How to Do the Rabona Move in Soccer (9-Step Guide)
When a player pulls off the rabona move successfully, it never fails to elicit gasps of astonishment and appreciation from onlookers before a round of applause breaks out.
“The Rabona” can be used to either pass, shoot, or cross the ball and is usually only attempted by very technically adept and confident players.
Get it wrong and you risk humiliating yourself in front of the crowd as you tumble to the ground, legs tangled as a promising move breaks down.
While it can be a very effective and useful move to be able to pull out, the rabona is more often done to put on a show and entertain the spectators.
However, you never know when it could come in handy...
So if you want to learn a new skill, why not add the rabona to your repertoire?
Here's how you can shock and stun the crowd with a perfectly executed rabona!
Mastering the Rabona in 9 Steps:
The rabona is one of the most complicated soccer moves to pull off, so it will take some time + effort to master.
To make sure you execute it perfectly time after time (well, more often than not!), here are nine steps for you to work through:
1. Decide Which Foot to Kick With
While most people select their strongest foot to do the rabona with, others will find it easier to use their weaker foot.
Try a few times with each to see what comes more naturally to you, and then work on mastering the skill with the foot you feel most comfortable with.
2. Position Your Standing Foot Next to the Ball
Where you position your standing foot goes a long way to determining how you execute the rabona so you really want to make sure you get it right.
This is because the power and precision of the strike largely comes down to the position you take up right at the beginning of the move.
Plant your standing foot around 20 – 30 centimeters away from the ball, facing the direction in which you want to kick. The ball should be on the outside of this standing foot.
If you place your foot too near or too far from the ball then you won't be able to generate enough power and will lose control over where it goes so it is very important that you get the distance right.
3. Lean Back
With your arms outstretched to either side, lean back slightly.
This helps you to keep your balance and will also help generate power and lift on your strike.
When you lean back, lean to the side which is away from the ball. This will give you a better angle at which to kick it and will be able to strike it with more power and accuracy.
4. Look at the Ball
With your target in mind and your feet and body positioned perfectly, look at the ball and focus on the part you want to kick.
As mentioned earlier, the rabona is a complicated move, so you're going to want to keep your eyes on it at all times.
Fail to do so and you can all too easily miss the ball and end up swiping at thin air.
5. Swing Your Kicking Leg Behind Your Standing Leg
While swinging your kicking leg behind your standing leg, you ideally want to raise it up as high as possible as this will generate more power.
To maintain your balance as you kick the ball, lean back slightly and to the side away from it.
In addition, bending your standing leg slightly is also a good idea as it helps to stabilise you.
While your kicking leg should at first be bent, you want to straighten it just before it comes into contact with the ball.
6. Curl Your Foot Towards the Ball
As you straighten your leg, curl your foot towards the ball.
To strike it as powerfully and accurately as possible, hit it with the upper outside part of your laces.
7. Connect with the Bottom of the Ball
To ensure you get as much lift as possible, strike the lower side of the ball as this will cause is to rise into the air.
If it doesn't gain much height it probably means you’re striking the ball too high.
8. Follow Through
To gain the maximum amount of accuracy and power on your rabona, follow through once you strike the ball.
This means you should swivel your shoulders to face the target and allow your kicking leg to follow the direction you swung it in.
As your standing leg will obviously be in the way, you may find it easier to let both of your legs leave the ground and kick up in the air a bit before you spring back into a standing position.
9. Follow Up
As your rabona could be blocked by a defender or cleared by the goalkeeper, stay on your toes for any follow up that comes you way.
Rather than admiring the flight of your perfectly executed rabona, be ready to win the ball back or put in another cross at a moment's notice.
Tips to Improve Your Deadly Rabona
While learning how to do the rabona is an achievement in itself, there are quite a few different things you can do to take it to the next level and really master the move.
Let's take a look at some tips and tricks that will help you to make the most of your new fancy footwork skills.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you hadn't already gathered by now, the rabona is very tough to pull off...
So you must practice it as much as you can if you want to dazzle the crowd with the move.
Once you feel comfortable that you can get it right more often than not, try to start using it in different scenarios out on the pitch.
2. Use it on the Move
While mastering the rabona from a stationary position is all well and good, you'll get much more use out of it if you can execute it perfectly while on the move.
This is much tougher to get right, but with practice it will become almost second nature.
To do the rabona on the move, follow all of the steps above with the only difference being that the ball is moving as you strike it.
This means your timing, technique, and balance need to be even more on point if you want to get it right.
3. Increase Your Speed
The faster you can dribble and pull off an unexpected rabona in one fluid motion, the more likely you are to surprise the opposition and create a dangerous opportunity.
Once you can execute the rabona on the move, slowly increase the speed at which you can do it.
This will turn what for many is a party trick into a useful skill that can be pulled off at any time.
4. Use Feints to Confuse Opponents
Using a feint on an opponent is a great way to win yourself some more space and time.
It’s well worth incorporating a well executed feint into your box of tricks as this will throw the opposition off and leave them second guessing your every move.
5. Work on Using the Rabona in Different Scenarios
Not only can you cross the ball with a rabona, you can also pass and shoot with it, too.
Once you feel confident dribbling at speed and pulling off a rabona without a thought, start practicing shooting and passing with it to help win you an advantage.
5. Improve Your Accuracy
Pulling off a rabona counts for little if your pass, shot, or cross isn't accurate and effective.
As such, spend just as much time improving your aim and accuracy as you do the technique, timing, and balance required to pull it off.
6. Work on Your Dribbling Skills
As you may have guessed, knowing how to dribble well is a massive advantage when it comes to executing a rabona.
Not only does it win you more space and time, it also confuses your opponents as they never know what you’re going to do next.
Consequently, work on your dribbling skills alongside perfecting the rabona.
7. Increase Your Pace, Strength, and Stamina
Your physical attributes and conditioning also go a long way to determining how good your rabonas are.
Besides the technique needed to pull it off, you also need enough strength in both your legs and core to generate enough power in the strike.
You also need to be fit and quick enough to get in the right positions to even contemplate attempting the move.
As such, you should also increase your pace, strength, and speed as much as possible and this will obviously help to improve your overall soccer performances as well.
8. Work on Your Decision Making Skills
Ironically enough, there will be countless times when you are better off NOT doing the rabona move.
Being able to make the right decision on whether or not to attempt one and whether there is a better option is just as crucial as actually having the required technique and talent to pull it off.
Decision making is key in all aspects of soccer, so you should work on reading the game and making the right choice more often than not.
9. Watch Videos of the Pros
A great way to both learn and perfect how to do the rabona move is to watch videos of professional players doing them in matches.
One of the greatest players to regularly do the rabona move is Portuguese International Ricardo Quaresma.
There are countless videos online of him perfectly executing the rabona in pressure filled environments while playing for teams such as Barcelona, Porto, Inter Milan, and Besiktas.
Have a look and see how he and others use the rabona in a wide array of different match scenarios.
A tricky move to perfect and pull off, the rabona can be just as deadly and dangerous as it is dazzling and daring.
Watching a player in full flow suddenly feint, throw their opponent off balance, and then execute a perfectly performed rabona is a thing of beauty... it’s no wonder that crowds always respond positively to it!
While it takes some time to master, it is well worth learning this skill as it can be used in a wide range of scenarios out on the pitch.
Whether it is a disguised shot or pass or just simply a show-stopping cross, the rabona move is great to use, provided of course that you can pull if off successfully!