Ball Striking Guide

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NewBornProdigy
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Ball Striking Guide

Post by NewBornProdigy » 10 May 2009, 15:20

Master the Art of Kicking the Ball

Well, they call it Football for a reason.
The most important skill for anyone to master is kicking the ball, but for sure this doesn’t happen overnight...

Contents:

1. Kicking Techniques

Fundamentals

Technique
The Key to Success the Instep
Instep Presentation
Straight
Curved

Biomechanics
The Mental Conquest
Method of Muscles

Ball Effects
All in the Spin
Knuckle Shot

Other Techniques
Side Footing
Trivela
Chipping

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Part II


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1. Kick Technique

Fundamentals

You must first realise that everyone has there own ball striking style, but that being said technique is a different matter
You can have a comfortable style and a bad technique
So what you must learn is the correct fundamentals in striking, find out whats right and whats not and then once you have mastered the basics you can let your style develop
The most important thing to master is the technique
Ball striking can be broken up into 3 fundamentals (all directly related to technique)

Technique (75%)
This your ability to actually execute the intended kick, everything to do with run up to follow through, this can be generalised as gaining accuracy (even though it accounts for everything else like contact, power and deception it mainly involves accuracy)

Biomechanics (20%)
The bare necessities of muscle and nerve movements that make your body motion in the pattern that we call technique orientated movement (eg. kicking) and the better your biomechanics the more force and power in your technique, this is everything from co-ordination to muscle power, this can be generalised as gaining power (even though it accounts for everything else like contact, accuracy and deception it mainly involves power)

Ball Effects (5%)
This is the added effects you place on the ball via advanced technique (eg. ball spin, knuckle) that add that extra brazillianesque flair that can be the difference between scoring and missing, this can be generalised as gaining
deception (even though it accounts for everything else like contact, power and accuracy it mainly involves deception)

So with that broken down lets get into the most basic and essential fundamental of kicking… technique

Technique

The Key to Success, the Instep
The instep kick is the most important fundamental of football
Taking shots on goal is something that every player loves to do. If there’s a ball and a soccer goal nearby a players first instinct is to shoot. They don’t want to work on passing, trapping or conditioning. Everybody loves to shoot and everyone loves to score. There are certain sequence of events that must be executed in order to have a successful and powerful strike

But considering variables and variations players can apply (conscious of them or not) I’ll go deeply into the fundamentals of ball striking and paticulary the most important one, the Instep

What is the Instep?
The first question that must be answered before attempting to teach the instep kick to players is, what is the instep kick?
Most beginners know where the sole, inside, and outside of the foot are, but many do not know what is meant by the instep. In fact, initial failure in learning this kick may be due to this simple lack of understanding. Basically, the instep is the small circular bone jutting out of your foot

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Still aren’t sure?
Place your intex finger on your big toe, then with your sole flat on the ground point your toes straight up in the air, to make all your metatarsals more indented in your skin, then guide your finger up your big toes main metatarsal until you reach a rather large bump (you honestly can miss it) rub around it for a while to make sure, and get used to its feel and position… That is your instep

Body Orientation

Lean
Your lean is directly in relation to your Swing and Support Foot position, both of which we’ll read more into later, You will notice in particular the lean of your body is important, not just your vertical lean but your horizontal lean aswell

Vertical leaning
Now in most circumstances (excluding, free kicks) your first instinct when shooting should be hard and low, Later on I’ll get into the reasoning behind this, but for now lets pretend in a perfect world all low shots end in a goal

The position of your supporting foot and the way you lean both make an impact on the height of your kick by influencing the position of your kicking knee

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The position of your knee (at the moment of contact) relative to the ball determines to a large degree the height or trajectory of your kick. As you can see from the above diagram, if the knee of your kicking leg is behind the ball, your swing will be directed up. Be careful not to force your knee ahead of the ball or you may plow your kicking foot in the ground.
So moral of the story, your vertical lean directly influences your knee snap, which in turn dictates the elevation of your shot, experiment with this concept to learn the optimal for the optimal elevated strikes

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As you can see Pele’s knee snaps behind the ball leading to instant elevation (note that his head is still down nearly over the ball, but his body is leaning back, which is perfect technique)

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Where in this pic we can see that the White Pele is leaning over the ball and his knee will snap straight over the ball (the weird positioned support foot is because Wazza is shooting from an angle, so he has to swivel while shooting)

Horizontal Leaning
This is nearly more important than vertical leaning, as this dictates the swing path of your foot and without the correct horizontal lean, you will only be kicking a divot of turf

The most important fundamental of horizontal leaning is getting your arm out for balance, but this can also help get an good reference to how far your lean should be. Remember:
The arm opposite to your striking foot should be outstretched and parallel with the ground

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Arms
As I mentioned earlier, the role of the arms in kicking is primarily to maintain the balance of the body

The arms (in particular the opposite arm from the striking foot) are usually extended out to the sides of the body during the forward motion of the kicking leg, to help to keep the center of gravity over the support foot, thus leading to a steady equilibrium and this causes you to lean sideways slightly to maintain that centre of gravity. As the kicking foot contacts the ball, the opposite arm moves forward and upward across the body to help keep the torso down and the body in balance.

Head
An often overlooked aspect of striking technique (especially low shots)
There is always a massive urge to look up and admire your shot or even worse look up and admire your target while shooting. But unfortunately you shouldn’t have this luxury, when shooting it is important to keep focused on your feet and keeping your head down and steady the whole way through the kicking motion (including the follow through), Keeping your head down during the shot is an important step in keeping your body over the ball, So remember to keep that head down and watch your foot make contact. There is plenty of time to look at the target after the ball sails into the back of the net.

