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How Hard Do Soccer Players Kick? Surprising Answer

How Hard Do Soccer Players Kick? Surprising Answer

It is thrilling to watch soccer players kick the ball from one end of the pitch to another. However, that keeps some fans guessing how hard soccer players kick the ball.

Key Takeaways

  • Soccer players can kick as hard as 1,200 foot-pound force
  • The distance traveled by the soccer ball is often used to judge how hard the soccer player kicked the ball
  • On average, teen soccer players can kick the ball at 30 to 40 Mph while professional soccer players can send the ball flying at 70 to 80 Mph
  • Female soccer players usually have weaker shot power compared to male soccer players

Knowing how to kick the ball hard is a vital skill in soccer. It can help soccer players to score goals from impossible ranges as we have seen with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

What is even more surprising is that some soccer players kick harder than others, notwithstanding that they all go through a similar training routine. Well, the truth is that a lot of factors determine how hard a soccer player will kick the ball.

In some cases, the soccer player needs power to generate the right flight while in other cases, the technique is favored over power to hit the ball hard and accurately. Interestingly, no one was born with the skill to kick the ball hard.

Having a stronger kick is a skill that is nurtured for months or years through consistent training. While some soccer players can kick a ball faster than a car can accelerate, armature soccer players still pack a punch with their kicks.

If you have been wondering how hard soccer players kick or the fastest kick that has ever been recorded in history, we will tell you all about that below.

How hard do soccer players kick?

When it comes to how hard soccer players kick, the answer will be that it depends on the situation. There are times when soccer players are required to go for placement instead of power.

For example, during a counterattack when a player is one-on-one with the goalkeeper, in most cases, the goalkeepers will run out of their line to narrow the player’s space. Professional soccer players will prefer to go for placement in such a situation rather than power.

man kicks a ball into the goal

When soccer player chooses placement over power, they will rarely hit the ball hard. Rather, they will simply chip the ball by kicking under the ball to give it enough elevation to go over the goalkeeper and drop into the net afterward.

On the other hand, when a team gets a direct free kick outside the 18-yard box, the taker will likely combine force and placement to curl the ball around the wall and into the goal. In this case, he or she will hit the ball hard a little below the center to give it the elevation and force to evade the goalkeeper.

Putting numbers to it, it is estimated that a casual adult soccer player will kick the ball with as much as 1,000 foot-pound force. In contrast to that, a professional soccer player is estimated to kick the ball with about 1,200 foot-pound force.

The kicking force will be even higher among soccer players that have cautiously developed their kicking ability. How hard soccer players kick the ball is often evident in how far the ball travel.

When it comes to kicking the ball hard, one player that stands out in the history of soccer is Ronny Heberson. He holds the record for having the hardest soccer kick that sent the ball traveling at 131 mph (211 km/h).

Ronny Heberson Furtado de Araujo | Top 5 Free Kick Goals | 2012-2014

The former Brazilian midfielder’s kick against Associacao Naval de Maio in 2006 made it to the Guinness Book of Records—and still holds that position to this day.

The next fastest kick by Arjen Robben was still far away at 118 mph (190 km/h). On average, youth soccer players can kick the ball as fast as 30 to 40 Mph while professional soccer players can kick the ball at an average of 70 to 80 Mph.

Female soccer players usually don’t kick the ball as hard as their male counterparts. On average, female soccer players send the ball flying at about 60 to 70 Mph—but experienced female soccer players often achieve 75 Mph.

Other factors such as the weight and material of the soccer ball can affect how hard soccer players kick. Harder soccer balls will be harder to kick and will travel shorter distances because of their weight.

Factors that affect how hard soccer players kick

Ronaldo are trying to kick the soccer ball

While environmental factors like wind speed can affect how hard soccer players kick the ball, the bulk of the responsibility lies on the soccer player. If you are struggling with kicking the soccer ball far, it is likely because you are missing out on a few key techniques.

If the ball is in the right shape and pressure, you are wearing the right soccer cleats, using your dominant foot, and are in the right health and fitness but still struggling to kick the soccer ball far, consider the following factors below.

