Driving a Ball

The following drills comes from Jeff's book, “Drills and Exercises to Develop the Elite American Soccer Player©.”

This book focuses on sessions and exercises which address the issues specific to American players. It is a book for coaches at every level but, especially, coaches of players aged U9 to U14. This is a vitally important age when players are, without even knowing it, making decisions on which sport they will choose to play. Preview

One of the issues our coaches must address with our young players is the ability to drive a ball straight with no side spin. Many of our players kick around the ball and hook it. If this is not corrected when the players are young they will be saddled with a very poor kicking technique and will not be able to change the point of attack, effectively, nor will they be able to drive the ball to a center forward or start an effective counter attack.

driving a ball

The five common technical reasons why our players are poor at driving a ball are (right footed kicker);

1. Their angle of approach to the ball is too straight on. Players are going to kick the ball with the knuckle of the big toe. To get that part of the foot onto the correct part of the ball the approach must be angled coming in from the left.

2. The ball is not “out” of their body enough. The last step before they strike the ball must be a long power step. Picture below illustrates the final step before the ball is struck.

3. Players contact the ball center or right of center. For a right footed player to make the ball go straight it must be struck left of center.

4. Toe comes up as the ball is being struck. Toe must be pointed down all through the strike with a short follow through.

5. Head comes up too early. Head should stay down to accentuate the position of the striking foot at contact.