Support Leg
Now we have touched on this concept earlier
While paying particular attention to the lean, the support foot is the only contact point with the ground for the duration of contact, so it is the pillar for your bodys weight and balance, and like I said earlier it is vital that a correct lean means your centre of gravity is over your support foot
Lots of things come into play when you consider, but the main thing to remember is Swing Path

This is the journey your striking leg takes when swinging for the ball and it should always be clean and comfortable
The supporting foot is the biggest contributing factor to the direction of your swing path, and when it comes to your support foot the most important thing is

Positioning
The power of your shot comes from how quick you contract and swing your leg (not how hard you try hit the ball) so your support foot must be well positioned to give it a clean swing path.
When your positioning your support foot there are two things you have to consider

-Lateral Distance
This is the distance your foot is place beside the ball, how near or far it is away from your foot, This is essential for a powerful and accurate contact, because everyone has an natural swing path, the easiest way to find this is stand straight with your feet in line with your pelvis and just swing your foot forward and backward, that is your natural swing path and your feet should be that far apart when kicking
Any closer and you’ll tend to contact more with the side of your heel than your instep or too far and you’ll end up hitting your toes

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As you can see from these frames everyone has their natural swing path and use different distances for support foot placement depending on their preferences
These frames shows that (despite popular belief) gluing your support foot next to the ball isn’t a very efficient technique

-Vertical Distance
The placement of your supporting leg is extremely important when determining the contact of your shot. The most important reference point, is the point of contact with your foot (usually your instep) should be the refence of positioning on your support foot (eg. You should try keep your support foot instep in alignment with the centre of the ball, for most shots)… Now check out these diagrams, the first being when your instep is infront of the ball, the second when your instep is in line and the third is when your instep is behind the ball

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As you can observe from these diagrams, the further back or forward your support foot then higher or lower the shot will be respectively, but a main point to remember is, POWER DOES NOT COME FROM VERTICAL DISTANCE, is you have your support foot behind the ball you can still get a very powerful shot if your lateral distance and lean are correct
The effect of the support foot placement is very similar to the effect leaning has on shot, that’s is largely because the two are intricately related (when your put your foot behind the ball, you lean back instinctively so you don’t go off balance and tumbling over)

Swing
Your leg swing is all about power, A third of the power of your shot comes from how quick you contract and swing your leg, the other two thirds are divided into, follow through and intial action (ie. The speed of the ball before contact or the speed of your body before contact)
The skillful soccer player produces high ball velocity by maximizing angular velocities of the thigh and calf (the speed of your knee snap). Well you might say, too much power is bad, I like going with accuracy in kicking have been the highest when the velocity of the ball has been 80 % of the maximal velocity

The faster you perfom the shot, the more powerful will be the shot. The most important stage of shooting you have to perform fast is a full knee snap (the part when when you pull your kicking foot back from the knee, and then back forward to hit the ball

Your knee snap is largely determined by your drawback (retraction of your leg) this is potential energy, so the further back is goes the more potential energy there is in the elastic muscle fibres
As you begin to swing forward, your thigh is contacting at lightning speed while your calf is still, that’s why its important to build up big thigh muscles, this step is when your thighs build up forward velocity and momentum
Next your thigh slows to almost a halt (this is at the point of contact) and a very rapid snap of your calf releases all of its potential energy into kinetic energy, and almost straight away this energy is transferred to the ball (this is also the second you should lock your ankle for)
After that your calf slows again and your thig speeds up and continues its arc upward into a follow through, that’s why its important to follow through correctly or your risk damaging your hip flexors, groin and hamstings (the muscles that have to absorb the velocity if your bodies momentum, or in other words, your follow through doesn’t release it)

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This is a good example of slow motion contraction
The moment you lose most energy is when you slow your leg down as it changes direction (after retraction and transition to extenstion) in terms of technique, you need to combine the retraction (concentric contraction) and extension (eccentric contraction) into one fluid motion. You can practice that through repetition or without a ball through plyometric exercises to increase the elastic quality of your muscles

The momentum of the kicking foot and leg is the product of the mass of the leg (how much potential energy is stored aka how big the muscles are) and the velocity of the foot at impact (the elastic quality of the muscles), plus the velocity of the body as the player approaches the ball. The greater the mass of the leg, and the greater the velocity of the foot at impact, the greater the resultant velocity of the ball at impact. But most importantly the tension of the ankle (locking your ankle) determines how effective the application point of the force is. The acceleration of the kicking leg, and the resultant velocity at impact, is determined by the muscle forces being applied by the kicker. It has been reported that the speed of the ball at impact was directly related to the measured strength of the kicker

Contact
The first step to contacting the ball is make sure that your ankle is locked, Take off your shoes and socks and sit and grab yourself a towel from the closet. Lay the towel down flat on the floor and try and grip the towel using just your toes (if you are at a field you can also do this by trying to pick grass).Do you feel how your toes are curling downward to try and pick the towel up? That is what I mean by locking your ankle. If your curl your toes like that when you shoot you are adding a very firm and solid lever to strike the ball with

Next most important is contact of the foot, we located your instep earlier and that should be your reference point, it is the hardest and most focused area of mass on your foot, so it delivers the most accuracy and power

For now while were dealing with the basics, you must try to always hit the ball with no spin, so this means contacting the ball right in the centre
No spin, means no air resistance, which slows down the ball, I’ll get more into that later

