If you want to be a successful and consistent soccer player, you need to learn how to lock your ankle. This is one of, if not, the most important skill you will learn as it is needed for both passing and scoring.
Table of Contents
- Why is Learning to Lock Your Ankle so Important in Soccer
- Lock the Ankle When Receiving a Pass
- Locking Your Ankle is Like Making a Fist with Your Toes
- Work With a Partner or Coach to Learn How to Lock Your Ankle
- Learning to Lock Your Ankle by Kicking a Non-Moving Ball
- Practice Kicking a Ball Against a Wall
- Consistent Practice is Key for Locking Your Ankle Come Game Time
Why is Learning to Lock Your Ankle so Important in Soccer
While you can kick the soccer ball without locking your ankle, you probably won’t get the results you want. The ball will not have the power or accuracy to go where you want it. Locking your ankle gives you control over the ball so you can pass it to your teammates or take a shot on goal.
Locking the ankle before kicking the ball will also prevent you from getting injured. Kicking the ball with a weak ankle, you can twist and injure the ankle or you can strain, sprain or damage the ligaments or muscles in the foot or leg. Kicking the ball with a strong, locked ankle will reduce your chances of getting injured while on the field.
Lock the Ankle When Receiving a Pass
Locking your ankle is an essential skill whether you are passing or shooting, but what about when you are receiving a pass? It comes in extremely helpful when you are on the receiving end of a pass from a teammate.
By locking your ankle when you receive a pass, you are prepared to control the ball. With the ankle locked, you can stop the ball, move it up the field, pass it to a teammate or take a shot on goal. If you were to receive a pass with a “weak” ankle, you might still be in possession of the ball, but you would not be in control of the ball which makes it extremely easy for your opponents to get the ball.
Locking Your Ankle is Like Making a Fist with Your Toes
To help you better understand what it means to lock your ankle, think of what happens when you make a fist with your hand. To make a fist, you have to tighten the ligaments and muscles in your hand. This turns your hand into a solid fist.
The concept behind locking your ankle is similar. You will be tightening the ligaments and muscles in your ankle and foot to create a sturdy, solid and powerful kick that can be used for both passing and shooting.
Work With a Partner or Coach to Learn How to Lock Your Ankle
One of the best ways to learn how to lock your ankle is to actually feel what it is like to lock the foot. The easiest way to do this is by working with a partner or coach who can help guide your foot into a locked position.
Working with a partner or coach to learn how to lock your ankle you will want to do the following:
- Hold the foot in your hand – have a coach or partner hold the foot still
- Encourage the player to tighten their ligaments and muscles in the ankle and foot
- Have the coach or partner try to move the toes up or down
The goal of this activity is to try and encourage the player to keep the foot solid and not allow the coach/partner to push or move the toes up or down.
Watch the video below from SimplySoccer to better understand how to do this exercise. Start watching at approximate 1:06 of the video.
Learning to Lock Your Ankle by Kicking a Non-Moving Ball
Another great activity that will help you learn how to lock your ankle is kicking a non-moving ball.
Do the following things to work on locking your ankle:
- Set up one or more soccer balls on the ground
- Stand near the ball and practice kicking the non-moving ball with a solid, locked ankle
- Kick each and every ball
The repetition of this activity is what makes it ideal for teaching you how to lock your ankle. The more you practice kicking a ball with a locked ankle, the easier it will be for you to do. Pretty soon, you will be able to pass or kick the ball without even thinking about the need to lock your ankle. It will just become second nature.
Practice Kicking a Ball Against a Wall
Once you have mastered the skill of locking your ankle while kicking a non-moving ball, you will want to practice on a moving ball. After all, the ball will most likely be moving when you are on the field.
The best way to practice locking your ankle while kicking a moving ball is to kick a ball against a wall. Each time you kick the ball against the wall, tell yourself to lock your ankle. Just like the activity above, eventually it will become second nature to kick a moving ball with a locked ankle.
The Global Futbol Training Youtube page has a great video that shows several passing drills you can do using a wall. These passing drills are great for those learning how to lock their ankle when kicking a moving ball:
Consistent Practice is Key for Locking Your Ankle Come Game Time
When you first start out playing, you will constantly have to remind yourself to “lock your ankle” when you take to the field. However, the more you practice, the more this essential soccer skill will become second nature to you. With consistent practice, you will eventually be able to shoot, pass and receive a pass with a locked ankle without even thinking about it.
It Takes Time to Learn to Lock Your Ankle in Soccer
Learning to lock your ankle is something that won’t happen overnight. It will take time for your body to develop the muscle memory it needs to properly lock the ankle when you are passing or shooting. With a little patience and a lot of practice, you will be able to consistently lock your ankle.