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6 Steps to Improve Your Weak Foot

Weak Foot

What is a weak foot?

A weak foot has nothing to do with injury. It does not mean that a player can’t play at all with a certain foot. It simply means that they play much better with one of their feet than the other.

Most people are either right handed or left handed, meaning that they instinctively gravitate towards using their dominant hand when completing every day tasks. Additionally, most soccer players are also right footed or left footed, meaning that they tend to use their dominant foot when they touch the ball or shoot. Some people are born ambidextrous (with the ability to use both hands or feet equally as well), but anyone can be trained to use both feet powerfully.

Why does it matter?

Soccer is a fast-paced game that is played at 360 degrees. There is no guarantee that the ball is always going to roll to the same side as a player’s dominant foot. It would be a disservice to the team if a player, regardless of position, was not constantly ready to act with whichever foot the moment calls for.

A player who can use both feet proficiently will improve their overall ball control. A player who can dribble with both feed can better break away from their opponent than a player who favors one foot over the other and a player who can pass or shoot with both feet is a more lethal weapon on offense. Similarly, a player who knows that they can perform adequately with either foot will be more confident on the field.

Vision is also a crucial part of the total package for a great soccer player. Players who heavily favor a particular foot tend to position their body towards that side, limiting their field of vision. A player cannot anticipate what he or she cannot see. A player who can use both feet, is likely to see more of the field of play, has a better ability to read the game and react accordingly.

A player’s ability to use their weaker foot adds an element of versatility to a player’s skillset. In tennis, most players are stronger on their forehanded than backhanded. The ability to make a decent backhanded shot allows a tennis player to win more volleys by catching their opponent off guard by switching to the weaker side.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect soccer example of this concept. His right foot is more dominant; however, he scores from time to time with his weaker left foot. He dribbles proficiently with both feet, which makes him particularly dangerous as he approaches the goal. His left footed goals, which average to about 20% of the goals he scores are usually much weaker shots than his powerful right footed goals, which is to be expected. However, his left footed goals are often the result of a defender and goalkeeper over-guarding his right side, leaving a free kicking lane to Ronaldo’s left. His team greatly benefits from his ability to score with either foot.

How to improve?

1) Mentality

The first thing a player should know about improving their weaker foot is that it’s going to be a difficult process. You are going to have to act in complete opposition of your natural tendencies. In essence, you are training your brain to think a different way. Think of it as trying to learn how to write with your non-dominant hand. In the beginning, it will be awkward, and you may not be proud of the initial results. Don’t allow the perception of failure to discourage you. This will be a long, slow, and difficult process, but the end results will be that you have a leg above most players on the field. Remember that practice makes perfect, and you are going to need a lot of practice.

2) Keepy-Uppys (Juggling)

Strengthening a weaker foot is essentially going back to square one. Start off with keepy-uppys on your non-dominant foot. To do a keepy-uppy, a player must make several small kicks of the ball to keep it up in the air. The kicks should be small, controlled, and quick paced. The goal is to be able to do them back to back to back quickly and without every letting the ball fall down. Acclaimed freestyler Billy Wingrove suggests that players who want to get better at keepy-uppys challenge themselves to do 200 consecutively without dropping the ball. Each time you drop the ball, start over. Keep on practicing until you can get to 200. By the time you accomplish this goal, you will have practiced controlling the ball with your weaker foot thousands of times. By that point, using your weaker foot will begin to feel more natural.

 

 

3) Slalom

After mastering keepy-uppys, try to add motion to your practice. Create a slalom course for yourself. You can use cones such as those found here, sticks, poles, rocks, or anything else that will give you a landmark. Start off with three landmarks and dribble in between them using your weaker foot. Space the landmarks out as far as you think is necessary. Initially, you should space them out a few yards. They shouldn’t be so close or so far away that the course is unusually difficult or easy to complete, but the length should be set according to the players ability.

When that feels comfortable, add another landmark. How can you tell if it’s truly comfortable? Mentally, you should feel like you know what you are doing. You should start developing a confidence. Physically, you should be able to complete the course fluidly without stopping, pausing, or kicking the ball away from the course.