Mastering shooting with your instep is very important, since this part of your foot will give you the most power to transfer into your shots.
By striking the ball with your instep, you can perform the full body motion and leg extension to give your shot maximum power
Aside from all the theory in shooting, contact with the ball relies on 2 things

A solid surface of contact
The more ridgid the contact area, the more energy that can be transferred into the ball, a locked ankle is the perfect example, a badly locked ankle will result your ankle absorbing a lot of the power and can result in injury

A large contact area
The more mass in the area of contact, the more power that can be transferred into the ball, the biggest and best contact point is the instep, You can successfully use many other parts of your body, but your instep is the best one
Generally, a men's 9 1/2 shoe size is considered the maximum shoe size where the instep is in line with the center of a size 5 ball. After that you will have to lean sidewards and change your instep presentation

Follow Through
The follow through is a very complex issue
The most important thing about it is you use it to put your body through the ball
As you need to know, power comes from mass put into the ball
And your body weights a lot more than just your leg, so if add that to your shot you can add up to 25-30mph to your shot

The follow through is a very important part of the shot. As you swing through the ball your knee should function like a swinging pendulum and should continue to follow through in the swinging motion

-After contact you want to land on your kicking foot
Now this is important, When landing on your kicking foot, that does not mean you have to hop! It means you must transistion your bodyweight smoothly through the ball via your kicking leg, so basically after kicking you must land on your kicking leg first, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hop, but merely learn to keep your kicking foot low to the ground and land on it

Watch closely at an example of smooth transistion
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Here Ronaldo hops, but he still has a smooth transistion
Remember you should never force a hop, if it happens it happens, it usually only a neat and smooth skip (as Ronaldo shows)

-Next you must walk through the ball
This encourages you to put your weight through the ball, this should be drilled into you until it becomes second nature, this is simply allowing momentum to carry you forward a few metres after you contact the ball, simply walking
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Your follow through is very important when it comes to ball effects, because the direction of follow through determines the contact and distribution of force on the ball, I will go into it more in the ball effects section, you can produce the small extra velocity by rotational movement of the support leg.
The mastering of the biomechanical principles of movement
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When striking a straight shot it's more important to drive your kicking foot in the direction of your target. To ensure that your ankle is moving straight through the ball without lateral or vertical deviation, you ought to examine the knee of your kicking foot. Concentrate on its height relative to the floor and make sure it's moving directly towards your target.
If you want to produce a low, hard shot, for example, you would follow through by moving your entire body forward. This way you ensure that your ankle isn't rising or deviating while driving it through the ball. On harder kicks, you may end up hopping forward and landing on your kicking foot.

Approach
The approach should always be in to the side of the ball, this opens up your hips and gives you balance, you generally generate power via momentum in your run up, as you know power comes from how much velocity and weight you put into the kicking motion.
The law of the lever comes into play, greater ball speed can be generated in the angled approach because there is increased hip rotation (drawback of the thigh) and the extended leg (after the knee snap) provides a longer lever, so the rotating hip encourages your body weight to be put into the shot and gives your leg enough room to have a fully extended swing. As displayed in the picture
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The option of an approach will not always be available in pressure situations like 1v1’s (That’s why I put it last), but it is best to practice with an approach of 2-3 steps when learning technique

Training
Heres a technique few drills you can do by just shooting from roughly 15 yards from a goal and concentrating on the guidelines listed in each drill

Drill 1
Walk Through and Weight Distribution

1. Aim for no spin on the ball (See Contact)
2. Contact with instep (See Contact)
3. Walk Through towards target after contact (See Follow Through)

This prevents injuries (especially groin injuries) as you get older because you get into the habit of using your body and its mass (your weight) to generate power in your kicking, not your leg

Drill 2
Body Position For Maximum Power

1. Feel The power position with both feet
2. Push with the toes pointed, core firm and shoulders back
3. Hold your body position in a straight line in relation to your foot and your head

Drill 3
Half Volley 45degrees

1. Think of running through the ball – following along the line of the ball
2. Kicking foot should go down on the ground straight after impact
3. Follow through with extra steps toward target
4. Approach 45degrees to target line to give player room

The 45 degree approach are to asure that the hips are open just before impact, so that the body can recruit a bigger muscle group to apply power

Drill 4
Subconcious Follow Through

1. Focus is to get to the cone at least 3-4 yards past the striking zone
2. Kicking foot down to get to cones as fast as possible
3. Get weight over the ball and through to target in one motion (hit and through in a fluid movement)
4. Fast repeats allows subconscious (uncomplicated) learning

Speedy transition between shooting and forward movement develops your habit for weight transition in shooting

Performance Problems
After young athletes are able to simulate the movements of the instep kick, a variety of control problems will be evident. The following is a list of frequent performance results and their probable causes. Insight into these relationships will be helpful in diagnosing and correcting performance problems

Ball kicked into the ground
This is caused by a placement of the support foot too far forward with respect to the ball. Contact is made with the instep, but on the downward swing of the leg resulting in the ball being compressed between the ground and foot

Ball spin
This may or may not be a desirable result. It depends upon the intent of the kick, But for the start of this guide were trying to avoid spin One cause of the lateral ball spin is off-center instep contact with the ball. A second cause of lateral ball spin is a glancing kick

Slow ball speed
Final ball velocity depends upon several factors. There are, however, three primary determinants in ball velocity

-If the hip of the kicking leg is not fully extended prior to support foot placement, subsequent leg swing velocity will be reduced. This extension (or cocking) of the hip allows greater distance for the leg to increase its velocity on the forward swing, it stretches the muscles which cross the hip to facilitate their contraction and recoil of the leg, and permits greater rotation of the hip

