If you are a soccer player who wants to get to the top of your game then you must be comfortable using both feet in any scenario. Anything you can do with 1 foot you must be able to do with the other. Whether you are shooting, passing, or dribbling these essential drills and tips on how to improve your weak foot in soccer will help you become a versatile and unpredictable player on the field.
Why you must improve your non-dominant foot in soccer
In soccer, some players are fortunate that they are ‘both footed’, which means they can perform skills, shots, and passes comfortably with either foot.
However, for the larger part of the soccer player base, it is more common for players to have a dominant foot and a weaker foot.
To get to the top level you must work extra hard to ensure that your weaker foot is as good as your dominant foot.
Here are 3 reasons why you must improve your weak foot in soccer:
Players who are comfortable on either foot can play in a variety of different positions and are not limited to a certain position because of the limitations of their weaker foot.
Whether you are joining a new team, there is a change in tactics, or new players/coaching staff coming into the team, being both footed will greatly increase of chances of being in the starting line-up.
This is because you will be easily able to adapt to different positions, roles, and expectations on the pitch and still have a positive influence on the game.
Whether you are either a defender being pressured by an opposing attacker or an attacker dribbling at a defender having plenty of skills, tricks, or turns to outwit an opponent makes their life a lot more difficult.
When you play, the opposing teams’ players will be taking mental notes on how you receive the ball, the different turns, and skills that you like doing as well as figuring out your dominant foot.
Figuring out your preferred foot is a key piece of how opposition players will defend against you because if they know you are predominantly right-footed they will apply pressure which will force you onto your left foot where you are more likely to make a mistake.
By improving your weak foot, players will be a lot more cautious pressuring you as they know you can turn left or right with relative ease.
As a player, your confidence when in possession of the ball will increase 10 fold. Once you have begun to master your weak foot everything becomes a lot easier and more natural, you give yourself a lot more options when you are on the ball because you are not limited to one foot.
Knowing that a defender will be a lot more cautious when pressuring you gives you a lot more time on the ball, therefore you can make better decisions while in possession of the ball.
Also, the confidence to take shots or make passes on your weaker foot can seriously improve the number of goals and assists you can make in a season.
Tips on how you can improve your weaker foot
When coaching my players on how to improve their weak feet in soccer these are the tips that I give them.
When players want to improve their weak foot they’ll try to hit the ball as hard as they can or take a shot on goal without building up an underlying base, which can frustrate a lot of players.
Take your time when practicing with your weak foot, practice with juggling/passing and receiving, then as you become more confident then start focusing on getting more power in your shots and passes.
Focus on your technique
With your dominant foot, you don’t have to think about your technique as much because it’s a lot more natural.
However with your weaker foot, especially when you are starting, you must focus on your technique.
Think about what part of the foot you want to hit the ball with, your body shape, and where your standing foot needs to be placed.
The more you repeat this process the more natural kicking the ball with your weaker foot will become.
This will only happen if you have a built-up solid kicking technique.
Do not be annoyed with yourself if you cannot get it straight away, consistency is key! The process of learning to kick with your weaker foot can take months and even years to master.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Everyone has to start somewhere, some players may find it easier than others but don’t let that put you off. The more you practice the better you get and over the long term, you will reap the rewards.
Practice in game-like scenarios
It doesn’t matter how often you practice with your weaker foot but if you cannot apply what you are learning to in-game scenarios then you will never truly master your weak foot.
A great way to practice with your weaker foot is in small-sided competitive soccer games where there is little to no pressure on winning.
These are great environments where you can practice using your weaker foot while still playing in game-like scenarios to that like a real game.
While you are playing you must consciously use your weak foot when it makes sense to do so.
You will make mistakes and it may feel awkward at first but this is the best way to learn!
Soccer drills that you can do to improve your weak foot in soccer
When my players come to me and ask what drills they can do on how to improve their weak foot in soccer, these are my go-to soccer drills to help them!
Juggling the soccer ball
This is a really basic soccer drill that can be done anywhere and it is a great exercise to start with if you are a beginner at using your weak foot.
This will also help improve your first touch in soccer and help time controlling the ball from the air if it is bouncing towards you.
Here are a few variations you can use:
- Drop, kick, catch
As the name suggests first you’re going to start with the ball in your hands and drop the ball on the side of your weaker foot, you will then kick the ball back up using your laces and attempt to catch the ball.
The ball should go no higher than your waist.
Once you can consistently catch the ball after kicking then you can move on to the next variation.
- Kick, bounce, kick
Instead of catching the ball, you are now going to let the ball bounce and attempt to kick it again. You will continue this process and see how many kicks then bounces’ in a row, you can get.
Again try and keep the ball around waist height, this is a great way to gauge how much power you need to keep the ball up without blasting it into the sky.
- Alternate feet juggling
This will be the trickiest juggling variation as it requires a lot more balance and coordination. This juggling variation will be continuous and instead of just using your weaker foot you are now going to use your more dominant foot as well.
Start with the ball in your hands and drop the ball on the side of your more dominant foot, you will then kick the ball to your weaker and then back to your dominant foot.
See how many times in a row you can juggle the soccer ball like this!
Dribbling soccer drill for your weaker foot
Being able to dribble with your weaker foot in soccer is a great advantage to have as it keeps defenders on their toes.
Below are some dribbling drills and different variations to use to help practice your weak foot dribbling skills.
- Big toe, little toe
This is a great way to practice manipulating the ball with your weaker foot.
