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How to strike the ball cleanly and accurately

Tips from Coach Dennis Ikogho

One of the hardest things to do in football is to score a goal. It takes quick wits, judgement and a good striking technique to get the ball into the back of the net. When hit with the right technique, the ball can fly quickly and accurately even with little power behind it though it isn’t as easy as it looks on screen.

Being a good striker of the ball takes a lot of practice and with the right training, you can be the next Robert Lewangoalski Lewandowski.

In our training series helping the common footballers improve their performance, we speak to Coach Dennis Ikogho from ESPZEN Soccer School to get tips on improving your technical performance. In this iteration, Coach Dennis shares the important steps you need to take to execute the perfect strike.

An aggressive run-up towards the ball

How to strike the ball - Dennis Ikogho ESPZen soccer school
An aggressive run helps channel more power

Create momentum and power by having an aggressive run-up towards the ball. The more aggressive your run, the harder you tend you hit – and you do want to hit the ball with power to have it fly past the goalkeeper.

“Don’t forget to follow through with your run. Don’t stop running after striking but allow your momentum to move you a few steps forward after you hit the ball,” Coach Dennis advised.

“Following through allows you to put yourself in the right frame of mind to put all your forward momentum into your motion, giving you the best chance of maximum power,” he added.

Plant your supporting foot alongside the ball

How to strike the ball - Dennis Ikogho ESPZen soccer school

One often overlooked part of the shooting technique is your planting foot. Make sure it is planted parallel and alongside to the ball. This keeps your striking foot close to the ball and ensures you hit the ball at the optimum angle of swing for maximum power. Standing too far back or forward might make kicking the ball too awkward for you.

“Whichever way your planted foot faces, that is the general direction the ball is moving to. The position of your planted foot will guide your body towards striking in that direction so be mindful of this,” shares Coach Dennis.

Lean forward

How to strike the ball - Dennis Ikogho ESPZen soccer school
Lean forward with your arm stretched out for balance

Leaning forward is another technique that helps channel power into your shot but also ensures the right flight path of the ball. Make sure your body is almost over the ball at the point of striking. This provides added momentum coupled with that aggressive run-up and it makes you feel more in control of the shot. Leaning too far back might also result in you hitting the ball too high up above the cross bar so make sure your body leans forward.

Strike the centre of the ball with your laces

How to strike the ball - Dennis Ikogho ESPZen soccer school

Speaking of trajectory, the right spot to strike the ball is through the centre. Hit it too low and the ball goes sky high. Hit it too high and you’re driving the ball into the ground.

You’ll also want to strike the ball with the hardest and broadest part of your foot – the area along your two biggest toes or as the old pros call it, “the laces”.

“To do this, you have to tilt your foot down so that this broad area can come in contact with the ball. And don’t forget to lock your ankles when striking. You want your foot rigid like a baseball bat to transfer as much power as you can. If it’s loose, you will not make proper contact and won’t be able to transfer enough power from your leg to the ball,” shares Coach Dennis.

Special thanks to the good people of ESPZEN Soccer Schools for working with us on training tips to improve your football skills. If you’re keen to sign up for classes, they have classes for kids and adults. Follow our Insta-stories for updates as we take you through each week’s classes.

Finally, a big thank you to The Cage at HYFA for allowing us to shoot on their newly relaid 11-a-side turf. Do visit The Cage if you’re looking for a pristine pitch to play on after Covid19 restrictions have lifted.

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