-If the supporting leg flexes excessively during foot plant, the velocity of the kicking leg will be reduced. On the other hand, a firm supporting leg "blocks" the forward motion of its hip and increases the velocity of the swing leg

-Improper coordination and sequencing of movements in the kick will reduce possible ball velocity. The order of events in the kicking leg are:

Hip extension (when your draw your leg back)

Hip rotation (planting of support foot)

Forward swing of the thigh (swing)

Forward swing of the shank (knee snap)

Each of these movements should increase the velocity of the subsequent segment resulting in maximum velocity at the foot just prior to impact with the ball. The action of the leg should be like a whip "snapped" at the ball

Instep Presentation
Often the instep technique is mistaken as some other form of technique, due to the Instep presentation or ball effect
Remember looks can be deciving

Here are a few example of instep contacts
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We will deal with the ball effects notion later, but as for presentation, depending on the position of the ball and the type of shot you want to execute, your instep presentation will vary

Straight
This is when your ankle is locked and your toes are pointing toward the ground, this if often used in volleys and instep drive shots, generally a power shot, when your open up your hips and concentrate on putting your foot through the ball to get maximum velocity, this shot is usually very powerful because you fully extend your leg in a straight line, but usually at the sacrifice of percision
When your foot is like this the contact area is much bigger and is often referred to as striking with your laces instead of just the instep bone
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Curved
This is when you see players hitting what seems to be very powerful sidefooted shots at times, but in reality they contact with their instep, but since its very hard to accurately hit lower parts of the ball or controlled contact (instead of lashing at the ball) you have to present your instep in a different way
You ankle will usually still be locked, but instead of your toes pointing downward, your sole should be pointing downward
This is a lot more difficult to execute correctly because the contact area is reduced to just your instep (not your laces) but the precision and effects you can apply is very much worth it
This often used when curling, taking set pieces and finishing from moderate distances
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Biomechanics
Biomechanics is the science of mechanical movements of living objects, this is often used in sports science to determine what makes things happen the way they do in sports, not everyone will find this section that interesting, but I will put it in for those that will read it
I can’t take credit for most of this material, because it is excerpts from other peoples articles and books just simplifiyed

The Mental Conquest

Visualisation
Mental training can play a vital role when it comes to improving kicking technique and one of the most important training methods is visualisation, which involves running through the performance of skill in the mind.
For this to be most effective, the skill should be practised at real speed
Then visualised at lower speeds, it can ‘pattern’ this skill in the brain at a lower velocity (the body learns to execute the skill, but only at lower speeds) hence mixed with phyisical practice development is fast
When visualising kicking, you should find a quiet spot, relax and run through it in your mind in varying conditions and states of fatigues (eg. a penalty taker could visualise slotting the ball home in the wind and rain, in front of a TV audience of millions and against Peter Cech for example.

To aid visualisation a ‘script’ can also be made. Basically, this is a set of instructions that the player runs through repeatedly in their mind as they visualise the kicking action. (You often see players carrying these out in real situations, watch Jhonny Wlikonson or Ronaldo take a penalty)
Here is an example that could be used to support the visualisation used by a penalty taker:
-I will place the ball calmly and securely on the spot
-I will look at the goalkeeper to assess his position, inhale, and turn around and walk back nine steps
-As I do this, I will breathe out and remind myself of where I am going to place the ball
-I will pause, turn towards the goal, and look at where I am going to place the ball
-I will see the ball going into the net where I want it
-I will breathe in and slowly out before I start my run
-I will start my run
-I will strike the ball cleanly with my instep, placing the ball to the left of the keeper, low and hard into the corner
-I will not lift my head or eyes until the ball is on its way into the back of the net.

Focus Phase
Deciding where to place the ball before striking it is crucial, as is where and how you actually look when you strike the ball.
Japanese researchers considered the latter in regard to short and long instep kicks.
Players were asked to aim at a target, the top three scorers were defined as the ‘high-score group’ (HSG)
The three low scorers were defined as the ‘low-score group’ (LSG).

Analysis indicated that:
-The HSG was characterised by longer ‘quiet eye’ durations (constant focus gaze) on the target prior to kicking;
-The LSG spent less (quiet eye) time focusing of the target prior to kicking;
-The HSG score group kept their eyes down for longer when they struck the ball, specifically keeping focused on a point between the ball and target.
What this confirms is the more time you spend concentrating on the point target and the point of contact during the ‘’focus phase’’ before a shot, the more coordinated your biomechanic movements will be

Distance Shooting
When shooting from execssive distances (30-40 yards), a group of amaturs were tested and it was found they hit the ball very hard and high, so well infact that it goes over the bar or skews sidewards
Then when a group of five semi professionals were asked to reproduce the same action, they struck the ball at a much lower trajectory and a lot more central

When examined, two things were observed
-The amaturs mostly contacted the ball lower down and leaned back more to get height
-The amaturs were very tensed in there approach and they exerted a lot of strenght into there kicking

In conclusion, the semi-pros were more relaxed and swung naturally at the ball, not overly tense, this resulted in accuracte contact and a smooth kicking motion

They also struck the ball a lot nearer the centre, when asked about this, one replied “When you are far out, you naturally lean back and put your leg through it in hope it just reaches the goal at all, but you end up with a very high and slow shot, I imagine the goal is 20 yards closer and I’m trying to drill the ball at the ball at the roof of the net, so I put the same power and keep it lower and more of a danger”

