A free kick, when done right, produces one of THE most beautiful sites on the football field. Apart from the visual delight, the craft and skill required to execute a free kick is immense. And to add all this; the jubilation of a goal.
The key to master free kick is simple – PRACTICE! Professional footballers have mastered this skill by practicing to such an extent, that certain areas on the field are marked as their ‘territories’; the area from which that particular player is very likely so score.
Before we get to the techniques and their execution, there are a few basic things that you need to remember before taking the free kick.
The first and the most important thing while taking a free kick is knowing where you want to place it. Take your time while analyzing – consider the position of the free kick, the placement of the wall and where the Goalkeeper is standing. Ideally shooting away from the keeper is very effective, but sometimes shooting on the side of the keeper can wrong-foot the opponent giving you a very good chance to score.
MEASURE YOUR RUN UP
Place your standing foot besides the ball and take few steps back to measure your run up. The run up angle and the distance should depend on the distance and the position from where the free kick is being taken. The run up length and angle should be decided on how far the ball is placed from the goal and with which technique you plan on taking the free kick.
Always be completely focused while taking the free kick. Even the slightest of mistakes can make the free kick go horribly wrong. After choosing where you are going to hit the ball, keep your focus on the ball and your run up only! Build a set routine – for example a stance or a breathing pattern – which will help you focus better. Work on this routine during the practice to master it for the games.
Now What are the ways you can get the ball past the wall towards the goal?
Want to master the art of Free-kicks? Here is where you start : Introduction to Free kicks!
This technique has been made very popular by the likes of Bale, Ronaldo etc. In this technique you put little or no spin on the ball, which give the ball unpredictable movement.
The first step to implement the knuckleball technique is to place your standing foot close (2-3 inches) to the ball.
Hit the ball with clean contact with the instep (the bone from toe to top of the foot), right below the very center of the ball.
Stop your follow through as soon as you hit the ball. Keep your torso up, straight, and balanced.
This is a technique which involves bending the ball around or above the wall. In this technique you can bend the ball around the wall or put the ball over the wall.This free kick was made famous David Beckham. In this technique, you place your standing foot 5-6 inches away from the ball while taking the free kick.
Start your run up from a 45 Degree angle to where the ball is placed.
You should strike the ball the side of your big toe. This technique causes the ball to roll along the inside of your kicking foot.
Use one leg to balance and support your body. The ball travels in the direction where that foot points to.
Avoid hitting the ball with a straight foot and from a straight angle. It would diminish your ability to control the direction of your shot or the flight of the ball.
By the ball from underneath, you can generate more speed and height.
UNDER THE WALL
In this type of free kick, you slide the ball swiftly under the wall when they jump. The biggest factor in this type of free kick is anticipation. The success of this free kick completely depends on the wall jumping.
Anticipate whether the wall is going to jump.
While striking the ball, keep your standing foot close to the ball and pointing straight towards the wall.
Using disguise, use your instep to make a clean contact with the ball.
Try to keep the shot on the ground.
Keeping these pointers in mind, the best way you can perfectly execute a free kick is practice. We’d recommend you to pick up one style and keep practicing until you perfect it.
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