One of our readers asked for drills and tips on teaching his kids to kick properly (and not with the toes), so we thought we’d post here for everyone’s benefit.
One of our favorite drills to practice proper shooting is the trap and shoot drill. We recommend drills where the ball is moving, because that is what the players will encounter most during the game. The important part is to teach the technique and then get the kids a lot of repetition. The basics of the technique are the following:
- approach the ball from a slight angle, not straight on
- plant the non-kicking foot slightly to the side of the ball
- lock your ankle before striking the ball
- lean forward over the ball before striking it and follow through to regain your balance after the ball was kicked.
The approach is relatively simple to explain and it tends to fix a lot of the issues. You must teach them not to approach the ball straight on, but to take a little sidestep when setting themselves up to run up to to the ball. The same way football kickers do since they adopted the soccer style kick. Two steps back, one side to the left (for right footers).
After the approach is corrected, the technique consists of three parts: placement of the non-kicking foot; deciding which part of the foot to use and locking your ankle accordingly; and body lean and follow through.
When the player approaches the ball, she should plant her non-kicking foot a few inches to the left (for a right footer) for shooting, or just slightly to the side and behind the ball for passing.
Part of the foot and locking the ankle:
As the player plants the non-kicking foot, she should lock her shooting foot ankle before kicking the ball. Locking the ankle means that it is not loose as the ball is struck to prevent injury.
For placement use the inside of the foot as it provides more accuracy, but less power. Open up your shooting foot so the inside of it is showing towards the ball (like a golf club) and lock your ankle so the toes point slightly up.
For power use the laces, but this will diminish some of the accuracy. Point your shooting foot towards the ground and lock your ankle so that the laces are showing towards the ball (be careful not to hit the ground instead of the ball as this can also cause injury).
Body lean and follow through:
For shooting, or to keep the ball low: lean over the ball before you strike it so that your chest is over it before your foot strikes it. Then follow through with your foot. The stronger you kick the ball the more likely it is you will land on your shooting foot after the shot.
For passing, or to send the ball high: lean back a bit before striking the ball. The follow through will just be about regaining the balance.