Method of Muscles
Kicking in football is a relatively easy series of rotational movements.
The aim of these movements when kicking is to begin a chain of energy connected via body parts that collectively influences the speed of the foot at the moment of contact

As you can see with your waist-line as a pivot, when kicking your really thrust your upper body forward and your leg through the ball for maximum power
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If you imagine the second you begin your run up your are like a cable and you need to pass electricity through you to the ball, if it starts at your waist in the run up, as you approach the ball, it is vital you have a large final step to create a high hip rotation and fast knee snap
And just as importantly it is vital you follow through with your full bodyweight

Ball Effects
This is really what makes football, more specifically goals and even more specifically free kicks, so beautiful
When struck right the ball will do amazing things, and the biggest contributer to this is ball spin

All in the Spin
In the early 1950s a young Brazilian midfielder nicknamed Didi invented the swerving free kick. He realised that a ball kicked with spin would curl significantly in flight.
Not until a ball with a synthetic, impermeable surface was introduced in the 1960s could the technique catch on. European players then became as adept as their Brazilian masters and a long line of expert free-kickers stretches from Didi to the present day. It took the modern science of fluid dynamics to understand exactly what happens in a swerving free kick. When a football moves through the air at low speed the air flow separates from its surface at separation points

In this picture, the ball is travelling at lower than 12kph to the left, the air is flowing smoothly over the balls surface and at around the centre line the air is separating from the balls surface, after this moment the air behind the ball gets disrupted and turbulent (in the same way as water gets turbulent behind a boat or the big white streak of turbulent air behind an aeroplanes engines) This disrupted air called a turbulent wake
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Every time turbulence occurs behind a ball it causes drag, the more turbulence (or the bigger the wake) the slower and more sluggish the ball becomes in the air
At speeds in excess of 12kph, the airflow becomes “tripped” and it clings a lot closer to the balls surface and separates later then usual, this is called tripping the boundary layer of airflow (this is caused by imperfections on the balls surface, usually the stitching) this is a unique alteration in the way the air flows across the balls surface, when the air trips in this way it is called the Laminar Flow Regime
Since the separation points occur earlier on then the low speed, the turbulent wake is a lot thinner and the drag is a lot lower as the below picture shows, most football actions are carried out in a pace well above the “tripping” threshold, so the game is quite pacey
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When the ball rotates during flight (spinning) the boundary layer remains tripped but the separation is distorted. Separation occurs earlier on the side rotating against the flow and later on the side rotating in the same sense as the flow (look at the below picture for a better understanding, this ball is spinning with backspin) This causes a force (the Magnus force) which is responsible for changing the balls direction in the air (By reducing air pressure in certain areas of the ball) like in a free kick for example
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When talking about pure power in a shot, spin is a bad thing, because it creates drag similar to turbulence which slows the ball down

Laminar Flow Regime
When the ball is in this “tripped” phrase, it is much more aerodynamically stable and much more responsive to ball spin

Most of the actions you see in football are in the LFR (Laminar Flow Regime)
But the ones we are gonna focus on are curling shots (freekicks more specifically because they are easier to study)
If you watch most of the current freekickers (Zidane, Beckham, Ronaldinho, Riquelmé or Henry) they hit the ball so it spins and with the aid of the Magnus Force curls beautifully into the net

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These types of freekicks are taken at around 70kph and they engage something called deflective contact
Deflective contact is when you purposely strike the ball off centre so it spins and has a curling trajectory

The Technique
Curling instep shots are the same as normal one but for a few key points

Firstly take note on your approach to the Ball shouldn’t be the same as with a normal instep shot, you must take into account the amount the trajectory the spin will cause the shot to change, as you can see the red shooter sruck the ball well initially but curl resulted in the ball hitting near the centre of the goal, where as the green shooter aimed for where he wanted the ball to start to go and let the curl take it to the goal
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Secondly instep presentation to the ball mostly will be the curved version as it offers most control on where you contact the ball (that’s why people often call it sidefooting when you curl the ball) but there will be special cases where you may use a straight instep presentation

Next most important is the contact of the ball, where you strike the ball alters how the ball moves, essentially imagine you are cutting slice out of and orange, the slice should be the part of the ball you made contact with
Next I will explain the different effects spin invokes
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The blue is where your foot should be contacting to create sidespin (this is a birds eye view of where you should contact the ball)
You should be contacting the blue closest to the middle then wrapping your foot around the ball and elongating contact to really “guide” the ball and create loads of spin

Sidespin (Inside)
Inside curl (curling in the direction of your big toe) is usually struck with a curved instep presentation and you should be striking the side of the ball furthest away from your support foot with your instep with a much more exaggerated follow through across your body for extra spin, it usually helps to have your support foot closer to the ball since you are hitting the outer side of the ball
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Sidespin (Outside)
Outside Curl (curling in the direction of your little toe) is usually struck with a straight instep presentation as you will find it a lot easier to hit the ball with your laces and make decent contact, you should be striking the side of the ball closest to your support foot with your instep with a very exaggerated follow through across your body for extra spin, you should be slicing the side of the ball nearly to get as much spin as possible

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You should be hitting the ball low for topspin or backspin (presuming you are coming in on the left of the picture to strike the ball)
You follow through is what gives the ball special effects
Next I will explain the different effects each of these forms of spin invoke

