Kicking a soccer ball is deceptively simple. Executing pinpoint passes and hard shots during a game is different than passing the ball with friends. In order to score goals during a game, top players have a variety of shots in their arsenal. You can learn these skills by practicing with friends or working on your own. Get these shots down and you’ll be better prepared to rack up the goals on the field.
Side Foot Kicks
Kicking the ball with the side of your foot provides the most accuracy while allowing you to control the pace and height of the ball. This is the most common way to pass the ball, but this technique can also be used to shoot at the goal when accuracy is more important than power. This kick involves turning your kicking foot at a 90-degree angle to your target and kicking the ball with the inside of your foot. Instead of winding up with your leg, power comes from snapping your thigh and knee forward when kicking the ball in a motion similar to running.
Instep Drive Kicks
Kicking the ball with the instep of your foot gives you the power you need for long shots, passes and free kicks. Instead of keeping your foot open during the kick and follow-through as with a side foot kick, strike the ball with the instep of your foot. This is where the laces are on the inside of your soccer cleats. Keep your kicking foot pointed toward the ground with your ankle locked throughout the kick to help the ball stay on a low drive instead of ballooning over the goal. Use a longer backswing with your leg than on a side foot kick. Power comes from snapping your bent leg straight while coming through the ball while also closing your hips and shoulders as you follow through the shot.
If the ball comes to you on the fly, you might not always be able to control it and dribble before you kick. A full volley shot lets you kick a ball that is bouncing at you or dropping from above. Kick a volley by bending your plant leg and drawing your kicking leg back slightly. With the knee of your kicking leg over the ball and your hips square to the target, snap your kicking leg straight and keep your momentum moving forward. This technique also works to strike a half-volley shot when a bouncing ball contacts the ground. Keeping your head on the ball and knee over the ball is critical to keep the shot from sailing high.
If you’ve made a big save as a goalkeeper, your next job is to get the ball downfield to your teammate to start the offense. When you have the ball in your hand, you can punt the ball by dropping it and kicking it directly. A drop kick that touches the ground before you kick it has a lower trajectory and can get to a teammate quicker than a regular punt. A punt that is kicked with a chopping strike down on the ball is a side volley and can quickly and accurately pick out a teammate inside your own half to start a counterattack. In a dead ball situation such as a foul or an offside, use a goal kick to drive a ball that is on the ground downfield.
- Soccer Technique for Winning; Derek Smethurst
- Soccer: Steps to Success; Joe Luxbacher
- The Soccer Coaching Bible; National Soccer Coaches Association of America
- Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images