One of the most challenging skills is learning how to chip a soccer ball. There are D1 college players who struggle to do this well. It’s one thing to just kick the ball far or high, it’s another to softly and accurately chip a ball. Depending on the situation, you can chip different ways. Today we’ll discuss the different ways you would chip a ball and how to get really good at it.
Great ways to practice chipping
Start by trying to chip a soccer ball that is light or filled with less air. Remember, we are trying to learn, so it’s important that we give ourselves the best chance. A ball that’s pumped up a lot will be more difficult to chip, therefore causing you to be discouraged. To improve quickly at something you want to do what’s easier. It’s not only more simple to kick, but also will boost your confidence to have early and better success. WARNING: Don’t do this inside of your parents house lol.
Using a wall, goal, rebounder or person/partner, chip the ball from about 5-7 yards away. Your focus is to get the ball high quickly and light. Don’t worry about distance right now. Load your kicking foot by bringing your foot/heel at least half way back. This gives your follow through more momentum and power when kicking. Even though we’re not trying to kick the ball hard, you do want to follow through with a decent amount of strength. The key besides this is getting under the ball and then following through with your toes and foot immediately coming up.
In terms of body mechanics, you don’t have to lean back, just don’t learn forward. Leaning forward makes your knee go over the ball, which makes it more difficult to chip a soccer ball high. Regarding your follow through, notice how I bring my foot and leg up by bending it early – not letting my leg extend out.
When practicing have fun and try to hit the crossbar of the goal (like the video below) or hit a certain spot on the wall. This gives you a target and builds confidence when you hit it.
Parts of the foot to chip a soccer ball
If you’re wanting to get back spin, get under the ball using either the top of your toes and strike through the middle of the ball. If you don’t connect down the middle of the ball, you’ll probably connect on the far side which will then give you side spin and redirection.
There are other times when you can redirect the ball and get side spin. To do this you want to plant closer to the ball and then connect the inside of your toes/ball of foot with the outside of the ball. I actually teach this often in my in-person lessons. Both of these ways will present themselves in every game. You’ll be a better player if you know how to handle these situations.
How to chip a ball rolling towards you
There are 2 main ways you will chip a soccer ball rolling at you. #1 Bending to redirect the ball using the inside of your foot, getting sidespin. The specific part of your foot for this is the inside and top of your big toe and top of the joint that joins your big toe and foot. As you chip let your toes come up to allow the ball to rise quickly. If you kick with the right the ball goes a little to the left of where you follow through. The technique is the same as bending a free kick, the only difference with chipping is you don’t kick it as hard. Make sure you connect on the outer edge of the ball to get the sidespin.
#2 is getting backspin. Two ways to get backspin is either let you toes come up and connect more on top of the toes. The other way is to keep your toes down and connect more on top of your foot, compared to top of the toes. Using the top of the toes will give you that light chip that goes high quickly. Using the top of the foot and keeping the toes down will give you more distance and maybe not as much height. For this you’re using more of the top or top of the toes. By doing this you’ll be able to make the ball go where your hips, shoulders and plant foot are facing. Connect on the middle of the ball, not the outer edge.
Video below shows college players chipping with the inside of the foot to redirect the ball. Notice the ball goes to the left of where the follow through goes. Using this technique bring your toes up, striking through the outer edge – right side of the ball.
How to follow through when chipping the soccer ball
Following through all depends on the situation. Sometimes you can follow through, other times you don’t have to. When the ball is still/dead, you can bring your foot up right away. You can also keep your toes down and connect more on the laces. The difference here would be the distance in the pass/shot. If you need the ball to get in the air right away bring the toes up. For more distance in your pass and from where you need the ball to get over/clear depends on how you should chip.
As you strike through the ball you need to immediately let the toes come up as you kick the ball. As you follow through bend your knees and bring the foot & leg up higher than you would kicking any other way. Remember not to lean over the ball.
When to teach advanced skills like chipping
I think it’s always good to introduce advanced skills to younger players (ages 7-8). The key is that coaches and parents need to communicate to kids that it’s normal to struggle at first and it’s more important to spend time working on fundamentals. This way they don’t get discouraged and not want to practice at it. one of the best feelings is finally getting something right that you’ve been working at. This is the beauty of sports. Learning that with practice comes hard work, patience, failure and success.
A good time to continue working on chipping would be ages 9-11 years old. Ages 12-15+ also need to work on chipping because it’s not easy and most players in high school have never been taught how to chip a soccer ball. The reason I know is because I teach players all ages and I ask them questions all the time.
One day a high school varsity captain (6A State Champion at Southlake HS) said to me that her team was working on chipping and many of the players were saying how they didn’t know how to chip.
Score more goals with chip shots
Forwards and attacking mids get several chances to shoot from distance. Sometimes it needs to be with power, while other times with finesse. Most players aren’t good at chipping, so goalkeepers will come out of the goal not expecting the ball to be shot over their head. Take a look at these clips from Barcelona with some sweet chip shots over the goalkeeper.
The times where you see these opportunities is when it’s either a break away or when the team is in possession in the final third. I encourage you to practice working on chip shots from a free kick/dead ball situation as well as on the run. They are both different and take time to get good at. You got this!
Love futbol even more with my online ball control courses
Once you can really control the ball smooth, you’ll love to practice more. Players who spend the time on ball control realize it takes work. They are motivated to get good at other skills like chipping. Advanced skills take time, but if you want to become more motivated and better with the ball get my online ball control courses. The courses are self-paced and you can get feedback from me anytime you want. Let’s go!