When it comes to practice your free kicks, there are some things you need to know. Different ways you can practice. What part of the field you’re in, shooting techniques and your mindset all play a big role. Let’s get started.
Practice from different parts of the field
Most players only practice shooting from the middle [18 – 30 yards out].
Shooting from the middle is a great idea, but you need to also practice from both corners of the 18 yard box.
Another good spot to practice taking free kicks is the corner of the D. This is the spot that just outside the 18 yard box. You’ll notice the painted half circle looks just like a D.
Distance wise you want to practice between 12 – 40 yards.
Before practicing with a wall try it without a wall because it’s easier and helps build confidence.
Watch [trainee] Cole hit 5 back post goals in a row from 22 yards. We were both excited that he was this consistent.
Bending around and/or over the wall
Practice shooting over and around the wall. You can use smaller goals, dummies, teammates, bags, benches, trash bins or anything you can think of that will help you get used to shooting over and around.
The keeper will set up closer to the far post. They’ll set the wall up to protect the near post.
So if you’re a right footed player and the free kick is taken from the right/central part of the field you can bend the ball low around the right side of the wall. Visavera for left footed players.
If you’re set up on the left side and a right footed player is taking it you’ll probably need to get the ball over the wall. In this situation you can aim near or far post.
Whatever you decide, just know that the keeper will lose sight of the ball for a short time when it travels in front of the wall.
Which technique is best when taking free kicks
Bending with the inside of the foot is the most common way to score free kicks. The reason is because you can bend the ball around the wall and still get power.
Pro players bend 99% of the free kicks and corners.
High school players don’t use this as much because the person taking the free kicks might not know how, or they are better at striking with the laces.
The second best way to take free kicks is using the top of your foot [laces] because you can get power and distance. The only thing about laces is you have to hit a direct ball either over or [under – if the wall jumps].
When closer up [say 15-25 yards out] you can get the ball up and down quicker by bending. This is ideal for having to get the ball over the wall.
If you’re further out then laces can be a great option because you don’t have to worry as much about having to get the ball back down so fast.
What you should be thinking during free kicks [mindset]
Mindset matter in everything we do.
If it’s basketball, golf or even something outside of sports we have to believe in ourselves.
Too many players approach a situation with heavy doubt.
The best time to believe in yourself is that 3 seconds leading up to the kick.
It’s one thing to doubt your ability 10 seconds or minutes before, but that few seconds leading up to the moment you have to think positive and believe.
Risk taking has to be involved also. The risk is you miss, the reward is you do great.
Finally you have to know how you’re going to shoot. So many kids don’t think about this, therefore just kick the ball without knowing how. You need to know if you’re going to bend, drive, chip the ball.
Are you shooting for power, going for accuracy or both. There are times you need each one, so being good at all of them helps.