How To Kick A Soccer Ball + Beginner’s Drills & Bonus Tips 

Any player with poor soccer skills will have a slim chance of playing for any team, therefore, the excellent time to learn the skill is at a young age. In this post, I am going to focus on how to kick a soccer ball for beginners, including kicking drills, and bonus tips for the parent coach.

 


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Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge

The following is a quote from an English professional soccer player:

“I can’t remember not kicking a ball. As a kid, I messed around with a tennis ball, I kicked cans – anything that remotely resembled a football. I don’t think you have to have the natural talent to play football. The people who end up being successful are those who want to learn technique”

Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool FC

Learning kicking techniques at a young age can cement a good foundation for your kid’s soccer career if that is the path you want to take. 

Dribbling Vs Kicking

Kicking should not be confused with dribbling as they are not the same even though both require a player’s feet in contact with the ball. 

Dribbling is when a player maneuvers the ball with their feet to evade the opponent’s defense players while kicking is when the player strikes the ball with his or her foot either to pass the ball or score a goal.

Types Of Kicks

There are at least 5 types of kicks in soccer but as a beginner, I recommend that your kid only needs to concentrate on the first 2 basic types of kicks. 

If your kid can master the Push Kick and the Instep Kick then you can progress to the others which should be easier to learn by then.

 

How to kick a soccer ball

1) Push Kick

The Push Kick is the most basic kick because it is used the most during any soccer game. The best analogy of Push Kick is to think of your kicking foot as a golf putter club hitting the golf ball.

Here is how you demonstrate the kick to your kid:

Golf putter hitting golf ball
Golf putter hitting a golf ball
  1. Stand facing your kid who should be about 3 – 5 meters away from you
  2. The ball should be next to your non-kicking foot
  3. Shift your weight to your non-kicking foot for balance
  4. Your non-kicking foot should be slightly bent and pointing to your kid
  5. Liftback your kicking foot
  6. Rotate your kick foot outwards
  7. Lock your ankle (like the putter in the photo)
  8. Swing your foot and hit the ball in the center of the ball with your inside foot area
  9. The ball should roll forward to your kid
  10. Use your hands to balance yourself during the kick

My Recommended Drills:

The following drills are taken from my post 12 Simple Soccer Drills For 4-Year-Olds. They are excellent for training for Push Kick skills.

Drill 1. Pass Back And Forth

  1. Have your kid pass to you by kicking inside of his or her foot
  2. You stop the ball under the sole of your foot. 
  3. Passback to your kid by kicking inside your foot
  4. Repeat 

Drill 2: Pass-Back-Forth, Left Foot Then Right Foot

Similar to drill number 1 but alternate the kicking foot. For example, if you kicked with your right foot now, your next kick will be with your left foot.

This is a great drill for training your kid’s weaker foot in ball control and accuracy. 

  1. Ask your kid to pass the ball to you. 
  2. You receive the ball with your right foot
  3. Pass the ball back with your right foot
  4. Your kid passes the ball back to you
  5. You receive the ball with your left foot 
  6. Pass the ball back to your kid with your left foot. 
  7. Repeat 

Pros:

  • Very accurate kick when passing at close range
  • When partnering with a teammate it is easy to get around the opponent players.
  • Can be quick to execute
  • Easy to learn
  • Low foot injury kick

Cons:

  • Not a strong kick
  • Cannot pass to teammates who are far from you

When to use the Push Kick: 

  • Primary kicking style during the game
  • Short Passing – mostly used to pass the ball to teammates who are nearby 
  • Scoring goal – when close to the opponent’s goal

 

A boy ready to strike the ball
A boy ready to strike the ball

2) Instep Kick

A lot of kicks in soccer are variations of the instep kick so it is important that your kid learn this skill at a young age.

This kick accounts for the most strikes at goal, corner kicks, penalty kicks, and free kicks.

Here is how you show your kid on how to do the kick:

  1. Stand in front of the ball
  2. Take a step backward
  3. Take a step forward with your none-kicking foot
  4. As you bring your kicking foot,
  5. Lock your toe pointing to the ground
  6. Strike the ball in the center with the laces of your soccer shoe.

Drill 1: Instep Kicking Technique Drill

An easy drill for learning the Instep Kick.

Instruct your kid not to kick too hard because the aim of the drill is to learn the toe locked down technique and kicking the center of the ball.

  1. You kneel on the ground
  2. Hold the ball firmly on the ground
  3. Ask your kid to stand in front of the ball
  4. Gently kick the center of the ball with toe locked down
  5. Alternate right foot then left foot after each kick

Drill 2: Pass The Ball Back And Forth, Left and Right Foot

Similar to the Push Kick Drill, kick the ball back and forth with your kid and switching to the next foot for the next kick.

Pros:

  • Can be accurate and powerful
  • Ideal for long passes

Cons:

  • Skill needs time to perfect
  • May cause injury when not properly done

When to use it:

  • Mostly used to pass the ball to teammates who are far away
  • Very effective in scoring goals due to the powerful kick
  • Free kicks, penalty kicks, goal kicks, corner kicks, and many more

 

Other types of basic kicks are:

 

3) Outside Kick

This is an advanced kicking technique.