Topspin
Fast and powerful dip (Spinning away from your body) is the most difficult of all spinning techniques to consistently execute, but it has devastating effects
It can be struck with either of the instep presentations (whichever suits you, so go experiment) the contact point on the ball should be low down and your foot should be following through upwards (by stopping the forward motion of your foot and bringing your knee upward instead) to get the slicing effect which will give it appropriate topspin
This is best explained by this diagram
Image
As you can see, the low contact point (the red) is important, but if your follow through upward the force passes above the core and the slicing effect results in topspin on the shot, without the correct follow through you will end up getting backspin, which has the opposite effect to topspin (wicked dip in most cases)

Take a look at how Beckham gets right under the ball, but he will follow through upward and get massive topspin
Image

And you can see Ronaldo does the same
Image

Backspin
Slow and looping lofted kicks (Spinning toward your body) are most commonly used in long passes and long distance lobbed efforts
It is best struck with a curved instep
You should be hitting the ball below the centre line to give it height and to increase height and spin you should really lean back

Backspin causes the ball to hang in the air longer (because the ball rises, even though it slows down) but it also can add 15% to the distance, so for long slow shots or passes, backspin shots are usually the best option

Image
Lastly take note that the faster the ball travels the more responsive to ball spin it becomes, until it reaches high speeds and enters the Turbulent Flow Regime

Turbulent Flow Regime
The Laminar Flow Regime stretches from about 12kph to 70kph, if a ball is struck in excess of 70kph it enters a new stage of flight, the Turbulent Flow Regime

In the Turbulent Flow Regime, the ball is simply travelling faster than 70kph and the boundary layer of air (that flows around the airs surface) becomes a lot more turbulent, strangely enough the amount of drag on the ball further reduces and this leads to a increase in speed, although another noticeable effect is that the ball becomes very unresponsive to ball spin

You will sometimes notice some shots that start off with very little or no spin that seemingly just randomly begin to spin and swerve very drastically halfway through flight, most famously Cristiano Ronaldos shots

This is down to the ball being struck solidly at a speed greater than 70kph where spin is very unresponsive and travels at great speed with no (or very slow) spin for roughly 10 metres
Next air resistance takes effect, which significantly slows the ball down to the Laminar Flow threshold and since the ball is moving quickly with spin (even though its very slow) it acts very responsively and quickly (hence how fast and sudden the dip or swerve is)

Watch this closely and you will see all this happen in sequence (no spin, slow spin, then swerve)
Image

These types of shots are struck with the instep! Want proof?
Image
Credit Dou Dou

The secret to hitting shots like this is contacting solidly through the centre of the ball so you get a high powered shot, then altering your follow through to give it that bit of spin that so often fools goal keepers
Heres an example
Image

You want to strike the ball centrally but follow through, upward and as near to the core of the ball to create the steady spinning but high speed motion
Image
Exact same to the first topspin drive diagram, just with much more force, which often leads to a non spinning first 10m and suddenly the ball just crashes to earth

Heres an example, as you can see Ronaldo gets right under the ball but then gets up through the centre ball
Image
This still shows you he gets right under the ball
Image
So in order to shoot like Ronaldo you simply do a proper instep drive and utilize the effects of Turbulent Flow to beat keepers and walls
Image

Knuckle Shot
Occasionally in Baseball pitchers serve up a wicked delivery known as the "knuckleball". This serve bobs about randomly in flight and is very disconcerting for batters. It happens because pitchers throw the ball with no little spin at a high speed in the turbulent flow regime (lower speed usually than a football kick, but the reason why it works is because there are a lot less seams on a baseball to ‘trip’ the boundary layer so it enters the laminar and in turn the turbulent flow regime at a much lower speed)
So as the air flows turbulently over the balls surface in the TFR (Turbulent Flow Regime) it quickly slows to the LFR (Laminar Flow Regime) and this causes whichever the air so happens to be passing though random ‘trip’ as the air trys to grip the ball, which causes a quick direction change followed by another ‘trip’ as a different set of seams rotate into the air flows force

As the ball slows further, is if it’s a slightly imperfect (off centre contact) kick, the ball may begin to spin slightly, but still has a deadly effect, once it reaches this stage the ball becomes very susceptible to air resistance and usually dips very quickly near the end of its flight
Watch this closely and you can see, the ball is still until it reaches the wall then it has a slight wobble (as it enters the LFR and ‘trips’) then followed by a much larger swerve to the left, followed by a further change in velocity and the dip, this is probably the closest you’ll ever get to seeing the perfect knuckle shot
Image
Credit DouDou

From a technique point of view you are simply hitting the ball with the perfect instep drive, all you have to do is strike it perfectly in the centre of the ball with your foot and continue to put all the force of your body into by following through in a straight line (as if your chasing after the ball)
Image

The contact zone of the shot is tiny and usually to strike it correctly people use a reference point on the ball, most commonly the valve, to concentrate on attempting to hit to save you the dilemma of wondering ‘where is the middle?’
This has evolved into a myth that if you strike the ball on the valve you will get this wonderful effect

Other Techniques
Now most importantly the instep drive is by far the most useful and important kicking style you should learn, but once you have mastered that there are a few other kicking styles you can add to your armoury

Side Footing
This is very basic, simply hitting the ball with the arch of your foot, it is often used in 1v1 situations or for short passes because of its high level of accuracy
But there will be seldom occasions where you could deploy a defence splitting pass with this technique, which I will get into more in the Passing section
I won’t get into much more detail bout this, because you could easily learn this by yourself

Trivela
Quaresma has made this style of kicking very famous, it is simply striking the ball with the outside of your foot for outside spin, it isn’t always as consistent as the instep technique but it can be amazingly stylish and effective when it does come off

