How to Shoot A Soccer Ball Harder
Soccer isn’t set up for the high-scoring games of American football or basketball, but that doesn’t stop its players from getting a special thrill from seeing their shot at the back of the opponent’s net. If anything, the excitement is enhanced due to the rarity of a real ripper getting past the goalkeeper. At QCM, we want to enable player joy, so here are some suggestions on how to shoot a soccer ball harder.
First things first, relax. Easier said than done, especially when you are one-on-one with a goalie and the game is on the line. Nevertheless, tensing up to try and kick with all your might actually works against your shot’s momentum. Striking the ball as hard as you can causes the muscles in your leg to tense up, which can cause the motion of your kick to malfunction.
Try to relax and let your entire body go limp. Not so much that you fall down on the field — that’s not the effect you’re going for — but enough that your muscles are loose. The only part of your body you want tense is your ankle.
Kick with the largest bone in your foot (technically, the first metatarsal), just above the big toe knuckle. This is going to mean using your laces or instep in common soccer parlance. By approaching the ball from a slight angle and using this sturdiest part of your foot, you can see more force on impact.
See your foot kick the ball. Of course, you want to have looked at where the goalie is in relation to the goal, but if you can see your foot your body is slightly bent over. This helps you have power when you release the ball.
It’s also important to follow-through. You actually want to continue the forward momentum of your shot with your entire body. Not just your leg or foot. Landing on the shooting foot, rather than your planted foot, means that you have kept the motion going and followed the ball.
Confidence also makes a difference. You have to believe you can shoot a hard shot and score a goal if you hope to do so. If you go in thinking you’re going to miss, well, welcome to whiffsville Mr. Shankapotamus.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at this shot a Danish man took to win roughly $15K from a toy company. He can’t have been doubting his chances when he took this beauty to score through a tiny hole in a tarp-covered net.
It’s Not Working for Me
If you don’t feel you’re getting enough power, there are several things that could be going wrong:
• Not getting your thigh back enough to add momentum
• Taking a stutter step. Instead run up smooth and let your last step before the shot be a little bigger, allowing your legs to open up and generate more speed.
• Leaning back when shooting will send the ball — no matter how hard you strike it — over the net.
Put This Shot in Action
Of course the obvious suggestion for improving your soccer shot is to practice. If you’re ever hoping to have a 70 m.p.h shot like David Beckham, you’ll need to take extra shots and work on shooting. Focus on all of the elements we’ve discussed in this article. Also work hard to make your weaker foot as strong as your dominant one.
Strength training can also help. The stronger your body, particularly the hamstrings and glutes for shooting, the better your shooting technique can become.
Want to see what kind of kicking you’re doing when you try for a powerful shot? Take a video of shots in a practice setting. Then, slow down the frames and watch your body mechanics image by image to really understand your kick and progress over time.