Having a killer shot from your right foot is great. But if that’s all you’ve got, and you’re going to need to take that extra step every time getting the ball to the right, you’ll only go so far. Training to have a solid touch on either foot is essential to your soccer success. Try these tips.
Either inside with a soft soccer ball against the wall, outside against a wall, garage door or actual rebounder, pass and retrieve the ball with only the weaker foot. Do this 20 times with your non-dominant foot to begin. You may need to give yourself two touches on the ball to start, until you get better control with the weaker foot. Once you can consistently do this one touch, add 10 repetitions as you gain comfort and control.
Villarreal midfielder Santi Cazorla began working to improve his left foot as a young boy. “All the technical work I do, and have ever done, I practice more of with my left foot: more technique, more shots on goal, more crosses,” the Spanish player said. “The younger you start learning to play with both feet, the better, but anyone can improve by practicing.”
We’ve written before about the benefits of juggling, but in this weaker foot-focused skill session you would try to use only the foot you’re working to improve. See how many touches you can get, keeping the ball up in the air, using that side of your body’s foot, knee, thigh etc.
Once you’ve mastered juggling focusing on the one side, practice alternating. If you touch once with your right the next touch should be with your left and so on. This can help you get used to using either foot confidently without second-guessing.
Touch the ball with the outstep of your weaker foot, then the instep of the same foot. You might even try this exercise with one of those cords that keeps the ball within a few feet of your reach, to save your running around after the ball as you gain control. You will start this one slowly, but will want to pick up speed as you build rhythm and confidence.
You could also set up a slalom course with cones, poles, or rocks and work the ball around the obstacles with your weaker foot. Space the obstacles out more to begin. When it becomes too easy, make the slalom tighter, forcing you to work even more precisely with that foot.
Being able to shoot with the foot on your “wrong side” can make a big difference to your scoring success. If defenders can’t shut you down by recognizing you’re a righty and not letting you get the ball on that foot, your opportunities to shoot multiply. Plus, you’ll be able to play both sides of the field more effectively (which coaches appreciate).
When working on shooting with the weaker foot, pay attention first to your technique and accuracy. Power can come later. Setting up a small target to shoot at will help you learn the handle the ball with finesse whether its your natural foot or not. After you’ve got a hang of getting the ball to go where you intend with your non-dominant foot, work on enhancing the power of your shot.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a player able to score with either foot. It’s estimated he scores 1 in every 5 of his goals with his non-dominant left foot by taking advantage of the defenders guarding his right side, leaving him free to kick with his left.
You also need to be able to collect the ball and bring it under control with the foot you tend to ignore too. Throwing the ball up in the air, practice cushioning the ball and smoothly bringing it to your foot on the ground. The better body control you have — not just of the foot, but of the entire body over on that non-dominant side — the more natural it will become for you to control the ball with either foot, without hesitation.
Soccer is a fast-paced game requiring you to be agile and able to think on your feet — both of them. Regularly working these drills can help you program your brain to treat both of your feet the same. Improving your confidence in your two feet as instruments that will act as you intend when in a game situation, will give you greater agility and flexibility on the field. Plus, since you aren’t going to be playing the ball to one side of your body all of the time, your ability to see the game and the field of play more fully will improve too. You’re more likely also to catch your opponent off balance, as he or she may be stuck with a single foot approach to the game.