Keep repeating the process until you have made yourself a slalom course of with ten landmarks. Make this a part of your training regimen. As you get more and more used to the course, change it up to make sure you stay engaged and keep learning. Add more landmarks to the course. Change the spacing of the landmarks to make it more difficult. Sometimes, give yourself a challenge of doing tricks around the landmarks, doing keepy-uppys in between the cones. Do anything that will keep you mentally and physically committed to the process. Make sure whatever you chose to do is appropriate for your skill level. Something that is unreasonably difficult will only sever as a discouragement.  Here is a video that can be used as a guide for your training:

 

4) Target Practice

Perhaps one of the greatest benefit of being comfortable on a weaker foot is being able to shock opponents during a game by shooting with your weaker foot. In crucial moments, towards the final minutes of a tie game, this ability can be the difference between winning or losing.

After gaining better control of your weak foot through keepy-uppys and putting that control to motion through a slalom course, it’s time to go back to a static skill. Practice shooting with your weaker foot.

At first, your attempts may be dismally off. You may feel like you are starting at square one all over again, and that’s ok. Shooting is an entirely different skill set than juggling or dribbling. Remember the progress you have already made and commit to practicing shots until you can score just as good with your non-dominant foot as you can juggle or dribble.

There are no magic tricks to shooting. Keep doing it over and over again until your shots become accurate and they feel natural. It’s best to practice shooting into a goal with a goalkeeper in the net who has the ability to stop your ball. That is a direct simulation of an in-game scenario, however any form of practice will help.

If you don’t have access to a goal or a goalkeeper, make a landmark for yourself. Your “goal” can be two trees, a rock, or a certain spot in a fence. If you want to get fancy, you can even attach a paper target to some stationary landmark to give yourself a visual cue, or you can buy targets such as those listed here on Amazon that can be attached to goals.

 

5) Practice Passing

DO NOT USE YOUR WEAK FOOT IN AN ACTUAL GAME UNTIL YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE READY. However, feel free to use it in practice. The one skills that the drills discussed above don’t address is passing. There are plenty of drills around the internet to help you practice passing, but the best way to learn the skill is through actual practice. If scrimmages are part of the way your team practices set goals for yourself of making one accurate pass with your weak foot per practice session. Each session, keep adding to your goal. Eventually, you will be able to pass accurately with either foot.

If trying this out in practice doesn’t work for your situation, get a friend or teammate to pass to you, and practice a clean first touch as well as passing back accurately. The practice session will only be as good as the passing ability of your partner. Make sure you choose some that can pass accurately themselves. This should be a person whose passes you can catch with your dominant foot in normal circumstances.

6) Learn From The Pros

One of the best way to improve any soccer skill is to analyze the way professionals do it. Click here for insight on improving a weak foot straight from Arsenal legend Santi Carzola.

As mentioned before, Cristiano Ronaldo uses both feet. He scores about 80%, or the overwhelmingly majority, of his goals with his dominant right foot, but approximately 20% of his goals are still scored with his weaker foot. Ronaldo is a perfect example of being discerning about when to use the weaker foot. As can be seen from his ability to dribble with his weaker foot, he could easily use his left foot more often without being absolutely terrible, but he does not sacrifice quality for style. Even Ronaldo recognizes that he’s better off using his dominant foot, so he only uses his weak foot when presented a clear shot on goal or to surprise opponents by switching it up in moments of necessity. Nevertheless, he remains ready for the challenge.

What is the Goal of Strengthening Your Weaker Foot?

The purpose of strengthening your weaker foot is to become a more versatile player. Your goal is to be able to use whichever foot is necessary. The goal is NOT to make your weak foot your dominant foot while ignoring your dominant foot. All of the tips mentioned should be implemented as a supplemental part of your regular training regimen. You should never neglect your dominant foot. In an actual game, you should never force yourself to use your weak foot if there’s no reason to do so. Even with strengthening, your weak foot will always be weaker to your dominant foot because it is not the one that your brain naturally gravitates to. It would be a disservice to yourself and your team to use your weaker foot frivolously. Conversely, it’s a disservice to yourself and your team to refrain from using your weaker foot if the moment is right and you are presented with a clear pass to a teammate or unobstructed shot on goal. You should also be aware that it’s only natural that you will still favor your dominant foot after all of this practice.

