Soccer has rules, laws, and guidelines that keep the game sane and attractive like every other professional sport out there.
Also, the game has tactics that when followed and practiced by players will increase their performance and effectiveness on the pitch—which is always a plus to their team.
Soccer revolves around kicking the ball and the best tactics that can be applied when playing soccer are always centered around kicking the ball correctly either during passes, corner kicks, goal kicks, or even during penalties.
In all types of soccer, be it futsal, indoor soccer, beach soccer, or street soccer, making the right kicks is essential. A crucial kick taken wrongly can cost your team a trophy which is always heartbreaking especially when a team is in great need of a goal.
Taking correct kicks in soccer might seem easy, but it needs to be properly learned and practiced to perfection over time.
One of the ways to identify amateur soccer players is how they kick the ball. For example, you will often find them kicking the ball with their toes—professional soccer players do it sometimes too.
While this does not break any law of the game, it comes with severe consequences when you don’t do it correctly. Kicking the ball with the toes has led to defeats and injuries in the game of soccer.
So, is it right to kick a soccer ball with your toes? In this post, we will explore all the pros and cons as well as when you should and should not kick the ball with your toes.
Can You Kick a Soccer Ball with Your Toes?
Yes, the soccer ball can be kicked with your toes. In fact, so many soccer players adopt this technique while playing the game.
However, kicking the ball with the toes in association football makes it harder for you to control the ball. Inasmuch as the goalpost in association football is very wide, a goalie that positions properly makes it harder for a striker to find scoring space.
To counter this, strikers often have to bend the ball to the other extreme of the post or the top corners to make it harder for the goalies to reach the ball. It is hard or almost impossible to bend the ball when you kick with the toe.
Also, association football balls are usually hard and the cleats used in the game don’t have reinforced toe areas. The combination of these factors makes it easier for a soccer player to break his or her toes when they kick the ball with the toes.
In other soccer variations like futsal, kicking the ball with the toe is actually a good scoring strategy. The reason is that futsal goalposts are usually smaller than that of association football such that when some goalies stand it is hard to find a scoring space.
Therefore, futsal players usually rely on force rather than technique to get the ball beyond the goalkeeper’s reach. Although futsal balls are even harder than that of association football, their cleats have reinforced toe areas that keep their feet protected when they kick the ball with their toes.
In beach soccer, it is an entirely different scenario. Firstly, beach soccer balls are lighter than the rest of the soccer variations. Also, the pitch is covered with beach sand.
Like futsal, the goalpost in beach soccer is smaller than that of association football and beach soccer players will often rely on the use of force to get the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
It is important to mention that beach soccer players are not allowed to wear cleats. The game is played entirely barefoot. Therefore, kicking the ball with the toes can lead to injuries if not properly done—regardless of the fact that the balls are softer.
Also, kicking the ball wrongly with the toes in beach soccer may lead to throwing up a cloud of sand into the air which can enter your eyes or the eyes of your opponent and cause temporary vision loss.
Nevertheless, beach soccer players still make use of their toes frequently. Since the entire pitch is covered with sand which can slow down the ball when played low, beach soccer players will usually use their toes to raise the ball from the sand before hitting it hard with the top or side of their foot.
This is an important strategy that helps them to get the ball beyond the goalkeeper. If you are into association football, you should consider making use of other parts of your foot to kick the ball besides the toes if you want to score.
Below are some of the ways you can kick balls with different parts of your foot.
- Outside of the foot
Sometimes, the side of the foot is used to redirect the ball after a rebound. To achieve this, you need to kick the ball with the level portion of your foot. This technique is mostly used for accurate placement.
The outside of the foot is also good for taking shots and giving accurate passes, it is also used for bending the ball to the desired direction.
- Inside part of the foot
The inside of the foot helps you to shoot the ball to a far distance with adequate force, this part of the foot can also be used to navigate the ball while dribbling.
This is the favorite part of the foot used by soccer players trying to bend the ball over the wall during a free kick.
The heel and the side of the heels are vital parts of the foot used for making short passes, controlling balls, and can also be used for taking clean, stylish shots when you are close to the goal post.
It is a form of cheeky play that gets the fans going. It is usually hard for goalkeepers to stop balls played with the heels because they almost always come unexpectedly.
From Cristiano Ronaldo to Sadio Mane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, more soccer players are learning how to use their heels or the side of their heels to trick even the best goalkeepers.
The top of the foot is often referred to as the lace. This part of the foot is used when you want to drive the soccer ball low with maximum power.
It is also used when a player intends to drive home a shot from a long distance or for giving accurate long passes.
Why is it bad to kick a soccer ball with your toes?
Kicking the ball with the toes is usually very common among kids, young players, and amateur players. They usually kick balls with their toes as their instincts always push them into doing so especially when they are under pressure from opponent players.
