Watching how professional soccer players kick the ball and score incredible goals is breathtaking. They make it look so easy that fans instantly think they can do it.
No doubt, the part of the foot used in striking the ball will determine its motion. Professional soccer players know the part of the foot they should use in different situations to give the ball the elevation or curve that will beat the goalie.
One part of the foot that is mostly used to drive low powerful shots is the laces. However, one thing that amateur soccer players fail to understand is that shooting with different parts of the foot requires different techniques.
Interestingly, using a technique meant for one part of the foot for another part rarely works. For example, if you use the technique meant for shooting with the inside of your foot when you want to shoot with your laces, the outcome will be far from what you imagined.
The position of your planting foot, the locking of your ankle, and your eye contact are all critical factors that you must get right when you want to kick a soccer ball with laces.
So, what is the right technique for kicking the soccer ball with the laces? Are there any drills to improve your accuracy with lace kicks? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.
How to kick a soccer ball with laces?
The lace kick is also frequently called the instep drive. Soccer coaches are advised to teach younger players (from 6 years old) how to kick with their laces rather than their toes.
The reason is obviously that at that young age, they can easily break their toes while trying to kick the ball with their toes. Whether you will kick the ball with the laces or the toes will depend on how you place your planting foot.
If you place your planting foot far behind the ball, by the time your shooting foot swings close to the ball, it will be the toe that will make contact with the ball. However, if the planting foot is directly next to the ball, striking the ball with the laces becomes easier.
Two things happen when you want to shoot the ball with the laces. Firstly, you must get your planting foot right. Secondly, the opposite arm of your kicking foot will go up.
For example, if you are kicking with the left foot, your right foot will be your planting foot and your right arm should go up. Also, you need to maintain eye contact with your laces—the spot you have to kick the ball with.
You can strike the ball with the laces either from a stationary position or while in motion. However, whenever you need to generate power from your strike, you need to run unto the ball. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to shoot the ball with the laces.
Method 1: Shooting with laces from a stationary position
Shooting the ball with the laces from a stationary position is a little more difficult compared to shooting with the laces while in motion. This is because the pace of the ball will be determined by your foot strength.
The bigger your backswing, the more power you are going to generate. The follow-through is also important. Your forward swing should push through the ball and should be approximately half your backswing. Below are the steps for shooting with the laces from a stationary position.
Place the ball on the spot where you will take the shot from. It may be a free kick or a penalty kick.
Stand behind the ball with your planting foot positioned beside the ball. Make sure you are standing erect. The way you stand will determine where your leg will strike the ball.
If you lean backward, for example, it is likely that your lace will strike under the ball causing it to fly upward. In a penalty kick situation, you risk sending the ball above the crossbar.
Visualize where you want to kick the ball. The place you kick the ball will determine its flight trajectory. If you strike the ball from the bottom, it will go up with a bit of backspin.
On the other hand, if you want to hit a low shot—which is usually harder for goalies—you want to strike the ball close to the middle.
Swing your striking foot backward to form a ‘V’. As we mentioned earlier, the better your backswing the more power you can generate for the kick.
Lock your ankle so that your toes are pointing to the ground. Maintain this posture as you swing your foot forward.
You will hardly see places shooting with the laces while stationary because it is hard to generate enough power to shoot the ball far. Perhaps, the only time you will see professional soccer use this technique is when they want to take a quick free-kick.
Nevertheless, this is an important technique used by soccer coaches when they are trying to teach kids or teenagers how to kick with the laces rather than with the toes.
Method 2: Shooting with laces while on the run (stationary ball)
It is easier to generate more power for shooting with the laces when you are on the run. However, it is easier to miss your technique compared to shooting from a stationary position.
In the stationary position, you only have to worry about the proper positioning of your foot. In addition to that, you must time your run so that your planting foot is in the right spot when you are running towards the ball.
There are two ways of shooting while on the run. In this first scenario, we will look at instances when a player runs up to a stationary ball.