As the name suggests, Outside Kick is when you kick outside of your foot, as opposed to the Push Kick.

This kick is quite difficult to master and use effectively but the skill will develop with practice and experience.

Here is how you do it:

  1. Stand in front of the ball
  2. Move 1 step back behind the ball
  3. Take a step forward with your non-kicking foot
  4. Strike the ball with the out of your foot

Pros:

  • An alternating to Instep Kicking
  • It is a tricky maneuver as opponents never expected it

Cons:

  • Not easy to learn as it comes with a lot of practice and experience

When to use it:

  • You can pass with it
  • Experienced players can use the outside kick to take corner kicks, free kicks, and penalty kicks
Kids practicing soccer drills
Kids practicing soccer drills

4) Toe Kick (Not for very young kids)

Not encouraged for kids to use because it can cause injuries to the toe but it is a very effective kick.

However, experienced players can use the Toe Kick sometimes to effectively score goals or poke away a seemingly out of reach ball to safety.

The kick is simple because a player only needs to strike the center of the ball. Here is how it is done:

  1. Stand in front of the ball
  2. Position the ball in front of your kicking foot
  3. Lock your kicking foot like the golf putter
  4. Lift your kicking foot back
  5. Gently strike the center of the ball

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • Can be a powerful kick

Cons:

  • It can cause injury to the big toe if done too often or improperly.

When to use it:

  • When you don’t have the opportunity to push kick or do the instep kick, toe kick can be effective.
  • Quick short pass
  • You can score goals with toe kick

 

5) Backheel Kick

Easy to learn.

Backheel kick or “back kick” as we commonly called it is a kick done by striking the ball with the heels of your soccer shoe.

When done skillfully it can be very exciting to watch giving you the much-needed feeling of confidence and style. Christiano Ronaldo does it a couple of times!

It has a lot of variation but the most basic version is as follows:

  1. Stand in front of the ball facing away
  2. The ball should be directly behind your kicking foot
  3. Lift your kicking foot forward with knees slightly bent
  4. Balance yourself naturally
  5. Swing your foot backward to strike the center of the ball

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • You look cool doing it

Cons:

  • If not done correctly the ball may go way off-target – not cool!

When to use it:

  • When you are facing a wall of defenders
  • When you are running out of the field of play
  • When you need to pass to your team without giving a clue to your opponent
  • You can score a goal with it

Your BONUS Tips

Let us cover some rules before we look at how to kick a soccer ball.

Tip 1. No Toe

You may have read and heard this a thousand times, but as a beginner, do not allow your kid to kick the soccer ball with his or her toe. That is because your kid is likely to injure his or her big toe. 

This injury is called the soccer toe or turf toe due to stress on the ligaments that eventually injure the big toes.

Also, toe kicking can be a bad habit to break later and can ruin your kicking skills.

Having said that, only experienced players can use the toe kick. Most notable are Brazilian players like Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Oscar.

Tip 2. 3 Areas Of The Ball To Strike

There are 3 parts of the ball you can strike to get to your intended target:

  1. Top – To hit the ball low you should strike the top area of the ball.
  2. Mid – If you strike the middle or center of the ball it will travel straight
  3. Bottom – When you strike the bottom of the ball it will definitely travel upwards

Tip 3. Wear Proper Shoes And Socks

Kicking can put a lot of stress on your kid’s feet, especially on kicking training session.

Ensure your kid wears proper socks and shoes so that they reduce the impact of your child’s feet when repeatedly kicking the ball. 

Tip 4. Warm-up 

Kicking involves all the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones in the lower and upper body. 

Therefore a proper warm drill is required. See my post on 5 Fun Soccer Warm Up Drills (and Warm Down)

Do not risk injury by skipping warm-up before training.

Tip 5. Train Both Feet

Have you seen a player dribbling the ball but unable to kick and has to turn 180 degrees in order to kick?

A player that can only kick with his or her right foot will always prefer to play on the right side of the field.

 Being able to kick the ball with either foot is like a double-edged sword because you can play anywhere on the field. 

When it comes to scoring goals you can fire shots with your left and right foot further confusing the defenders and the Goalie. 

Coaches like players who are multi-skilled in the field and their chances of getting selected in the first 11 are pretty high. 

Naturally, we all have 1 strong foot and by including your weaker foot in drills and training your kid can build strength and be able to kick with it. 

Read about 10 Soccer Protective Gear For Kids – Parents Guide

 

What other kicks did I leave out? Please let me know in the comments below.

Sources:

Active For LifeWikipediaSportsRecPlayoCoachingAmericanSoccer

 

Image:

Image by Humphrey Janga from Pixabay | Photo by Amber Faust from PexelsPhoto by Pixabay from PexelsBackground photo created by freepik – www.freepik.comHand vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

 

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