A free kick is one of the best opportunities to score a goal in soccer. However, taking the perfect free kick is often easier said than done. The individual taking the free kick must adhere to several regulations and deal with the added pressure of all eyes on them.
This guide to free kicks and how to take them flawlessly will help you take advantage of these situations to help lead your team to victory.
Table of Contents
What Is a Free Kick?
A free kick is an opportunity for a team to start the game in possession of the ball. A free kick takes place when the opposing team performs a foul. The free kick is an unopposed kick taken where the foul occurred. Play restarts when the ball moves.
There are two free kicks in soccer: an indirect free kick and a direct free kick.
Indirect free kick
An indirect kick restarts the game with the team on the receiving end of the foul in possession. Another player must touch the ball before scoring a goal.
Indirect free kicks are more misunderstood than direct free kicks. Here’s a quick video about indirect free kicks described by a professional soccer referee.
Direct free kick
A direct kick takes place with the ball placed stationary on the ground and the opposing players at least 10 yards away. The offensive team can score a goal without another player touching the ball.
What Causes a Free Kick in Soccer?
A variety of fouls can result in a free kick for the opposing team. Fouls are actions performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force.
Referees most commonly give free kicks for fouls that can cause physical damage to a player. A referee may also give a free kick when a player touches the ball with their hand.
A few examples of fouls that result in direct free kicks include:
- careless tackles
- tripping, pushing or striking another player
- taking the ball from the goalie illegally
An indirect free kick takes place when a player commits a foul that does not involve physical contact. A referee may signal an indirect kick if a player attempts a reckless tackle but does not touch the opposing player. Another common cause for an indirect kick is foul language.
Causes for indirect kicks include:
- attempts to cause harm to other players without success
- foul language
- the goalkeeper holds the ball in their hands for too much time
- attempting to take the ball from a goalie illegally
How a Free Kick Works
A kicker must follow several rules to take a free kick correctly. Those rules include the following:
- the ball must be stationary before being kicked
- the ball must move when kicked
- opposing players must be at least 10 yards from the ball
- the kicker can not touch the ball twice before another player touches it
The referee will ask the team to retake the kick if they disregard the rules above. Or, the referee may award a free-kick to the opposing team for blatant disregard of the above regulations.
How to Take a Free Kick
Become excellent at free kicks, and you’ll become the go-to kicker on your team. That means you can score more goals and lead your team to victory.
There are several steps to take before taking a free kick and while the kick is taking place.
Before Taking the Free Kick
Place the ball in the general area where the referee points. There is leeway with where you place the ball. Choose a spot that is grassy and even.
Carefully examine the wall of opposing players in front of you and the position of the goalie. This is your chance to decide where and how hard you want to kick the ball.
Take a couple of steps back before kicking the ball. More steps only give the goalie more time to determine where you’re going to kick.
Take a deep breath to calm your nerves. Free kicks can be intimidating because the crowd is watching, and they offer many opportunities to score. Relax your muscles to perform your best shot.
Take one more look at the wall and the goalie. A free kick may also offer an opportunity to cross, in which case you want to know the exact position of your teammate too.
During the Kick
The goal is to get the ball past the wall and into the goal or to your teammate. The wall is the first obstacle to present itself.
You can move the ball past the wall by kicking it in the air, on the ground, or bending it around. Mastering a “bend” can take years, but it is the most effective way to get the ball past the wall and the goalie. A bend reduces the risk of the ball going over the wall and the goal.
Kicking the ball on the ground is often effective if the wall has jumped during previous free kicks. They’ll likely jump again, and you can slip the ball under their feet toward the goal.
Kicking the ball over the wall takes practice, as it can easily go too high over the wall and over the crossbar too. Remember not to lean back or kick the bottom of the ball, as these methods often cause the ball to fly too high. Instead, put your place foot wide and follow through, ending with your kicking leg high in the air.
Additional Free Kick Tips
Professional soccer players know the pressure that comes with taking a free kick. The following are a few additional tips to lead to free kick success.
- Practice kicking the ball over the wall, under the wall, and bending it around the wall. Repetition of these actions is what leads to game time success.
- Tell your teammates you’re willing to take the free kick as soon as the foul occurs. Be confident in your free kicks before offering to take them.
- Tell your coach you’re interested in taking free kicks. Show that you’ve been practicing and consistently make accurate kicks.
- Practice crosses in addition to direct shots. Crosses can result in goals and add more tricks to your team’s arsenal.
- Kick the ball over the wall with power. Chip shots are weak, and most goalies can defend them.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice is the key to all success in the sport of soccer. You can practice free kicks with your team, alone, or with a few friends to serve as the wall.
The following are a couple of our favorite videos to improve your free kick technique and become the go-to kicker on your team.
5 Ways to Improve Your Free Kicks:
How to Take the Perfect Free kick:
If you are the defending team, read our guide on defending free kicks.