Kicking a soccer ball perfectly is a rather complex skill. When you are faced with a ball that is hurtling towards you at a relatively fast pace, responding with the correct technique can seem like a challenge, especially for those who lack any previous experience of playing soccer.
Some individuals may learn to kick a ball through trial and error, however, this can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Kicking a soccer ball is a fundamental skill that is necessary for a successful soccer match.
Emphasizing a focus on mastering the perfect kick will help you to develop the correct technique.
Remember, that it may not be something that you pick up right away, but a skill that you need to practice repeatedly until it becomes second nature to you. Hard work and dedication will result in fast and noticeable improvements.
Below, we have compiled an ultimate guide consisting of 10 steps that will help you to acquire the perfect kick.
Prepare yourself for success
First, you must make sure you are ready to receive the ball from your teammates. Doing so will ensure that you are prepared to receive the ball and respond accordingly.
Having an awareness of your surroundings will help you to decide on the next move that you need to make with the ball once it is in your possession.
Also, identifying how long the ball will be with other players and whether they are going to attempt to shoot a goal are all important parts of preparation.
A lack of preparation is going to affect the success of your kick.
Take a good first touch
You are likely to struggle to kick a ball if it is stuck right in the middle of your feet. You should also avoid kicking it too close because this can affect how much power you can apply to the motion of kicking the ball.
The quality of your first touch will determine how successful you are when it comes to kicking the ball.
Make sure that you remain in control of the ball when you receive it. Ideally, it should be positioned a couple of feet away from you.
You can then utilize the distance between you and the ball to kick it in one movement. If you have to take a few steps before you kick the ball, this is a sign that your touch is too far ahead of you.
Essentially, you won’t be able to kick the ball with as much power if it is too close to you and this will affect the accuracy of your shot.
Likewise, if the ball is too far away, you will either need to make multiple movements to reach it or you will need to stretch out more.
How you touch the ball will be determined by the type of kick and the situation. You can perform a touch with the laces of your shoe or the inside of your foot or outside of your sole.
To execute a good touch, you must make sure that you have set yourself up accurately.
Fix your eyes on the ball
You should have an awareness of your target, along with an idea of where your teammates and opponents are situated on the pitch so you now need to divert your attention to the ball which should be positioned in front of you.
For this next step, you need to maintain a focus on the ball once you have scanned the pitch and made sure that you are fully aware of where you need the ball to go.
Keeping your eyes fixed on the ball will allow you to make sure that you kick it right and shoot it toward your target.
It is likely that many players will have developed a habit of glancing up from the ball whilst they are kicking, although this can be a difficult habit to break, training yourself to keep your eyes on the ball will allow you to kick with a lot more power.
The type of kick will determine where you look on the ball, however, in the majority of instances, it is likely that you will look at the middle of the ball.
Position your place foot
In soccer, your place foot refers to the one that you do not use to kick the ball. How you position this foot can greatly impact the quality of your kick.
Positioning it firmly and correctly next to the ball will enhance the accuracy and momentum of your shot.
You will need to point your foot in the direction that you want the ball to travel in.
Also, whilst you want to position your foot at the side of the ball, you will want to avoid positioning it too close. This is because you will struggle to make an accurate pass.
In most instances, the ball will likely be facing horizontally, so you will put your foot vertically at a comfortable distance. Those looking to establish a lofted shot are advised to position their place foot at a slightly wider distance from the ball.
Bring your kicking leg back
The power that you need to kick the ball will decide how far you need to bring your leg back. A V shape should be created by your shooting leg as this will increase the power that is generated.
As you prepare to take your shot you should bend your knee too. If you are only going to be making a short pass, you will not need to bring your kicking leg back very much.
Instead, you should pull it back slightly until you feel as though you have generated enough power to kick it toward your target.
If you are unsure whether you are bringing your kicking leg back far enough, it may be worth recording yourself as you practice. This will allow you to see how you are currently performing and how you can improve.
Allow your body to relax
You will likely find that your body adopts a comfortable posture as you prepare to pass or shoot the ball to your teammates or strike it. Swinging your arms will improve your power and balance, ultimately helping you to kick better.
It is likely that your arm on the same side as your non-kicking foot will automatically rise, whilst the other relaxes backward.
If your body is relaxed, you will move more naturally and as a result, you will have greater control over your movement as your limbs are working together rather than against one another.
Make sure that your body is positioned right
The ball typically tends to travel in the direction in which your body is positioned and because of this, the angle of your body can have quite an impact on the accuracy of your kick.
For example, there may be occasions when a player misses the goal because their bodies were not angled in the right direction. You will struggle to meet your target if you are facing the opposite way.
The reason for this is that flight becomes difficult to control if the different parts of your body are working against one another instead of together.
Position your body in the direction that you want the ball to travel in.
To gain a better understanding of how body positioning can affect the accuracy of your shot, you may wish to practice changing your angle to see how this affects your ability to meet your target.
Often, you will hear coaches telling their players to lean when kicking the ball. However, any type of leaning should be avoided because this can affect your balance.
Some may find it more comfortable to lean slightly forward or backward and whilst this is acceptable you shouldn’t place too much focus upon leaning in a particular direction.
Use the correct part of your foot to kick the ball
Now that you have read all of our tips to get to this point, you should be feeling ready to execute the perfect kick. The part of your foot that you use to kick the ball will depend on the nature of the situation.
