It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that mastering that kick is the key to getting better at soccer. And yet so often when honing our skills we move on from the fundamentals, thinking that we have them down when we actually don’t. If you’re here to learn how to correctly kick a soccer ball for the first time or you’re just refreshing your knowledge, good for you. You’re in the right place.
Let’s talk about the ten steps that lead into that perfect kick that will set the angels singing and crowds cheering.
Step One: Perfect Your First Touch
A first touch is the moment the player makes contact with the ball and it defines what position and stance you’re in when you engage with the ball. A good first touch is imperative for a perfect kick. If you have poor first contact with the ball, it will significantly reduce the accuracy and power of your kick. To improve your first touch, practice the five drills below.
Five Best Soccer Drills for Improving First Touch
Do these drills against the wall or with a partner!
#1 – Stationary trapping and passing of the ball
#2 – Receive the ball with the inside of your foot
#3 – Receive the ball with the outside of your foot
#4 – Checking the ball: Run to the ball and make a one-touch pass
#5 – Checking away from the ball: Start away from the ball, then make a one-touch pass
If you practice these drills, you will be ready for every potential situation before the first touch. Additionally, it will improve your overall kick performance.
Step Two: Focus Your Eye on the Ball
While it is tempting to look at the defenders and the goal while kicking, you must keep your eye on the ball at all times. Try looking at the ball in the exact place where you plan to kick it. In most situations, it is best to look at the middle of the ball.
Many players enjoy looking in the direction they want the ball to go. Yet, this practice decreases your overall power and accuracy. Form the habit now to keep your eye on the ball at all times. As you do so, your kicks will result in increased goals.
Step Three: Pay Attention to Your Feet
Both legs play an important role in kicking a soccer ball. Foot placement improves the momentum of your kick which in turn increases its power.
Point your non-kicking foot in the direction you want the ball to go. The magic of your non-kicking foot is that it can often correct the errors of your kicking foot. If you kick the wrong side of the ball, the placement of your non-kicking foot will redirect the ball to the correct path.
In addition, when making contact with the ball make sure to lock your ankle. If your ankle is flimsy, the kick will be weak. However, if your ankle is locked, the kick will be strong.
Step Four: Move your Arms
Similar to how moving your arms guides correct motion in running, moving your arms is imperative in kicking a soccer ball. Harmoniously moving your arms stabilizes your torso, balances your body, and aids in the correct movement of your feet. As a bonus, it makes you look more professional. You need to have those intense arm movements if you want your action shots to look epic!
Do not overthink arm movement. Swing your arms back and forth as you run towards the ball. The faster your arms move, the faster your legs will move. When you kick the ball, move both of your arms forward to heighten the power of your kick. All arm movement should feel natural – your body knows how to coordinate so just let it do its job
Step Five: Create a “V” with your Shooting Leg
Increasing your flexibility will improve your kicking performance. You should be able to move your shooting leg into a “V” shape as you cock it before the kick. A narrow “V,” will give you increased momentum which will enhance the power of your kick. If you struggle to move your power in this way, do some stretches daily to improve your flexibility.
Step Six: Maintain Your Posture
Maintaining an upright position is key for nailing the most accurate kick. You may lean slightly forward or backward if it feels more comfortable, but never dramatically lean in one direction. Leaning forward or backward will teach you bad techniques.
The action of the lean naturally corrects your foot positioning. Learn correct foot placement without having to change your posture. Read more in step three and step eight about correcting your foot placement.
Step Seven: Angle Your Body
Remember back in step three when we talked about the position of your non-kicking foot? Just like you need to angle your non-kicking foot in the direction you want the ball to go, you need to do the same with your body.
The ball will go towards the direction your body is angled. Try angling your body in different directions while practicing to watch where the ball goes in response to your body angle. An easy and effective way to ramp up your accuracy.
Step Eight: Kick with the Correct Part of Your Foot
There are seven different types of soccer shots. Each shot uses different parts of the foot to be the most effective.
- Standard shot: Use the area around the knuckle of your big toe to kick the ball.
- Straight shot: Use the area around the laces of your shoes to kick the ball.
- Inside shot: Kick the ball with the inside of your foot.
- Chip shot: Use any part of your foot for this shot.
- Bending shot: Use any part of your foot for this shot.
- Outside shot: Use the outside of your foot to make this shot.
- Toe shot: Use the toes of your foot to make this shot.
It will be most effective for you to practice standard, straight, inside, and toe shots the most. These are the most common shots you will use when playing soccer.
Step Nine: Follow Through
Following through is letting your body follow the motion of the ball after a kick. Once your foot touches the ball, follow your kick by moving your body in the direction you want the ball to go. Following through will drastically improve your power and accuracy, and helps your body internalize the most effective movement pattern.
Step Ten: Practice, Practice, Practice
You are not going to get a perfect kick overnight. If you want to learn how to kick a soccer ball accurately and effectively, you need to put in adequate practice time. Practice each step listed above one at a time before you put them all together.
Here are some more practice techniques that will help you:
- Videotape yourself while you practice kicking the soccer ball and while you practice different drills. These videotapes will allow you to assess your performance and learn from your mistakes. It will also help you track your progress!
- Ask a coach or friend who is better than you to give you feedback on your performance!
- Consider investing in in-depth performance analysis. At Gears Sports, we offer Gears Soccer Biomechanics that provides you with extensive analytics to improve your performance. Our technology takes 600 pictures for every minute and tracks movements you would not be able to see with your naked eye.
- Create a practice league and invite your friends to come play soccer with you. You’ll get to perfect your kick and hang out with friends!
Now, don’t wait a moment longer. Get your soccer ball and get practicing! With some practice, you’ll be able to beautifully kick a soccer ball in no time at all.