INSPIRED, CONFIDENT & EFFECTIVE COACHING

Have fun bending the ball

One of the pleasures of being a coach is going down to the club or local park or in your backyard and trying to use some of the skills sessions that I write and make them work. For sure, if you’re going to get your players to do it you should at least have a go yourself even if the end result isn’t what you imagined!

Bending the ball is a great one for coaches to try themselves and gives you a great feeling of accomplishment when it works.

There is nothing more satisfying than bending the ball from free-kicks or swerving it at goal from open play in and around the box. Watching a wall stretching up but unable to reach the ball as it hits the back of the net is the dream of every young player – and of every coach if they were really honest.

Hitting the ball with swerve is all about technique. The best players approach the ball at an angle, aiming for the bottom corner and rolling the ball from the toe of their boot to the centre just under the ankle putting spin on the ball. The standing leg should be pointing away from the goal and the kicking leg swings around towards the goal without bending it.

By hitting the ball from underneath it takes it up and over the wall and the spin on the ball makes it bend and dip. Read my tips and try the two sessions below to get your players bending and dipping at will.

Top tips for bending the ball

If using the right foot and swerving the ball from right to left, your players must…
> Approach from the left-hand side of the ball at an angle.
> Place the non-kicking foot to the left of the ball and slightly behind it.
> Bring the foot around the ball, from left to right.
> Strike using the inside of the foot, around the joint of the big toe.
> Hit across the ball to the right of centre.
> Strike the bottom half of the ball to lift it.
> Follow through with the kick.

Brazilians are known for their ability to score with free-kicks and they train every day with or without walls or keepers. Brazilian swerve enables your players to practise too. Teams need good free-kick takers and this session helps to sort out the best ones.

Dangerous bend helps players to practise swerving the ball, which is an important skill to help them take advantage of goal scoring opportunities from free-kicks and shots.

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