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The soccer kick is not only an essential soccer skill, but also a show of power, focus, and style. Because it’s one of the trickiest moves for young players, we compiled a few tricks to help them master it. Besides the formal steps for kicking correctly, these tips add an extra oomph of focus and power to keep striking power high and toe kicks at bay.
“Shaking it out” isn’t just for calming nerves—it’s a great way to stay relaxed when kicking. With the exception of the ankle, encourage your players to keep their body loose. Staying relaxed makes them more likely to maintain good posture and mobility in order to aim accurately. Players will have an easier time following through and reacting to an opponent’s defense.
Break the pane
Want to train your players to kick with more power, follow through, and play with confidence? Try the break the pane method. Ask your players to imagine a pane of glass in front of the soccer ball. In order to break this glass, the player needs to use the force of their foot and the rest of their body. “Your forward momentum should continue through the shot,” says Active.com. This process helps the player direct his or her power; visualizing the glass pane can be much more effective than just explaining how to follow through.
Wish there was something that gave players immediate feedback on their kicking technique? Use a SockIt! It’s a band that fits around the soccer cleats and lights up when the kicker hits the ball with the correct spot on his or her foot. Younger players love the light-up feature, and it helps reinforce what coaches tell players on the sidelines. Invented by a father looking to help his two daughters kick better, it’s something made for soccer players, by soccer players.
Now that you know about the break the pane method, try incorporating visualization in other ways. Ask your players to sit for a moment and visualize what it’s like to kick a soccer ball. Have them consider what they could improve about their kicking. Then ask them to picture themselves perfecting that kick and how it would look in practice, games, against an opponent, etc. “When I'm preparing for a swim, I imagine absolutely everything about it: the color of the water, how cold it is, the taste of salt in my mouth,” says swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh. “I visualize each and every stroke.” Simply visualizing a successful kick can work wonders when it comes to making real contact with the ball.
OUT with the toe kick and IN with the follow through! Try out these suggestions to help your players perfect the art of kicking.