In association football, you will most likely lose control of the balls or sustain injuries if you kick the ball with the toes. If you have been a soccer fan for half a decade, you must have seen instances where a soccer player gets the ball in the 18-yard box and balloons it over the bar.
This usually happens when you kick the ball with the toe. If your toe hits the underside of the ball, it is going to keep rising out of target. Below are a couple of cons associated with kicking the ball with the toe.
- Strained muscles due to no resistance to a player’s foot swing can be associated with toe-kicking. This happens when a player misses the ball and kicks the air.
- Placing the ball in an accurate position with the toes is very difficult because there is little or no control over the ball when shooting to score or passing the ball to a teammate.
- A fracture to the toe joints may occur when a player accidentally kicks the ground while trying to kick the ball.
- It is particularly bad to kick the ball with the toes if your cleats are too tight around the toes or you have long toenails. If you don’t end up with toe fractures, you may have to deal with bleeding toenails.
The goal of every soccer player should always be to avoid every possibility of injuries. Your worth and career growth are determined by how long you play on the pitch, not how long you watch from the bench.
How to stop kicking the ball with toes
Kicking the ball with the toes is a habit that can be curtailed over time, it only requires dedication and a lot of practice. A player can certainly overcome the instinct to use their toes after some time as long as they are willing enough to break the habit and do the right thing.
The following steps below will help you to overcome the urge to kick the ball with the toe—regardless of how intense the game may be.
1. Learn the ankle trick
The ankle trick is the first step for breaking the habit of kicking the ball with the toe. The steps involved include;
The player should place a ball on the ground next to the players’ kicking foot, this helps the player to kick the ball using the downward swing technique rather than the upward swing that occurs when the toes are used.
The player should swing the kicking leg behind the upper body, bending the other knee in a V-position at the same time to help shorten the leg.
Try to hit the ball using the inside of the foot.
The ankle should be locked as the player uses the metatarsal (biggest bone found in the foot) to kick the ball.
2. Learn to kick with the laces
The ball should be kept 3 steps away from the soccer player, and the player should stand erect with toes facing forward.
Plant the non-kicking foot beside the ball.
Swing the kicking leg back towards the hip level and also bend the knee on the non-kicking leg in a V-position.
Swing frontwards towards the ball making sure the toes are pointed downwards towards the ground.
The player should make use of the shoelace in hitting the ball, while doing this, the toes will be set under the ball.
All the above steps should be practiced slowly and continuously in order to get them right. All it takes to break any habit is consistent practice and patience.
When teaching children how to play without using their toes, you can play along with them and also constantly remind them to kick balls with their laces and not their toes.
You can also position children next to balls and play with them so they can properly initiate kicks using the upper part of their foot instead of their toes.
Are toe kicks allowed in soccer?
There are no laid down rules against the use of the toes in soccer. Therefore, it is legal and allowed in the game. In fact, there are times when a soccer player has no other option but to use the toes to reach the ball.
For example, when a player runs through the wings and crosses the ball into the 18-yard box, a striker running shoulder to shoulder may have to stretch fully and tap the ball into the net using the toes.
Inasmuch as kicking the ball with the toe is not prohibited in all variations of soccer, you will have to be careful on how you use this skill for your own safety and the safety of other soccer players.
For example, if you swing your leg too high and eventually miss the ball, you can end up planting your toes in the midsection of the opponent player which will earn you a red card.
Also, when the pitch is slippery from rain or snow, you risk losing your balance and falling to the ground.
Finally, there is always that possibility of hitting obstacles especially during a tense contest. Imagine kicking the vertical bars of the goalpost while trying to kick the ball or striking your toes on the ground.
Depending on the fitness of your soccer cleats, you may end up with bleeding or dark toenails. Besides the pain that you will have to contend with, such accidents can negatively affect your career.
In a highly competitive team where everyone is fighting to keep their starting spot, developing a toe injury or fracture may automatically take you out of the starting eleven if your replacement outperforms you.
In other soccer variations like beach soccer and futsal, the use of the toes can have a significant technical implication. In fact, most of the players in these soccer variations use their toes to pull off incredible shots to score goals.
Learning to be a professional soccer player involves a lot of time and training. Part of that training should focus on how to properly kick the ball including how to use different parts of the foot.
There are times when the use of the toes is the best option. However, those times are really limited. Due to the nature of the balls used in association football, the ball is likely going to spin out of your control when you kick it with your toes.
Ultimately, no one will penalize you for kicking the ball with the toe in soccer. In other soccer variations like beach soccer and futsal, you will have to learn the proper use of the toes to become an exceptional player.
Some people also ask if you can kick the ball with or without toenails. We have all the answers you need here.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!