There is a good chance when playing soccer, you tend to favor using a specific foot to kick, pass or shoot. Why does this happen?
The answer is fairly simple. You play better when you kick, pass or shoot with the preferred foot. While you can certainly kick and pass with the other foot which is often referred to as the weak foot, you notice that you have better ball control when you use your preferred foot.
To be the best soccer player you can be, you can’t play only using your dominant foot. You have to be able to effectively use both feet. Luckily, there are several things you can do that will help you improve your weak foot.
Table of Contents
- What is a Weak Foot?
- Why it is Important to Work on Improving Your Weak Foot in Soccer
- Practices to Improve your Weak Foot
What is a Weak Foot?
The use of the term “weak foot” is fairly deceptive. The foot is just as healthy and strong as the other foot. The only difference is that a player prefers to use one foot over when playing.
Why it is Important to Work on Improving Your Weak Foot in Soccer
When you take to the field to play, you can’t expect the ball will always move or roll to your preferred or dominant foot. Instead, you must be ready and able to act regardless of which foot receives the ball.
Some of the advantages you have as a player when you are proficient with both feet include:
- Increased confidence on the field
- Unpredictability – if you only kick with a preferred foot, your opponents will know what to expect and can prepare to block a shot or steal the ball. Your opponents will be less likely to guess where you will take the ball if you are able to play proficiently with both feet.
- Improved breakaway ability – playing proficiently with both feet you have better ball control when trying to maneuver around or break away from an opponent on the field
- Increased vision on the field – players who have a dominant side tend to always stand or position their body in a way that favors that side. While this helps when you get the ball, it severely limits your field of vision. Players who can play with both feet are less likely to favor a side which means they can see more of the field.
Practices to Improve your Weak Foot
Practice Drill #1: Ball Juggling with Your Weak Foot
- Bounce the ball on the ground
- With the ball in the air, start to ‘juggle’ using your weak foot. This is essentially kicking the ball with the top of the foot.
- Try to keep the ball in the air without having it drop to the ground. This can be done by lightly tapping the ball with your weaker foot in an upward motion. Don’t kick the ball too hard or it will go too high and you will lose control of it.
Some things you can do while juggling the soccer ball include:
- Start off only juggling with your weak foot.
- Switch to ball juggling with both feet once you can effectively use your weaker foot
- Switching between feet while ball juggling will help you develop the natural ability to use both feet without having to stop and think about it.
Practice Drill #2: Using a Wall to Pass the Ball
- Kick the ball with your weaker foot at the wall
- Let the ball rebound off the wall and move back towards you
- Kick the ball back with your non-dominant foot
Become Elite has a great video that outlines how to use a wall to practice kicking and receiving the ball. The video also shows several other great drills you can use to improve your non-dominant foot.
When doing this practice drill keep the following things in mind:
- Try to always kick the ball back with your weaker foot
- Start off slowly and kick the ball at the wall gently. As you get better, you can add more power.
- Try to get in a rhythm with the ball kick. You want to eventually be able to smoothly and effortlessly kick the ball back and forth with the wall.
- Practice your aim.
- Don’t kick it too hard. You are working on aiming and controlling the ball with your weaker foot, you aren’t trying to kick the ball so hard that you send it all the way across the field.
- Practice kicking the ball from different standing position.
- Practice receiving the ball in different positions. Try to find a way to receive the ball that feels natural to you.
Practice Drill #3: Shooting Practice
- Choose a target. At first choose something that is fairly large, such as a goal post or a specific area of the goal. As you get better at shooting, you can make the target smaller which will require more control to hit. Using your non-dominant foot practice kicking the ball and trying to hit the target
- Practice different standing positions while kicking with your weaker foot
- Practicing kicking the ball with different parts of your weaker foot such as laces up and inside of the foot
- Don’t kick too hard at first. Just focus on getting the feel of kicking the ball with your non-dominant foot.
- After you have control of the ball when kicking and shooting with your weaker foot, you can start adding power and strength to your kick
Practice Drill #4: Learn Ball Control
- Take several cones (approximately 4 to 7) and place them in a row. Each cone should be approximately 5 yards apart.
- Weave around the cones while dribbling the ball
- Make sure you use your weaker foot and focus on controlling the ball with both the inside and outside of your weak foot
- Repeat the course several times. Each time you go through the course, try to move around the cones at a faster pace
Dick’s Sporting Goods Youtube has a great video that shows this practice drill:
Consider Playing a Pick-Up Game of “Weak Foot” Soccer
Pick-up games provide you with a great opportunity to experience using your weaker foot in situations you may encounter during a real match.
Since the goal of the pick-up game is to help you improve your weaker foot, it doesn’t matter who you play against. Of course, the better, more skilled your opponents/teammates are during a pick-up game, the more you will improve. However, you can still learn valuable skills by playing against anyone, whether it be friends, family, younger players, neighbors or complete strangers, willing to take to the field and play a game of pick-up soccer with you.
Some things you can do during a pick-up game of soccer that will help you improve your weak foot include:
- Choosing a skill, such as passing back or shooting on goal, and commit to only doing that skill with your weak foot for the duration of the game
- Make the entire game a ‘weak foot’ game of soccer. This means that all players agree to pass, shoot or kick the ball with their non-dominant foot for the entire match.
- Play 3 Step and Pass – this version of pick-up soccer is played just like regular soccer. However, players are unable to freely run all over the field with the ball. Once a player gains possession of the ball, he or she will be able to take 3 steps and then be required to pass or shoot the ball. Playing this version of pick- up soccer won’t always be able to use your preferred foot. You will find yourself in situations where you are forced to use your weaker foot.
Daily Practice is Needed to Improve Your Weak Foot in Soccer
Performing strengthening exercises once or twice a week won’t be enough. If you want to see an improvement in your weak foot, you will need to make a commitment to practicing daily. With consistent, daily practice you will start to notice a difference in about a month.
No matter how hard you work to improve your weak foot, you will still have a preferred foot to use for kicking, shooting and passing. However, the goal is to be able to gain the skills and technique to be able to shoot or pass just as effectively with your weak foot as you do with your preferred foot.