Bend it Like That One Guy!

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Watching the pros, like some of the Orlando Pride players, cut a ball and bend it around the wall on a free kick or take a curling shot in mid-stride over a goal keeper is one fascinating visual experience, but have you ever wondered how they did that?  Here are some steps and tips to help you bend, cut, or curve your shot like a pro.  Now remember, this is not for beginners and takes a lot of practice to not only perfect, but to even execute correctly.  So, we recommend you try this at home kids.

We can get very scientific about the process, but we will explain it in basic terms so everyone can understand. 

So, here are the 7 basic steps to bending a ball:

  1. Place the ball on the ground on the left side of 18-yard line.
  2. Take about three steps back and two to the side.
  3. Look at the point of the ball where you want to hit it. If you want it to swerve to the right, kick the ball on the left side, and visa-versa for swerving it to the left. It is much easier to start out with curving the ball to the left.
  4. Feel the inside of your shooting foot, and just below the end of your big toe bone is where you should make contact with the ball. Take a running start. Aim for a bottom-right panel on the ball. Place your planting foot at a 45 degree angle toward the ball. When you actually kick, your kicking foot should wrap around to the left side of your body.
  5. Make sure to swing your hips to get the cutting motion across the face of the ball.
  6. Always keep your ankle locked and keep your body/chest over the ball.
  7. Follow through your shot and land on the same foot you struck the ball with.

Here are your tips to getting better!

  1. Practice, practice, practice.
  2. Aim to spin the ball as much as possible by dragging the foot across the back of the ball, and strike the opposite side of the ball to the direction you want it to go. For example, left-to-right makes the ball curve left, and right-to-left makes the ball curve right.
  3. If the ball is being struck on a stand still like a free kick, then it can sometimes be advantageous to position the valve that is used to inflate the ball as the target for the spot to strike. Despite the minimal weight, placing the ball with the valve on one side or the other of the ball can affect its flight.
  4. Again practice, practice, practice just like the Orlando Pride players would do!