How to Kick a Soccer Ball Harder
By Coach V
Blast The Ball - SoccerU
don’t care if you are 8 or 38 years old, a funny thing happens
when we place a soccer ball on the grass in front of a goal.
Something in our mind seems to ‘snap’ and we try and strike the
ball as hard as we can. Most of us however don’t realize this
actually slows down the soccer ball’s speed.
While creating Blast The Ball and
Soccer U we had the pleasure of capturing literally hundreds of
hours of soccer players and thousands of soccer kicks. This
research showed some interesting results. Trying to kick a
soccer ball ‘harder’ often slowed down the speed of the ball.
Why you ask? Well let’s start with another sport that will help
Talk to the “long drive golf
champs” and you will find a common thought among them. Swing at
80% of your top force. Now, why would a golf ball go farther at
80% vs. 100%? It comes down to the “speed of the club head”
which is the last part of several body parts involved.
Swinging, or “kicking”, at 100% of force often causes us to
TENSE UP many of the muscles involved in the full “multifunction
process” of the swinging / kicking motion. Think us this as a
“whipping” motion. Staying slightly “loose” during the kick
allows our foot to be at the end of an accelerating chain of
events. Tighten up any of those events and you slow it down.
Try throwing a baseball with a totally STIFF arm. The ball
travels about half the speed. Keeping a loose arm with a
whipping motion increases the speed greatly. The same applies
to the soccer kick.
A couple of key points to a
stronger, longer and faster soccer kick.
Allow your entire body to go limp. Shake it out. Let your head,
neck legs and every part of your body relax.
The only part of your body that will have tension is your ankle.
Large last stride / loading.
Make your last stride a long “forward hopping” load. Your heel
should come close to your behind.
Allow your knee to come through first.
This is known as “storing the load”. Your lower leg will form a
V shape. Keep that V shape as long as possible and at the last
minute let it extent in a WHIPPING motion through the ball.
Kick with the big toe knuckle.
Approach the ball from a slight angle. The largest bone in your
foot is the first metatarsal which is just above the big toe
knuckle. This translates into FORCE or energy at impact.
Break the pane.
Pretend that the ball is sitting in front of a large pane of
glass. You want to break the pane with your body, not just your
leg or foot. This means that your forward momentum should
continue through the shot. This will also cause you to land on
your SHOOTING foot, not your plant foot.
Watch your foot contact the ball.
If you can see your foot strike the ball you are kicking
properly. Doing this also keeps your body in a slightly “bent
over” position. Straitening up will kill some of the power
To prove this point to younger
players you should have them start VERY close to the goal. Have
them move back little by little WITHOUT changing their kicking
effort. When you see them “forcing” their shot, have them move
back very close and feel the loose shot again a few times. Then
have them move back out to a far point and use the same “close
kick”. Both of you will be amazed.
On a final note I suggest you
video tape the player kicking. You can even use digital cameras
that have a video recorder. Try and set the “frames per second”
as high as you can. This will allow you to slow the kick down to
a frame by frame view. When we shot Blast The Ball, many of the
cameras were set on 3000 frames per second. This allowed us to
see EVERY detail of the kick. Younger players will be amazed at
the footage and trust me, if you tell them they are doing
something wrong they will disagree. Show them through video and
they will understand.