Having the right soccer technique

Shooting technique is arguably the most important factor that affects how hard and far a soccer player can kick the soccer ball. Therefore, working on your kicking technique can improve how hard you kick in soccer.

Having the right soccer technique cuts across different actions starting from your run-up to the position of your body during and after kicking the ball. Before taking the shot, soccer players should take 3 to 5 steps backward.

Kevin Debruyn prepare to do a free kick

When running forward, take short strides instead of longer steps because short steps will help you to build momentum. Upon getting to the ball, the planting foot should be positioned beside the ball.

If the planting foot is far behind the ball, your striking foot will hit the ball towards the end of the swing rather than at the peak of the swing and will not generate enough power to hit the ball hard.

Likewise, if the planting foot is far ahead of the ball, the kicking foot will strike the ball before it had gathered momentum leading to lower force transfer to the ball.

Lock your ankles and lean forward. Your striking foot should swing as backward as possible—but not to the point of losing your balance.

Swing the striking foot forward with as much power as possible. Your swing should not stop when your leg hit the ball. It should follow through by swinging forward.

It will take lots of practice to perfect the run-up, the position of the planting foot, and the follow-through. Once you perfect these three techniques, you will surely notice an improvement in how hard you kick the soccer ball.

Part of the foot used

Soccer players use different parts of their foot to kick the ball including the toes, the laces, and the inside and outside of the foot. However, how hard you kick the soccer ball will depend on the part of the foot used.

Messi doing the free kick

When soccer players want to kick the ball hard, they will use either their toes, the laces, or the knuckle of the big toe. Using the outside of the foot will generate the most swerve but the least speed.

Also, when approaching the ball, experts advise that you approach it from an angle rather than head-on. You will likely notice more force on the impact this way.

Part of the ball hit

When you want to hit the ball hard, it is not just about the part of the foot used but also about the part of the ball your foot makes contact with. This also boils down to a bit of technique.

There are different types of kicks in soccer depending on the intent of the soccer player. Sometimes, what the soccer player needs to get beyond the opponent’s goalkeeper is force while at other times they need placement.

When a soccer player is going for force, they will hit the ball at the center or slightly below the center. The laces or knuckles of the big toe sort of cut through the center of the ball, driving the ball low and hard.

Kicking a soccer ball

For placement, the soccer player will aim lower toward the bottom of the ball. This gives the ball some elevation and sends it to the top corner of the goalpost where it is more difficult for the goalkeeper to reach.

A lob or chip requires the least force. Here the focus is getting the ball to move in a high arc within a short distance. Soccer players use it to get the ball beyond the reach of the goalkeeper during a one-on-one situation.

During a chip, the soccer player digs his or her toe under the ball and flicks it over the goalkeeper or an advancing opponent player.

Learn The Chip Shot | How To Chip The Goalkeeper Tutorial For Footballers

Strength of the leg and core muscles

Even if a soccer player has mastered all the kicking techniques, he or she still needs a strong leg and core muscles to produce a hard kick. Strengthening these muscles is a sure way to get harder kicks in soccer.

Front squat exercises are great for improving the core and quadriceps muscles—and these muscles are directly involved in kicking power. Low-back extensions strengthen the posterior chain which also increases shot power.

Lifting reasonable weights helps to develop lean muscles and toned bodies which are important in the overall performance of a soccer player. The stronger your leg and core muscles, the faster the soccer player can run and build momentum which is then transferred to the ball.

man doing weight lifting


There is often a misconception among non-soccer players that the size of the player will determine how hard they will kick. However, that is far from the truth. Some soccer players look skinny but kick harder than well-built soccer players.

Kicking the ball hard has a lot of benefits in soccer. For attackers, it increases their chance of scoring a goal while defenders will clear the ball further away from their lines and create counterattack chances by giving long passes from defense to attack.

When it comes to kicking the soccer ball hard, technique and the strength of the foot and core muscles play a key role. Once your get both of them right, you will have powerful and unstoppable kicks.

While building a hard kick is important in soccer, it has to be combined with accuracy to have a meaningful impact. Just hitting the ball hard without any direction will not get you the win that your team desperately needs.

Rome was not built in a day. So, don’t despair if you don’t know how to kick the ball hard already. It would probably take lots of practice to get the result you desire.