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Modifying the Instep Drive

MODIFYING THE INSTEP DRIVE

Once players have mastered the basic instep drive, the players may be introduced to modifications to the instep drive that provide the basis for a host of further kicking skills.  These modifications include such things as the parts of the ball being struck, the striking surfaces of the instep, body position, placement of the non-kicking foot, and leg swing.  The resulting kicking skills include such things as lofted balls, chips, “bended” balls like inswingers and outswingers (“banana” or “swerve” kicks), volleys, half-volleys, and a number of shooting options.

It is very important that players are introduced to the modifications and terminology to the instep drive prior to the introduction of the kicking skills.  This is necessary so that the players will have the foundation to understand the instruction and demonstration associated with each of the kicking skills when they are presented. The recommended progression for introducing the modifications to the instep drive is:

Parts of the Ball

Striking Surfaces of the Instep

Body Position

Placement of the Non-Kicking (Plant) Foot

Leg Swing

Demonstrations

 Parts of the Ball

Coaches need to describe to their players the terms that they will be using when discussing the parts of the ball to be contacted in certain kicking techniques.  It must be noted that very young players are quite literal and have a simple understanding of certain words.  Coaches need to be careful, therefore, to use terms that are age-appropriate.  For example, to small children the “top” of the ball is the point closest to the sky and the “bottom” of the ball is the point in contact with the ground.  They will not understand “mid-line,” “mid-point,” “axis,” “horizontal,” or “vertical.”

The ball is to be viewed as if the player’s vision was at ground-level.  (Actually lying down on the ground to face the ball can be fun for children.)  If players can recognize this conceptually, the coach may pick up the ball and hold it at eye level.  The coach needs to then specifically point to the parts of the ball and identify:

The center or mid-point of the ball.

The midline or horizontal axis, running from left to right through the midpoint.

The upper-half or “top” of the ball.

The lower-half or “bottom.”

The vertical axis running from the top to the bottom of the ball.

The right-half or right-side.

The left-half or left-side.

The lower-right or lower-right quadrant of the ball.

The lower-left or the lower-left quadrant.

 Striking Surfaces of the Instep

Coaches need to describe to their players the terms that they will be using when discussing the parts of the instep to be contacted in certain kicking techniques. The foot should be placed out in front of the body and angled to be viewed from above.  The coach needs to then specifically point to each part of the foot and identify the following:

The top-center of the instep, closest to the ankle.

The bottom-center of the instep, closer to the toes.

The left side of the instep (“half-instep”) between the true instep and the inside of the foot.

The right side of the instep (“half-instep”) between the true instep and the outside of the foot.

Body Position

Coaches need to describe to their players the terms that they will be using when discussing the position of the body, in relation to the ball, involved in certain kicking techniques. The coach needs to then specifically demonstrate and identify the following:

Approaching the ball

Body (torso) over top of the ball

Knee over top of the ball

Body to the side of the ball

Body behind the ball

Body lean

The importance of maintaining proper balance and the use of the arms to do so; and arm swing while kicking

Placement of the Non-Kicking (Plant) Foot

 Coaches need to describe to their players the terms that they will be using when discussing the placement or positioning of the non-kicking or “plant” foot, in relation to the ball, involved in certain kicking techniques. The coach needs to then specifically demonstrate and identify the following:

Beside the ball

Behind the ball

In front of the ball

Coaches need to further discuss that the placement of the plant foot is critical because it establishes hip placement, hip placement determines leg swing, and leg swing determines the flight of the ball.

Leg Swing

Coaches need to describe to their players the terms that they will be using when discussing the leg swing and actual contact of the ball as involved in certain kicking techniques. The coach needs to then specifically demonstrate and identify the following:

The angle of the foot

Follow through or little-or-no follow through after contact

Seeing the foot actually kick the ball

The application of power to achieve certain results

Demonstrations of Kicking Skills

 Upon completion of the discussions and demonstrations identified above, coaches should then describe and demonstrate the following kicks, using the appropriate terms:

Lofted balls

Chips

Shooting high and low on a goal

“Bended” balls like inswingers and outswingers (“banana” or “swerve” kicks)

One-touch

Volleys

Half-volleys

 During these demonstrations of kicking skills, coaches should further discuss the concepts of: 

 Creating spin (‘english”) on the ball, including backspin/underspin and sidespin, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, and why spin works

The flight of the ball, including height, lack of height, the effects of spin

The effects of both height and spin

 Soccer Coaching Tips

 Demonstrations should also be performed while facing in the same direction as the players.

 As with all demonstration of skills and techniques, both feet need to be shown or used equally.

 “Keep your toes down” is essentially a meaningless phrase when trying to help players kick balls low to the ground.  The problem of skied balls is almost always associated with the leg being on the upswing as the ball is being struck.  This is fixed by proper placement of the plant foot and getting the body over the ball.  Players can have their toes down and curled and their ankles down and locked, but if their leg is on the upswing, the ball will go up.

 Seeing the foot contact the ball can’t be overstated.  The analogy with golf is that of missing the shot because of looking up to see the shot you didn’t get because you looked up.

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John Harves

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