Tips for Improving Your Free Kicking Ability

By Kristen May , last updated February 4, 2012

Free kicks in soccer are an important chance for your team to benefit from a foul the other team has committed against you. Perfect your technique so you never waste any opportunities to score a goal or get the ball to someone else on your team who can. Consider several aspects of the free kick and practice some drills to get ready for game situations.

Understand Direct and Indirect Kicks

The two types of free kicks in soccer are distinguished by whether they are direct or indirect kick. In an indirect kick, the referee lifts one arm above his head until the ball touches a second player. Only when the referee drops his arm can the ball go into the goal and count for the team. Therefore, if you are awarded an indirect kick, you will want to work with another player on your team to take a shot on goal. The first player will tap the ball and the second will quickly follow up with a shot.

Lift the Ball

In most cases, you will need to lift the ball over a set of defenders to get it into the goal. Members of the opposing team can line up 10 yards away from you and usually stand very close to each other to form a human wall between you and the net. Some players in the wall may jump when you kick the ball to try to head it out of the way. Therefore, you need to kick the ball high enough to clear the wall, while also evaluating the distance to the goal so the ball is low enough to reach the goal below the top crossbar. Practice taking free kicks from different distances with obstacles in front of you to get the feel for how hard to kick the ball to get it over the wall and into the goal. If your free kick is fairly close to the goal, you may have to use a lighter touch to lift the ball and bring it back down sooner.

Practice Bending the Ball

English soccer player David Beckham is a very famous soccer player, and one of the skills that set him apart form the rest was the ability to consistently bend the ball around a defensive wall on a free kick to score a goal. This is an advanced skill, but one that can make it much more difficult for the defense to get to the ball before it makes it to the back of the net. Put spin on the ball by striking it very hard on one side and following through so the inside of your kicking foot slides along the ball to create additional spin. This helps the ball get around the defenders and bend back to get into the corner of the goal, catching the goalie off guard.

Defensive Free Kick Tips

When a free kick is too far away from the goal to make a shot possible, a defender will usually take the kick. The goal is to clear the ball up field to an offensive player who can then take it to the goal. When taking such a free kick, focus on getting the right combination of power and accuracy to get it to a spot on the field where only one of your teammates can get it.

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