Image
If you watch this closely you can see how Quaresma snaps his knee as a normal shot, but his foot presentation is completely different, as you can see he contacts the ball with the whole outside of his foot

Image
You should follow through in the exact same fashion as a normal instep kick (not across your body, but straight forward and let momentum take you to the side)

The Trivela is the exact same as a normal instep kick just you are contacting the ball with the outside surface of your foot

Chipping
In almost all shooting situations chipping is only used to lift the ball over the keepers head into an exposed net, there are three variations

Close Range
These types of chips are all about getting the ball high above the keepers head and back down again over a short distance, this is best done with a lot of topspin on a shot hit vertically upwards instead of forward, so two things you will need to do is get under the ball (for the vertical trajectory) and flick your toes upwards at the moment of contact (So you get slow ball speed and high backlift)
Image

Medium Range
These chips are a lot simpler and easier to execute its just about recognizing an opportunity, all you need is a shot that gets a lot of height very quickly but will carry a few meters so it reaches the goal quickly so you can expose a keeper rushing out to confront you at the 18 yard box
This is best done by again getting right under the ball so it goes high, but maybe no foot motion after contact to add backspin, just so it stays in the air for that extra second
Image

Long Range
Chips like these are a lot harder to execute due to the huge degree of accuracy versus power required, but the best advice is you are trying to make the ball reach the goal in the air, it doesn’t have to be in the top corner just high and quickly, we will presume you are attempting this type of shot from roughly the half-way line, you will need to approach the ball like a standard instep drive and simply get right under the ball with power, which will give it backspin and make it hang in the air for those few extra yards
Image

Part II
Last edited by NewBornProdigy on 02 Aug 2009, 12:00, edited 7 times in total.

NewBornProdigy
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Post by NewBornProdigy » 10 May 2009, 15:35

This is an updated version of an old guide i made that i didn't like!
See it here

Any critisim or praise feel free to post!
This guide was too big ass to fit in one topic so I split it into two!
Don't forget to follow the link at the bottom for part two!
Also give the Gif's about 15 mins to load

EDIT:
I forgot I should thank the following people for there help aswell (some may not even know they did)
expert
MUFC1994
mint
Dou Dou
klc123
CroationBlood1
Rome_Leader
Flyingmoose
Kakasgotskillz
CR7RonaldoCR17 (Soccerpulse)
ladelm 2 (Soccerpulse)
Mr. Plow
My mom
Her mom
My dad
Chuck Norris

and... fu** it...
Mancheda

KoNJa04
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Post by KoNJa04 » 10 May 2009, 19:19

NewBornProdigy wrote: I forgot I should thank the following people for there help aswell (some may not even know they did)
expert
MUFC1994
mint
Dou Dou
klc123
CroationBlood1
Rome_Leader
Flyingmoose
Kakasgotskillz
CR7RonaldoCR17 (Soccerpulse)
ladelm 2 (Soccerpulse)
Mr. Plow
My mom
Her mom
My dad
Chuck Norris

and... fu** it...
Mancheda


hahah
and btw i never knew that your arms are just as important as your legs in the sport (the paragraph by the becks pic) once again this post will really help me.

btw again some of those vids are slow... maybe you have to many of them. maybe they just didnt buffer...
Image

If you desire that life then pursuit it.. end of story.. no buts, no hypothetical situations, no what ifs.. you want something go get it ..
~~Panchester07

klc123
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Post by klc123 » 10 May 2009, 22:53

10/10. Your guides have come a long way from when you first joined, you've definately got my respect lol. Good job, keep it up.

RisenFromDeath
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Re: Ball Striking Guide

Post by RisenFromDeath » 11 May 2009, 11:38

Man r u free all the day
Coz makin such giant guides takes a sh*t lot of time
It's awesome .11 out of 10 is its rating
:D

Croatianblood1
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Location: New York, USA

Post by Croatianblood1 » 15 May 2009, 13:41

Damn, NPB this guide is perfect. Plenty of detail and great use of visuals. I think its safe to say you are the best guide-writer on EF. You put alot of detail into these posts. Great job. :D

Lol, I remember practicing and trying to hit the ball like Roberto Carlos did in that freekick vs France back in '97. I never knew about the "Turbulent Flow Regime" and how the ball must be hit in excess of 70kph in order to achieve such flight in the air. Looks like I'm gonna have to power up my shot a bit more :wink: :D
Image

NewBornProdigy
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Post by NewBornProdigy » 15 May 2009, 16:59

I remember practicing and trying to hit the ball like Roberto Carlos did in that freekick vs France back in '97. I never knew about the "Turbulent Flow Regime" and how the ball must be hit in excess of 70kph in order to achieve such flight in the air. Looks like I'm gonna have to power up my shot a bit more
I'll be honest I'm not 100% sure that speed is correct, I remember when I was researching that theory I might have mixed up kph with mph, but I think kph sounds most realistic (Its done by a dude called Ken Bray, who goes really deep into things like fluid dynamics to work out sports physics)

But thats the reason Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos have such a low success rate but when the score its amazing
Because your powering the ball with accuracy and swerve
btw again some of those vids are slow... maybe you have to many of them. maybe they just didnt buffer...
Just refresh the page if they don't load after 20mins
10/10. Your guides have come a long way from when you first joined, you've definately got my respect lol. Good job, keep it up.

hahah
and btw i never knew that your arms are just as important as your legs in the sport (the paragraph by the becks pic) once again this post will really help me.

