How to Dive in Soccer


The Fine Art of Soccer Diving (photo © Alasdair Middleton, flickr)

Diving is one of the greatest skills a soccer player can develop. The modern game favors divers, particularly small, skillful, pretty ones. Here, we cover the fundamentals of simulation (air contact). By mastering the basics, you will be able to:

  • Stop play at will
  • Win free kicks
  • Get your opponents carded (red cards, ideally)

If you want to be a winner, learning how to dive in soccer (football) will give you the ammunition you need.

How to Dive in Soccer: 7 Steps to Successful Simulation

Referee Position: Take note of the referee’s position. His distance from your dive zone will determine your theatrical capabilities. If he is close by, you will need to dive within a few inches of an opposing player. If he is far away, you can attempt a dive while relatively free – anything up to 2 feet from your nearest opponent.

Dive Selection: The initial air foul is crucial. Stationary dives are notoriously difficult, with only true artists, such as Didier Drogba, able to complete them successfully. The Cristiano Ronaldo velocity dive is your best option.

The Initial Dive: While running at speed alongside an opponent, bring your trailing foot alongside your leading foot. Clip your own heel – this should give your dive a degree of authenticity not often found in simple collapse dives. If done correctly, you may have enough momentum to spin through the air in dramatic fashion (see Michael Owen).

The Roll: Once grounded, be sure to roll at least twice along the ground. Ideally, roll twice in one direction before pausing to grimace in pain, and then add a final roll in the direction from which you came.

The Switch: FIFA’s half-hearted attempts to eradicate diving from soccer have been entirely ineffectual. However, you must remember to switch your imaginary center of agony from your initial air contact zone (typically the foot or ankle) to your head. Head contact is needed to stop the game and increase the chances of getting your opponent carded. After the roll, grab your head with both hands as if your skull has been cracked wide open. Continue until the referee has absolutely no option but to stop the beautiful game in its tracks.

The Gesture of Injustice: The Gesture of Injustice (Gesto de Injustiça) was invented in Brazil and later perfected by the Portuguese. Luis Figo is still regarded as a true master of the art, while Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo kept up the dramatic tradition. The Gesture of Injustice should always follow the switch, no matter what the outcome of your dive. Even if the ref awards you a free kick, you should still gesture widely while sitting on the ground like a small child, shrugging and pointing at everything around you. Try to make your bottom lip quiver slightly, and be sure to finish off the routine by looking directly down at the ground or up towards God while slowly shaking your head as if the entire world is against you.

The Hop On Hop Off: Whatever happens, don’t get up too quickly. Only real men fall over and get up without a fuss, so stay down – you can always fiddle with your socks or take off a shoe and put it back on again (this also stresses the ferocity of the original air contact). Wait until the stretcher arrives. Hop on, get to the sideline and then hop off. After your breather, you should be ready to get back in the game. Start looking for your next diving opportunity immediately.

Soccer Diving Success

And there you have it. You are now equipped with the basic methodology for diving in soccer. Practice regularly and you’ll soon be rolling around the field like a little girl, ruining the game as a spectacle and getting your follow professionals sent off for doing absolutely nothing. Good luck, and play to win – no matter what!


An excellent example of how to dive in soccer. Strong facial features, catastrophic arm gestures and a nice entry into the roll (photo © Alasdair Middleton, flickr)

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