A player who is confident with both feet and knows when it’s appropriate to use a weaker foot has a unique talent. Keep practicing! Never give up!

 

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7 Soccer Warmup Drills

Soccer Warmup Drills

A good active warmup prevents injuries and gets players in the right mindset.

We highly recommend an active warmup over static stretching. Static stretching may increase injuries.

We know you want to start playing as soon as possible, but warming up is worthwhile. Your chances of getting injured will decrease and you will play better.

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Soccer Passing Drills

Passing is a skill that has to be repeated over and over.   By repeating passing with the correct technique using these drills, you are creating muscle memory.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to practice passing over and over. It’s the skill you will use the most on the pitch.

These drills will help you practice your passing. Utilize them:

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Soccer Shooting Drills

Shooting requires perfection in both accuracy and power.  The only way to master both attributes is to learn the proper technique, then practice.  These soccer shooting drills will help you to practice.

Most of these drills require a partner.  If you don’t have a partner, there’s always old fashion shooting on goal.  If you can, at least bring a goalie along.

Individual Shooting Drills

Don’t use not having a goal as an excuse! If you have access to a goal, by all means use it. However, if you don’t, use anything to practice. You can shoot at a sturdy fence for instance. Also, using a goalie with these drills is great, if you have access to one.

Drill 1

Every time you shoot, the ball will be moving or you will be dribbling. This drill accounts for this.

Take a touch with the inside of your foot and shoot. Take a touch with the outside of your foot and shoot. Use both feet. Roll the ball forwards and shoot. Try different variations.

Drill 2

This drill will take the skills you practiced in drill 1, and make it more game-like.

Dribble then shoot. Repeat the variations from drill one. Dribble, then cut to the outside and shoot, cut to the inside, etc. Start off slow, then increase speed when you are more comfortable.

Drill 3

In a game, you usually won’t get a free shoot. You often have to dribble past defenders to shoot. Now we will add in defenders.

Position cones before your shooting area. You first need to beat these cones before shooting. You can cut before you reach the cone or try a move. You should also position one cone at your shooting area. Fake a shoot, and cut away from this cone before shooting.

Drill 4

This drill will help you to become accustomed to shooting from different places.

Set up balls randomly around your shooting area. Take a touch, shoot a ball, then sprint to the next one and repeat. Remember to practice ball-peak ball with this drill. That is, look at ball to take a touch, take a peak at the goal, then stare at the ball while you shoot.

Shooting Drills With Partner

These shooting drills can be performed with a partner. If you have more than one partner, the extra partner can lightly defend you during the drills.

Drill 1

Sometimes in a game, you will pass the ball and your teammate will lay it off to you. This is a great scoring opportunity. This drill models that.

Have a partner stand back against the ball. Play the ball to your partner and have him lay it off to you. Strike the ball into the goal. Have your partner lay it off to both sides and use both feet.

You can vary this drill in many ways. Try taking a touch before shooting or shooting one touch. Have your partner flick the ball up or through the ball in the air. You could even take the ball with speed to the goal and finish.

Drill 2

Many times in a game, you will receive a pass and shoot. This drill attempts to mimic that situation.

Stand at the top of the box. Have a partner pass you the ball, receive it, and shoot. You can also make a run to the top of the box and receive the pass. You can also had your partner pass it to you and shoot from a long distance.

Drill 3

Sometimes crosses are placed on the ground. When you receive one you want to be ready, as this is an easy scoring opportunity. This drill will allow you to practice finishing crosses.

Have a partner cross you the ball on the ground. Shoot the ball into the corner with either one of two touch. It is especially important to get your body in front of the ball on this drill because you will receive very hard pressure in the box.

Become a Better Shooter

Our Soccer Shooting Guide is the most in-depth guide to shooting on the net.  It is a collection of many articles, that will develop you shot from the ground up (if you choose).  Players who read and implement the guide notice drastically improved shooting ability

Look at our free Soccer Shooting Guide

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