Man r u free all the day
Coz makin such giant guides takes a sh*t lot of time
It's awesome .11 out of 10 is its rating
Cheers guys, anymore response will be welcomed

klc123
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 16:26

Post by klc123 » 16 May 2009, 13:37

We'd make a good player if we were one Newborn lol ;) Your shooting and my dribbling, would be like the next pele lmao.
Thats the weakest aspect of my game i think, my instep shooting, i can finish really well in one on ones with the inside of my foot, but when it comes to driving from range with my instep i just fail completely lol...

I think my biggest problem is not actually hitting with the instep, because when i shoot alot of the time it hits the joint of my big toe, which isn't good i dont think. Do you have to hit the ball with that lump that sticks out? or is anywhere along that metertarsal ok? because i always stub my toes when i try and hit it with the bump, because although i have small feet (size 7 for someone 6 ft tall lol) my bump seems quite high up my foot, maybe i need to lean more or something, any advice would be appriciated lol. Ive started stretching my ankles every day aswel so i can my foot as flat to the rest as my leg as possible lol.

NewBornProdigy
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Post by NewBornProdigy » 16 May 2009, 13:56

klc123 wrote:We'd make a good player if we were one Newborn lol ;) Your shooting and my dribbling, would be like the next pele lmao.
Thats the weakest aspect of my game i think, my instep shooting, i can finish really well in one on ones with the inside of my foot, but when it comes to driving from range with my instep i just fail completely lol...

I think my biggest problem is not actually hitting with the instep, because when i shoot alot of the time it hits the joint of my big toe, which isn't good i dont think. Do you have to hit the ball with that lump that sticks out? or is anywhere along that metertarsal ok? because i always stub my toes when i try and hit it with the bump, because although i have small feet (size 7 for someone 6 ft tall lol) my bump seems quite high up my foot, maybe i need to lean more or something, any advice would be appriciated lol. Ive started stretching my ankles every day aswel so i can my foot as flat to the rest as my leg as possible lol.
The lump is a reference point, its anywhere near that, to low near your toes and you will just have bad technique or a bad shot

Mabye experiment with a different instep presentation (curved or straight) that might help massively, oh and your foot should never be perfectly perpendicular with the ground, you should always have it at an angle (via leaning away from the ball or changing your instep presentation) so your don't stub your toes and have a smooth clean swing path (again read the instep resentation part)

I hope you understand

cdcr7skills
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Post by cdcr7skills » 17 May 2009, 17:57

nothing else to say than:

BRILLANT!

*edit*
i noticed that you say chipping the ball is about topspin...
as far as i'm concerned: my chipping-shots do always have BACKspin... ;)
Last edited by cdcr7skills on 20 May 2009, 21:25, edited 1 time in total.

klc123
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Post by klc123 » 20 May 2009, 22:41

Your a little edgy on your topspin/backspin. Its not about where you strike the ball. Where you strike the ball determines which direction the ball goes in, like a snooker cue hitting a ball in a spot to make it go in the direction they want, its simple physics. Your follow through is what determines spin, Ie, if you hit the ball as far down as you possibly can, but leaned back so far that your foot was nearly going straight up, you would get a shot like ronaldos free kick against portsmouth, a very high arching topspin shot that dipped incredibly fast.

NewBornProdigy
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Post by NewBornProdigy » 22 May 2009, 17:44

klc123 wrote:Your a little edgy on your topspin/backspin. Its not about where you strike the ball. Where you strike the ball determines which direction the ball goes in, like a snooker cue hitting a ball in a spot to make it go in the direction they want, its simple physics. Your follow through is what determines spin, Ie, if you hit the ball as far down as you possibly can, but leaned back so far that your foot was nearly going straight up, you would get a shot like ronaldos free kick against portsmouth, a very high arching topspin shot that dipped incredibly fast.
Its more that I explained it bad lol
But the jist of what your saying is what I meant to write
*edit*
i noticed that you say chipping the ball is about topspin...
as far as i'm concerned: my chipping-shots do always have BACKspin...
I was mixing up topspin and backspin in those twom paragraphs, backspin is the important one

Cheers guys I'll edit out those two mistakes

NewBornProdigy
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Post by NewBornProdigy » 23 May 2009, 22:10

To add to the above I added a cool new Gif you guys might like
Medium Range
These chips are a lot simpler and easier to execute its just about recognizing an opportunity, all you need is a shot that gets a lot of height very quickly but will carry a few meters so it reaches the goal quickly so you can expose a keeper rushing out to confront you at the 18 yard box
This is best done by again getting right under the ball so it goes high, but maybe no foot motion after contact to add backspin, just so it stays in the air for that extra second
Image

MUFC1994
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Post by MUFC1994 » 06 Jul 2009, 15:53

Can a mod please make this a sticky or move it to featured articles....?

Great Guide NBP

It really helped me understand the technique of shooting.... and my shot has improved drastically since I read this.... :D
"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

NewBornProdigy
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Post by NewBornProdigy » 06 Jul 2009, 17:14

MUFC1994 wrote:Can a mod please make this a sticky or move it to featured articles....?

Great Guide NBP

It really helped me understand the technique of shooting.... and my shot has improved drastically since I read this.... :D
I would sticky it myself :D
(Cause i'm a cocky self obsessed bastard and all)
But stickies are disabled and the mods are waiting to see if they can get fixed

I personally would rather sticking it then moving this to the featured articles, because it would help alot more newcomers better that way

Although... Feel free to move it appropiately guys, thats just a personal opinion of mine that stickies are better than the featured articles

Oh and thats great to hear MUFC1994, I'm glad it helped you so much, it shows its doing its job

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