How to Do the Elastico Move in Soccer (6-Step Guide)
A fabulous feint that can both trick and confuse your opponent, the elastico move is a great skill to have in your locker.
Used by such legendary players as Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, the elastico can help you to throw a defender off balance, send them in the wrong direction, and give you enough time to power past them.
Primarily used by offensive players in the final third, the mesmerising move demands fantastic close control, quick footwork, and lots of patience and practice to get right.
So you can dazzle and amaze out on the pitch, here are six simple steps that’ll teach you how to master the elastico move.
6 Simple Steps to Master the Elastico Move
Invented in the 1960s by Sergio Echigo, a Japanese-Brazilian soccer player, the elastico has since been used by a whole host of tricky wingers and fleet-footed forwards.
Perfected and performed by the playmaker Rivellino at the 1970s World Cup, the trick was later popularised during the 90s and 00s by players such as Romario and Ronaldinho.
It was the latter in particular that captivated the world's imagination with his carefree style of play, bag of tricks, and scintillating performances for Barcelona in La Liga with the elastico being one of his most noteworthy moves.
The idea is to convince your opponent that you’re going one way before quickly going the other.
Due to the nature of the move, the elastico is also often referred to as the 'flip flap'.
Sounds simple enough right?
Well, with time and effort anyone can perfect it but it does take a lot of practice to get right.
Here's how you can learn how to do it:
Step 1: Line the Ball Up in Front of You
While most elite players throw in a couple of step overs or tricks before using the elastico to throw their opponent off balance, when you're first starting off you're going to want the ball to be stationary.
This means you should line it up in front of you and practise and perfect the move before trying it on the run and using it alongside other tricks and feints.
Step 2: Practice with Your Dominant Foot
While it’s well worth practising every soccer move with both your left and right foot, in the beginning, it’s best to use your dominant foot.
This will help you to master the move quicker and retain tighter control over the ball.
Once you know exactly how to do it, then work on learning the skill with your weaker foot.
Step 3: Push the Ball with the Outside of Your Foot
Now that you’re set up and ready to go, push the ball away from you with the outside of your stronger foot.
This should be with the outside part of your foot that’s near your toes – any lower and you'll lose the close control that you want to have over the ball.
It’s very important to push the ball and not kick it and your foot should remain in contact with the ball the whole time.
This is absolutely crucial to keep control of the ball and throw your opponent off guard.
Step 4: Sell the Feint with Your Body
To really sell the move, transfer all of your weight in the direction that you’ve just pushed the ball.
This means you should drop your shoulder and make it look as if you’re explosively going to accelerate off in that direction.
The defender will read your body movement and instinctively try and follow you or put in a tackle.
In reality, however, you’re going to...
Step 5: Wrap the Inside of Your Foot Around the Ball
As you put your foot down (not having lost contact with the ball), suddenly wrap the inside of your foot around the ball and bring it back towards you.
This should be done in one swift motion and it’s by far the toughest part of the elastico move.
The challenge is to successfully convince your opponent that you’re going one way and have good enough technique, timing, and ball control to completely change direction in that one sudden instant.
As this is quite tough to pull off, in the beginning, it’s best to try it at a slow pace before slowly increasing your speed. With time the movement will become a lot more natural.
Step 6: Push the Ball Past the Off-Balance Defender
When you bring the ball back towards you with the inside of your foot, you want your touch to take it past the off-balance and backpedalling defender.
Whereas your initial push should keep the ball as close to your foot as possible, this second part of the move should see the ball pushed around a metre to the other side, providing that you have enough space.
This then allows you to sprint on to it and hare past the despairing defender, in on goal.
Now that we've seen how to do the elastico move, what are some tips and tricks that can help you master it and take it to the next level?
Tips to Take the Elastico to the Next Level
While at first sight it doesn't look like there’s all that much to the elastico, it’s actually a deceptively hard move to master.
To change direction in one swift motion, you really need to have great close ball control skills, fabulous technique, and the ability to convincingly sell the feint to your opponent.
In addition to this, you also need to have great decision-making skills and timing to know exactly when to use it and when to keep it simple.
Here are some tips on how you can really make the most of it:
1. Practice Your Dribbling
While it’s all well and good knowing how to do the elastico, the move is much more effective if you have a number of other tricks and feints in your repertoire.
By practising other dribble moves alongside the elastico, you'll keep your opponents guessing and uncertain which way you'll go whenever you dribble up to them.
2. Increase the Speed of Your Footwork
As aforementioned, the elastico relies on you having quick footwork, brilliant close ball control, and excellent technique.
To really sell the move, you need to do it as quickly as possible.
This means practising for long hours out on the training ground until you can carry out the swift motion in the blink of an eye.
3. Work on Your Acceleration
While it’s always useful to have a bag of tricks at your disposal, their effectiveness is greatly enhanced if you have the physical prowess to back them up.
With the elastico for example, there’s no point in deftly taking it past your opponent if you can't accelerate away from them and put in a cross or get a shot off at goal.
4. Choose When to Use It Wisely
Some incredible dribblers, unfortunately, don't make the most of their fleet footwork as they choose the wrong time or place to do the elastico.
Knowing when not to do the move is actually just as important as knowing when it’ll work well.
Consequently, players should work on their decision-making skills to make sure they know when to use it and when to play the simple pass.
5. Be Patient
Learning the elastico takes a lot of practice and patience so don't worry if you don't get it right away.
You can always break the move down into smaller chunks if necessary if that helps familiarise you with the footwork.
Instead of completing it in one swift movement, for example, you can always push it away from you in one touch before bringing it back towards you with another.
In addition to this, you can always add in the explosiveness and convincing body feint once you feel more comfortable with the footwork.
Although it’s quite tough to pull off, the elastico is a wonderful move to learn and can certainly help you to get past your defender.
Watching someone pull it off in full flow is an amazing thing, and it’s no wonder that Ronaldinho was so revered for his mastery of the elastico.
While it takes fleet footwork, close ball control skills, and impeccable timing and technique, with patience and practise anyone can master the elastico and dazzle and daze their opponents.