You will see this technique more often when players want to play freekick from outside the 18-yard box or when players want to play a penalty. Below are the steps involved.
Place the ball on the spot indicated by the referee.
Take 3 to 5 steps backward. This should be enough to generate the amount of power you need to drive the shot. However, you can take more steps backward if you think it will help you to generate more momentum.
It is always important to maintain a certain number of odd number steps behind the ball. For example, right footers will usually take their first step with the left foot.
So, for a right-footer that is one step behind the ball, the first step will be your left foot which will plant beside the ball while your right foot (striking foot) hits next.
But if a right-footer maintains 2 steps behind the ball, the first step (left foot) will get him or her closer to the ball while the right foot will now be the planting foot.
Take three deep breaths to help free your mind of any tension. Visualize where you want to kick the ball and where you want the ball to go.
Run up to the ball making sure that your last step will be your planting foot which should be positioned by the side of the ball.
Swing your striking foot backward but not too backward that you lose your balance.
Lock your ankle such that your toe points downward and swing your foot forward.
Strike the underside of the ball for an aerial pass or in the middle of the ball to drive a low shot.
Method 3: Shooting with laces while on the run (moving ball)
This is the most difficult part of shooting because you have to time your run to be in sync with the motion of the ball so that your planting foot will be in the right spot at the right time.
However, when executed correctly, both the motion of the ball and the motion of the player will work together to give the ball an incredible speed. Interestingly, as a soccer player, this is the situation you will mostly find yourself in.
Here are steps to achieve this shot.
Give the ball a head start with a good first touch.
Run up to the ball timing your run in relation to the motion of the ball such that your last step will plant your foot beside the ball.
Move your body to be in a proper posture depending on whether you want the ball to go high or low. Lean backward if you want the ball to go up or forward if you want to drive a low shot.
Once your non-shooting foot is planted, swing your shooting foot back as far as it can go without losing your balance.
Lock your heels so that your toes point downwards and swing your foot forward. Keep your eyes focused on the area you want to kick the ball.
Follow through your kick with a slight jump and land with your shooting foot. This is better than extending your shooting foot forward which may cause you to lose balance or send the ball flying into the sky.
Is there a drill to improve shooting with the laces?
Like every other soccer skill, there is a drill to improve shooting with the laces. The drills can either be to teach soccer players how to shoot with the laces (amateur) or improve their shooting accuracy (advanced players).
For younger soccer players from 6 years old up to around 12 years, the focus should be teaching the soccer players how to properly kick the ball with the laces rather than the toes. One of the important drills to teach kids how to kick with the laces goes like this;
- Divide the children into groups of twos and have them face each other
- Have one of the children hold the ball firmly on the ground
- The other child should stand close to the ball, plant their foot beside the ball and kick the middle of the ball with their laces
- Help the kids to lock their ankle and position their toes where necessary and show them the right place to plant their foot
- They shouldn’t kick so hard that it is hard for the other child to hold onto the ball but should be loud enough for them to hear the sound of their kick
- After 5 to 10 kicks, the kids should swap places
Once the players know how to kick with their laces, move to the next phase of the training which is hitting the target. Indeed, it makes no sense to go through the stress of learning how to kick with the laces if you don’t hit your target.
- Place soccer goal training targets in different locations in front of the goalpost
- The player should start by running towards a stationary ball and trying to hit the target while kicking with their laces
- Once they can easily hit the target, they should progress to shooting the ball while in motion
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Last update on 2023-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Kicking the soccer ball with the laces is not most soccer players’ favorite technique. Most soccer players will prefer to play the ball with the inside of their foot or the toes.
This is because learning to kick with the laces usually takes some time. However, all those times invested in training usually pay off when you want to drive a low straight shot to the corners of the goalpost.
It is easier to achieve this goal using the laces than any other part of the foot. Moreover, teaching kids and teenagers how to kick with their laces may save them from avoidable toe injuries.
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!