How to Kick a Soccer Ball
Some of the best paid players in the world are those that can strike a soccer ball into the back of the net. If you want to know how to become a soccer player, you need to be able to kick, or strike a soccer ball well.
When kicking a soccer ball towards goal you need to consider the following:
- How far away are you from the goal?
- What is your angle from the goal?
- Where is the goalkeeper positioned?
- Is there another player in a better position who could score?
- Wind direction
How to Kick a Soccer Ball with Power
Long range strikes at goal need to be hit with far more power and velocity than strikes nearer the goal. Generating this power isn’t easy though, it takes plenty of practice, but it’s worth it to hear the ball hit the net.
To generate enough power to strike a long-range shot, you need to strike the ball with your laces. A toe-kick simply isn’t going to get the job done (nor is it the correct technique). The ball should be positioned out in front of you a little, not right at your feet, otherwise you won’t be able to generate the power from your leg. Strike through the center of ball with your laces, swing your leg all the way through, keeping your head over the ball. It is said the best strikers in the world don’t see the ball hit the back of the net because their technique is such that their head is over the ball. After swinging through, you should land on your kicking foot.
You should always have one aim when striking a ball at goal from long distance – get the ball on target. You’ll either score, force the keeper into making a save, or hit the post or crossbar and the ball rebounds back into play.
Striking at Goal Within the Penalty Area
Striking at goal in and around the penalty area requires a more deft touch than striking a ball from long-distance. The penalty area can be a chaotic place at times, so you only have so much time to get a shot away – your thought process has got to be a lot quicker.
Getting your shot on target is an aim of long-distance shooting, but being nearer the goal there are other things to take on board. We still want to get our shot on target, but we have to place it in certain areas of the goal, otherwise it’s too easy for the goalkeeper or the defenders to get to. You should be aiming for the corners. Too often young soccer players have the right technique, but they aim straight at the goalkeeper. By aiming for the corners either low or high, the goalkeeper has to work hard to get to the ball.
Being on the edge of the penalty area means the the ball still has to be struck with some venom, but it has to be placed. Right before the shot is taken, the striker of the ball needs to get their head up and pick their spot. As mentioned previously, a shot at goal placed in the corners stands a very good chance of hitting the back of the net.
To become a soccer player, you should practice striking at goal in an empty net. Place markers down about a foot away from either post and aim either low and hard towards those markers, or high and hard in the top corner. Remember, a good soccer player should practice striking with both feet, not just their stronger foot.
Short Range Striking at Goal
The players who are masters at striking at goal often rely on their movement off the ball and finesse, rather than their striking power. Being in the right place at the right time is a key element of close-range striking. Players like Michael Owen and Ruud Van Nistelrooy are never going to be remembered for their 30 yarders, but what they will be remembered for is scoring some vital goals for their teams. Both of these players had an uncanny knack of knowing where the goal was, and hitting the back of the net.
The majority of their goals were scored from around 10 yards out or less, and required a lot of finesse in a busy and packed penalty area. Instead of using their laces to strike the ball, they relied on directing the ball into the goal with the inside of their foot. Sometimes placement wins out over power when shooting – these kinds of goals are known as passing the ball into the back of the net.
If you’ve read our section on passing a soccer ball, you’ll know that the most accurate passes are made with the inside of our foot. Being able to place a ball into the far corner of the net takes plenty of practice. To practice your inside of the foot striking and accuracy, place balls at the edge of the six yard box, and balls at the penalty spot. Aim as close to the corners as you can when you strike the ball. Once you’re comfortable doing this, vary your angles. Remember, if you’re on the goalkeeper’s near post, you should aim for the far post – put the ball where the goalkeeper isn’t.
Great strikers of the ball include Pele, Alan Shearer, Roberto Carlos – these are players who were prepared to have a strike at ball from almost anywhere on the soccer field (and mostly with success). Regardless of the position you play in soccer, you should be able to strike a soccer ball well.