At times, the art of football can be complicated by intricate feints and showcase movements. Sometimes, it’s worth taking a step back and adopting a simpler method: improving your touch and mastery of the ball can be just as effective and helpful when getting past the opposition. All football “tricks” or “feints” have a purpose: to confuse and disorient the opponent, and the most fundamental way to do so is by simply moving one way and going the other. Adding spins and extra steps can be fun, but remember, even tiny movements are enough to leave your opponent puzzled on the pitch. In this blog, we’ll break down the classic flip flap to boost your repertoire of skills and add an easy touch of flair to your game.
HISTORY OF THE FLIP FLAP
If you’re looking for a “simple” but effective high-level trick, high-speed move, then look no further than the “Elastico”. The move was first debuted in the professional football scene by Japanese-Brazilian player Sergio Echigo in the 1960s, and was later popularized by Rivellino, (Echigo’s team-mate). We now see the move performed Internationally, at major competitions but also across all levels of football!
The move’s other names include the “Flip Flap” and “la culebrita” or “little snake”. As the name suggests, the skill is quick and explosive, with your foot moving the ball one way and quickly snaping it back to the other, just like an elastic band. World class players like Ronaldo, Neymar, Messi, and more famously Ronaldinho have used the move to great effect in their games.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Put simply, the Flip Flap is made up of two quick touches that fuse into one, starting with the outside foot and finishing with the inside. Throughout the movement your foot never loses contact with the ball as it guides it from one direction to the other. When you break the move down, it becomes a lot more simple then when you see the trick performed by top players in football.
Position 1: Start with your outside foot on the inside of the ball, only making contact with the front part of your foot.
Position 2: With a controlled and gentle touch, use the front of the foot to quickly wrap around the ball spinning it and moving the foot to the outside of the ball.
Pro tip: This should happen very quickly and smoothly, without losing control of the ball. But, it may be best to start slow and build speed as you repeat the move over and over.
Position 3: With the inside foot push the ball in the opposite direction, speed-off and leave your opponent in the dust!
Top Tips for the Trick:
1. If it’s challenging to wrap your foot around the ball in time, you may be kicking the ball too far out with the outside foot. Remember: You are simply guiding the ball, not kicking it.
2. If it’s difficult to control the ball, use the front part of the foot, not the instep. It will be easier to feel the ball and control the amount of force used.
What makes this seemingly simple move so challenging to defend and so difficult to perfect, is the speed. Speed is the key to the Flip Flap's success, but to really sell it, just like any feint, remember to drop your shoulder and to change pace when leaving with the ball.
Check out this perfect example from Tobin Heath (USA National team) using the Flip flap to lose the defender. Timing, confidence, acceleration of pace, perfection of the body feint and speed of the move helped Tobin execute the skill perfectly in the video above.
Become the Elastico master
The Elastico takes everything that makes a football feint effective and multiplies it. It’s an ideal skill for an attacker looking to level up their playing style and add to their repertoire of football tricks. It’s a simple but challenging move perfect for a fast-paced game situation. With enough practice you too can be weaving through defenders like Ronaldo and Messi do every day!
The Elastico is one of the core skills which We Make Footballers coach within our football syllabus at our weekly training. We help players aged 4 – 12, of all abilities, master skills and improve their football fundamentals by creating a fun, safe and friendly environment. Now that you’ve mastered the Elastico, take a look at our other skill tutorials to continue becoming the best footballer that you can be!