If you are about to take a shot at goals you will need to have plenty of power behind your kick. In this instance, you should strike with the laces of your shoe.
Your foot is made up of a large bone that will launch the ball rather forcefully. If you are going to be passing the ball, you will need to use the inside of your foot as it will be a little gentler but still accurate.
For a powerful shot, you will need to kick the center of the ball. Now if you want the ball to curve as it hurtles towards the net, you will need to kick the side of the ball. The direction that you want the ball to travel in will determine what side you need to kick.
Practice kicking the correct section of the ball and you will witness noticeable improvements in your accuracy and performance.
Follow the kick through
Once you have kicked the ball, you should focus on following it through as this can increase the power. After making contact and kicking the ball, it is likely that the momentum of your body will follow naturally.
Essentially, to follow through, you need to continue with the kick after you’ve struck the ball. Ideally, you should allow this to happen as naturally as possible because any sudden changes to your movements can affect your kick.
If the situation requires you to kick the ball high, your leg should remain high once you have kicked it. If you do not want the ball to travel far in the air, you will need to ensure that you don’t raise your striking foot too far.
Following through doesn’t only concern your legs as you will typically find that the rest of your body will naturally move with your feet as you take your shot.
Ensure that you always land and finish your movements on your kicking foot before you proceed with the rest of the game.
Keep playing once you have kicked the ball
After executing the perfect kick, many players tend to pause in awe of their skill. However, you must remember that the game is still in full swing and a lack of attention on your behalf can affect the rest of your team.
Now that you have passed the ball, you need to make use of the space around you and move in the direction of the team player with the ball.
Also remember that you may receive the ball again very soon, so you must always be prepared to take the next pass. Although you may have just taken your shot you still need to be involved in the next stages of the game.
If you do not support the other players in your team that are currently occupying the ball, your opponents are going to be in a stronger position to take it away from them.
If you are constantly on the move and alert of your surroundings and ready to receive the ball your team is likely to encounter greater success in the game.
Advanced techniques for kicking a soccer ball
Once you have developed confidence in your kick, you may be wondering how you can strike the ball in a more advanced manner. We have identified several advanced ways of kicking a soccer ball below.
Hitting a long ball
If your teammate isn’t near you, you will require the ball to travel a distance so that it reaches them. To make this possible, you will need to place your foot on the lowest part of the ball.
As you strike it, the ball will hurtle through the air out of reach of your opponents into the possession of your teammate.
Curving the ball
There may be some instances where you want to curve the ball rather than kick it straight ahead.
You will also want the ball to curve when attempting to score a goal because there is a greater risk of it traveling around the goalkeeper rather than directly towards them.
Instead of using your laces when taking this shot, you will need to use the interior of your foot to kick the ball. Upon making contact ensure that you apply the necessary amount of force.
It is worth noting that this is a pretty advanced kick so it is likely that you will need to practice it a couple of times before it is perfected.
Using the outside of your foot
This kick isn’t as popular as other techniques, however, when performed well it can be very effective. As implied, the player uses the outside of their foot to strike the ball.
Rather than landing on the foot that they kicked with, the momentum will typically propel the player forward slightly and as a result, they will land the kick on their standing foot instead.
Performing a chip shot
A chip shot is performed by players who want to propel the ball upwards before it lands in the back of the net. Players will need to kick the underside section of the ball without following it through as much.
This movement will force the ball into the air for a short distance. Soon after, it will then land back on the ground where you wanted it to.
Executing a toe punt
Perhaps one of the most uncommonly used tactics in 11 Aside soccer is the toe punt. In futsal ( a football game that is played on a hard floor court), it is often performed by players who want to make a powerful shot accompanied by an unpredictable swerve.
Instead of using the inside or outside of your shoe, players will need to apply force using the tip of their football boots.
There are instances where this type of shot will come in useful. For example, you may be getting closely followed by an opponent.
Of course, in this situation, they aren’t going to allow you time to prepare to take a regular shot.
As such, this kick typically doesn’t achieve the most accurate results, however, it tends to be used by players who are looking for speed.
The importance of warming up before kicking the ball
Often you will find many players, even those at an advanced level attempting to take a shot without warming up beforehand. However, this isn’t recommended because doing so can injure your quads, knees, back, and hip flexor.
Warming up beforehand is particularly important for those who are above the age of 13 because they aren’t likely to share the same flexibility as younger players.
A successful kick requires players to engage several muscles in their bodies. During the practicing stages, it is likely that these tactics and techniques will be practiced repeatedly and this will put more pressure onto your limbs as a result.
Failing to warm up properly will likely increase the discomfort that you feel in the following days after an intense training session.
You are also likely to notice a difference in your performance on days that you warm up properly and days that you don’t. If you have not prepared your body you may find that you miss more shots than you would like.
Kicking a soccer ball perfectly isn’t as straightforward as many people may think, however, there are several techniques that you can use to make the task much easier for you.
By following the ten steps that we have mentioned above, you will develop your confidence when kicking a soccer ball and you will also see your skill develop over time.
Remember that practice is important. You aren’t going to get better at your sport if you do not dedicate a sufficient amount of time to mastering your skills.
It is also worth noting that players at a higher level must be able to kick the ball with both their left and right feet.
Because of this, it is recommended that you practice kicking with both so that you can confidently execute a pass or a shot in an advanced situation.