Out of all the skills in soccer, kicking a soccer ball is the hardest. Most youth soccer players have trouble with this essential skill because they are never taught how to properly kick a soccer ball.
Learning proper shooting technique is vital to striking a soccer ball correctly. This article is dedicated to analyzing every aspect of soccer kicking technique.
Of all the articles in our soccer shooting guide, this is the most important. Practice and implement all of these steps.
12 Steps to a Great Soccer Shot
1. Take a touch.
Try shooting a ball you are on top of. It is much harder to shot, and you lose power and accuracy. Shooting a ball that is at an awkward position will take much of the power off of your shot.
How you touch the ball depends on what type of shot you are using. You need to approach the ball at an angle when using a standard shot, for instance, while setting yourself up for a straight shot is much easier.
Additionally, your touch should be away from defenders so they cannot block the shot, or take the ball away from you.
You can either touch the ball with the inside, the outside, or the laces of your foot. With practice, you will learn how touch the ball so you can get a shot off effectively.
Learn more by reading Looking to Shoot
2. Look Up (optional).
Before shoot the ball, you may want to look up at the goalie to see where he/she is. This allows you to decide where to shoot. Only do this if you have enough time to pick your head up. There will be many times though, where you do not have time for this.
Notice that I didn’t tell you to look up to see where the goal is. You should develop your soccer radar, so this is unnecessary; however, if you haven’t you can take a peek at the goal, but it is best if you always know where the goal is.
3. Look at the Ball
This is a part that beginning players often get wrong. They naturally want to look at the ball, but with all the confusion going on around them, they look up at opposing players, at the goal, and at the goalie.
This leads to the player “just kicking the ball and hoping.” The player has little control over where the ball goes, and so it often misses the goal.
To avoid this, you need to look at the ball for the entire shooting procedure. Stare at the part of the ball that you want to strike and focus on hitting it there.
To do this, it is important to know the parts of a soccer ball.
4. Place your foot.
Many shooters only think about the foot that kicks the ball, but much of the power of the shot depends on where you place your place foot (the foot not shooting the ball). You can greatly alter your shot, just by slightly changing the position of your place foot.
To place your place foot, you perform a little hop. You probably do this already, but haven’t noticed it before. It is important that you practice this because it is a very important part of the soccer shot.
Depending on the type of soccer shot, you should put your place foot in different positions, but in general, you should place your place foot even with the ball. If you want some more loft on the ball, you can place your foot slightly behind the ball, while if you need to keep the ball on the ground (or you are running) you can place your foot a little ahead of the ball.
Width-wise, you should keep your foot at a comfortable place. Many players have there place foot way too far away (width-wise) from the ball, and this results in shots that go way wide of the goal.
Place foots for specific shots are covered in the types of soccer shots article.
5. Swing your arms.
Swinging your arms fluidly while shooting provides balance, and increases power. This may seem small, but it will improve your shot.
6. Bring back your shooting leg.
You want to bring it back as far as you comfortably can. Your leg should create a v-shape. The farther you bring your leg back, the more chance you have for momentum.
Many players don’t go back far enough. Just making this easy adjustment can have a huge effect on the power of your kick.
7. Lock your ankle.
When I say “lock your ankle”, I don’t mean that you should tighten it like you are flexing. I simply mean that your ankle should be firm, and straight (like a putting wedge) for maximum accuracy.
9 DON’T Lean over the ball.
I often hear coaches yell “learn over the ball” when a player strikes the ball over the net and “lean back” if a player doesn’t get enough loft on the ball.
Both of these are completely wrong and throw off a shot. All you need to do is try leaning back when shooting, and you will realize how much difficult it makes it. Leaning forward of backward decreases power, and makes shooting more comfortable.
A slight lean either way is okay, but in the end, it is what is comfortable for you. Leaning backwards or forward only hinders your shooting ability.
So where does all the poor advice come from? Think about this: when you lean back, you naturally put your place foot behind the ball, and when you lean forward you put your place foot forward. Where you put your place foot does matter. Leaning over the ball does not, and I know that from experience.
10. Strike it.
How you strike a ball depends on what type of soccer shot you are performing. The important thing to work on is hitting the ball with the right part of your foot at the right part of the ball. This takes practice, but once you get used to it, your accuracy will improve dramatically.
11. Follow through.
I can’t stress enough how important a good follow through it. I know personally that the power and accuracy of my shot improved greatly when I started doing it.
All you need to do is continue through the ball. I see many players who shot the ball with good velocity, but then stop short instead of following through. The result is the effect you would get from chipping a soccer ball.
So follow through as if the ball was still there. Many players find it helpful to focus on landing on their shooting foot.
12. Follow it up.
Once you take your shot, make it a habit to sprint towards it. Sometimes, you can get your own rebound, while your fellow teammates and the opposition are staring at your shot’s beauty.
This may not seem important, but if you can score just one goal by following up your own shot, it is worth it right?
How to Kick a Soccer Ball Video
This video summaries much of what this article has covered.
Improving Speed and Accuracy
Wow, if you went through all of that you must be dedicated to improving your soccer shot. Here, basically, I want to clarify how to improve the speed and accuracy of your kick.
It all comes down to this; the entire technique is based on achieving this two basic goals. This is a bit technical, but I will try to make it as simple as possible.
Basically: The faster your leg moves and the bigger the mass of your leg (and your body in general), the faster the ball will go.
It also is important that you hit the ball in the sweet spot, that is, the center of the ball, with the sweet spot of your foot (your laces).
So to improve shooting speed, you need to increase your momentum by building up more speed (the farther back your leg goes, the more you can build) and by building up your mass by working out
Shooting accuracy comes down to hitting the right part of the ball with the right part of your foot. That’s really all there is to it.
P.S. If you want to kick the ball with power and accuracy and learn every other soccer skill, check out Epic Soccer Training. A professional player will teach you the proper technique for every skill.