Tip 2 – Striking the Ball
Now that you know how to approach the ball, and the steps you must take in order to ensure your body is balanced and you are capable of generating power with your shots, it is time to turn our attention to actually making contact with the ball.
1. Once your kicking leg is swung back and is close to touching your behind, the next step is to swing forward and strike through the ball.
2. Remember, as you are about to come into contact with the ball, your shoulders should already be leaning forward over the ball. Do not lean your body back at the last moment, or you will find yourself ‘lofting’ the ball, and losing all the power from your shot.
3. To avoid this, always ensure that you propel your kicking leg ‘through’ the ball when you make contact, letting it continue to rise in a natural motion. This ensures that you will still be generating power into your shot, even if it is misdirected. You can always practice accuracy drills at a later date.
4. Keep your ankle tensed, or ‘locked’, and aim to strike the centre of the ball.
5. Do not be tempted to take your eyes off of the ball during this step. Keep them locked on the area of the ball you are aiming to strike, and you will find that your ability to make contact with the ball exactly where you want improves leaps and bounds.
6. Once you have made contact with the ball, your kicking leg should naturally follow through with quite a lot of force, depending upon the power you are aiming to place into the shot.
You will find that due to the force at which you are following through, your upper body will propel you forward, and you should find yourself standing on your kicking foot at the end of the motion.
7. Practice these steps until they are almost second nature to you. While it may be a little boring to keep going over these rudimentary elements, they are vital in ensuring you are able to deliver your shots with the power that you will need to succeed.
If you do not get these fundamentals nailed down, then you will find that everything you subsequently do on a soccer pitch is likely to be a waste of time.
They are that important.