maintain close control of the ball.
Step four: Trick your opponent
So, now that you’ve got the hang of the basic footwork, the next thing you’re going to need to do is actually perform the trick.
To do this, you’re first going to need to familiarize yourself with transferring all of your weight into the direction that you push the ball, as this is going to be one of the most important ways of tricking your opponent into thinking that you’re going in that direction.
To do this convincingly, drop your shoulder in the direction that the ball has rolled, as this will help to make it appear as though you’re about to start running.
The opposing defender should then follow you in the same direction, allowing you to then successfully complete the Elastico, which brings us to our next step,
Step five: Complete the Elastico!
Instead of running in the direction of the ball (which your opponent is going to think you’re going to do) what you’re actually going to do is quickly place the inside of your foot around the outside of your ball, in order to bring it back in line with your body.
This move is a lot easier said than done, especially if you’re just starting out, so be prepared to focus some time on this particular step.
main reason for this is because you’re going to need to be able to complete this movement in one quick and smooth motion, which makes this the most important (and difficult) part of the Elastico.
Not only do you need to be able to convince your opponent that you’re planning on traveling in the opposite direction, but you’re also going to need to be able to keep your cool in order to stay in control of the ball and change your direction without giving your opponent enough time to catch on.
Therefore, to begin, it’s better to start off slow and then build your way up. Start by breaking this movement up into parts, as this will help you to get a feel for the way the ball moves during each point.
Practice dipping your shoulder until it feels natural to do so, and then slowly begin introducing the rest of the movement, starting with wrapping your foot along the outside of the ball and finishing by powering away in the opposite direction.
When it comes to successfully completing the Elastico, practice really does make perfect, so don’t get discouraged if you find yourself needing to spend some time working on this step! The more you practice, the easier you will find that it becomes.
The Elastico Soccer Move: Tips To Help You Improve
1. Have patience
The Elastico is by far one of the most effective methods of attacking and gaining dominance over an opponent, which in turn makes it one of the most difficult to get the hang of.
Have patience and keep at it until you get it. Practice makes perfect!
2. Know when to use it
This will come with experience, so don’t stress yourself out trying to understand when and when not you should use the Elastico trick.
Make sure that you are working on your decision-making skills alongside your soccer tricks, and you’ll find that you’re able to make smarter choices out on the pitch, including when to use the Elastico!
3. Focus on speed:
This one should really come as no surprise, but the Elastico is almost always performed best when done quickly, as this will help to really throw your opponent off.
Work on speeding up your footwork through plenty of training, as this will help to ensure you do not lose control of your ball.