The ability to curve the soccer ball in tight situations can lead to those insane post-goal celebrations. According to Leisha Alcia, an All-American goalkeeper for the University of Illinois and now assistant coach for the Illini women’s soccer team, this skill was a key ingredient in Illinois’ top 20 ranking and Sweet 16 appearance last season.
“Bending balls helps with shooting to an area where the goalkeeper isn’t standing, and it’s effective on restarts, free kicks and set plays to curve around a wall into an open space,” Alcia says.
Here, we score some tips from Alcia about working the soccer ball. The below instructions are for right-footed athletes. Perform opposite if left-footed.
Curving the ball right to left
Keeping your toes pointed down and angled to the right, contact the right side of the ball with the inside of your right foot. Your leg swing should have a left to right follow through.
Curving the ball left to right
Keeping your toes pointed down and angled to the left, contact the left side of the ball with the outside of your right foot. Your leg swing should have a right to left follow through.
• To pass or shoot in the air, make contact on the lower half of the ball.
• To pass or shoot on the ground, make contact on the upper half of the ball.
• Keep your ankle tight, making sure it’s stiff and solid, when passing or shooting.