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How To Curve A Soccer Ball Like Messi And Ronaldo

If you have mastered the art of striking a ball with power, then it’s to learn how to curve a soccer ball.

Curving a soccer ball is one of the most popular methods used for dead ball situations such as free kicks and corners. It’s also used to beat the goalie from 18 yards out.

There are a few fundamentals that you need to get right. Curve a ball by focusing on the run-up, the contact area on the cleat, the contact area on the ball, and the follow-through. Here’s how to achieve each step.

The Run-Up

The first step is to ensure you are approaching the ball from the correct position. You need to approach the ball at an angle relative to the way you want to curve the ball. For example, if you want to curve the ball to the left, then approach the soccer ball from the left, and vice versa.

Approach the ball without an angle, and you will find it difficult to create curvature. This is because the positioning of your feet is in the wrong place. You aren’t going to be striking the soccer ball with the front of your foot. This type of strike is for power shots.

How much run-up do you need? There’s no direct answer to this. My only advice is to consider the situation and why you want to be curving the ball in the first place.

If you’re taking a shot at goal then you’re not going to have the time for a large run-up. A teammate who has passed the ball across the box means you only have a few steps to get a shot off. Whereas if you have a free kick, you can take plenty of steps to set yourself up. Play the situation and practice for both. More on practicing in a moment.

Contact Area

Contrary to popular belief, there are two ways to curve a ball: using the inside of the cleat or the outside of the cleat.

Inside Of The Cleat

This is going to be the most common way to curve a soccer ball. The exact position you want to strike the ball is towards the upper side of the cleat, close to where the strongest part of the foot is. You don’t want to strike the ball with the side of your foot. This part of the foot you use for passing, and won’t create enough power.

Outside Of The Cleat

There are also situations where you can use the outside of the cleat to curve the ball. This type of curving is best used for through balls and passes as the ball will curve away from the player into a space for a teammate to pick up possession.

Strike the ball using the same part of the foot, except on the reverse side.

As you’ll be using the inside technique in more scenarios, the rest of the guide will assume you are striking the ball using the inside of the foot.

Where To Strike A Soccer Ball

If you’ve ever played pool, then you know hitting the ball in different places will do different things. Striking low on a pool ball will create a backspin meaning the ball will travel backward. Hitting a pool ball from the side will create a side spin.

The same goes for a soccer ball, and where you strike the ball will determine how the ball moves to its destination.

If you want to curve a ball, you want to strike it towards the lower left or right quadrant, so that your feet almost go underneath the ball. Not only will this lift the ball off the ground, but it will also create curvature as it moves through the air.

Hitting a ball straight will not create any curvature, and neither will a shot underneath the ball with no angling.

Follow Through

Complete the movement with follow-through. This will begin and end with your hips to create extra power.

Using momentum, you want to swing your hips and follow through with the ball, like driving a golf swing. No one has hit a golf ball without following through after the strike. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself and see how little the ball travels. Not effective at all!

What Else Should I Focus On?

The above points are the fundamentals of curving a soccer ball. There are also a few other points to consider to nail the perfect shot.

You also need to consider where your non-kicking foot is in relation to the ball. As we learned by striking a soccer ball with power and accuracy, your non-kicking foot will be beside the ball.

The same concept applies to curving a ball, except you should also aim your foot away from the ball.

If you are striking the ball with your right foot from the center of the pitch, then your non-striking foot will be aiming toward the left. This helps to curve the ball toward the target.

One final point is that you don’t want to lean too far back. This will lead to the soccer ball going too high in the air and missing the target. Unless you are going for a long pass, avoid leaning back too much.

How To Practice Curving A Ball

This guide will amount to nothing if you do not put in the work. The best way to practice this type of shot is to grab a buddy and hit the ball between each other using the technique listed above. Or if you have a goalie, you can practice taking shots at the goal.

If you don’t have a friend who is willing to practice with you, your next step is to find a wall or fence which you can kick the ball against. This will save time having to gather the ball from an open goal or an empty field. Unless, of course, you also want to work on building your fitness.

Another common way to practice and improve is to film yourself taking shots. We know how YouTubers enjoy filming themselves, and you should follow suit. Aim a camera, even if it is your cell phone, down the middle of the goal and begin taking shots.

You can pick up on where your technique is not great and look to improve. But don’t beat yourself up for not mastering this in an hour. It takes lots of repetition to master a skill. This is no different.

You could also watch professional soccer players and see how they curl the ball. Cristiano Ronald and Lionel Messi are both masters at this craft. Learning from the best is always a worthwhile strategy if you’re stuck.

What Now?

Now that you’re on the way to mastering the soccer curve, there are many other skills you can learn to become a well-rounded soccer player.

Check out this guide to learn how to dribble as fast as a professional. Or if you haven’t already, check out this guide to learn the basics of striking a soccer ball with power and accuracy.

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