This drill only requires a soccer ball.
In an area you are going to focus on moving the ball side to side while dribbling forward, you want to take touches alternating between the inside of your foot (using your big toe) and the outside of your foot (using your little toe).
Start slowly so you can focus on your technique then as you get more confident you can start speeding up your touches.
- Slalom cone dribble
This is an easy drill that requires very little setup.
For this drill place 6 cones in a line roughly 1 yard apart from each other, start with your soccer ball on one end of the cones, dribbling the soccer through the cones, and back again to where you started using only your weaker foot.
To challenge yourself you time your slaloms to see how fast you can do it or you can reduce the gap between the cones so your touches on the ball have to be more precise.
- Zig-zag cone dribble
This is similar to the slalom dribble however instead of the cones being in a straight line they are in a zig-zag pattern, this is more beneficial for changing direction with your weaker foot.
Once you are comfortable dribbling through the zig-zag pattern you can start to introduce and practice different soccer skills when you from one cone to another.
Being able to pass and receive the ball with both feet is essential to any soccer player. By being able to pass and receive the ball with both feet you will have a lot more options available to you and help your team retain possession of the soccer ball.
- Weak footwall passing
For this soccer drill, all you need is a wall (or another vertical flat surface that a ball bounces off of) and a ball.
Passing a ball into a wall is great for improving your passing and receiving because closely mimics passes you would be receiving or making in a game of soccer.
For this drill start with the ball at your weaker foot about 5 yards away from the wall. Use your weak foot to pass the ball against the wall using the inside of your foot and control it again using your weak foot.
Here are some different variations you can use:
- Pass with the weak foot and control with the dominant foot back onto the weak foot
- Pass with the dominant foot and control with the weak foot back onto your dominant foot.
You can also practice receiving the ball using the inside of your back foot and the outside of your back foot.
This is one of the harder skills to get the hang of as it requires a lot more hand-foot coordination and timing.
Using the wall again or a partner to throw you the ball is a great way to improve your weak foot volleys.
For this exercise start with the ball in your hands about 5 yards away and throw the ball underarm against the wall.
When the ball bounces back to you use the inside of your weak foot to hit the ball back against the wall for you to try and catch it again.
If you are confident you can try to see how many sidefoot volleys in a row you can kick against the wall.
Another variation of this drill is to use your laces instead but this will be harder as the surface area of your laces is a lot small than the inside of your foot.
Striking the ball with a partner
Now that you have practiced the basics, the next technique is the hardest skill to acquire. This is a basic fun soccer drill that works on striking the ball and controlling the ball with your weaker foot.
With your partner, you want to stand roughly 15 yards away and play a drilled pass to them using the laces of your weaker foot. The ball should stay low to the ground.
Here are some coaching points I give to my players when I am teaching them how to strike the ball with their laces:
- Your standing foot should be in line with the soccer ball with your toes pointing in the direction you want to kick it in
- To keep the ball low, your chest and head should be over the ball
- The foot you are kicking the ball with must be pointed straight, ankle locked, and slightly twisted so that the heel of your kicking foot is facing the ankle of your standing foot.
- Strike the ball in the center of the ball the ball
This is also a great way to practice controlling the ball with your weaker foot from a firmer pass.
You can also vary the way you strike the ball by leaning back instead of forward. This will help get the ball in the air when you need to cross the ball, take a shot or switch the field of play.
To make this more competitive introduce a 2 x 2 yard square for yourself and your partner. If you can control and pass and you can make it stop within the square you will get 1 point. To keep your partner on their toes you can vary the different types of passes.
Weak foot finishing drills
If you are a striker and looking to score as many chances as possible you are going to need to improve your weak foot. You can’t be fussy when it comes to chances and that even means taking shots on your weaker foot.
This finishing drill will help you tidy up on your weaker foot finishing and helping you get more shots on target and more goals.
Depending on which foot is your weaker foot then the drill will vary slightly.
First of all, set your goal with 2 gates roughly 1 yard in width in the corners (you can also include a partner to go in goal for you.
Set up to cones on the edge of the box, one on the left side and the right side.
For example, if your weaker foot is your left foot then you will start on the right hand.
Dribble towards the cone as if you are cutting in from the right-wing.
Perform a skill on the cone that will take you inside onto your left foot and then have a shot on target.
Once you have performed 10 repetitions of this you will then move over to the left-wing, where you will dribble towards the cone on the left side of the box.
Instead of using a skill to cut inside you will now use a skill to down the outside and take a shot with your left foot.
repeat this 10 times.
If you can score a goal between the gates (which should be in the corners) give yourself 3 points, if you score a goal without it going through the gates then that will be one point.
How to coach your players to use their weak feet in practice
As a coach, you want to help encourage players to use their weak feet as often as possible in the appropriate situations.
Sometimes it can be frustrating watching players go out of their way to use their dominant foot when it would have been a lot easier to take a touch, pass, or shot with their weak foot.
Here are some tips you can use as a coach to help improve your player’s weak foot in soccer:
Introduce game conditions/ risk vs reward scoring system
A great way to encourage players to use their weaker feet is by altering the conditions of the game they are playing.
For example, a condition that you could introduce would be one where players can take 2 touches with their dominant foot and unlimited touches with their weaker foot.
A really fun risk vs reward condition would be that if players can take a shot on goal with their weaker foot it’ll be worth one point, however, if they score with their weaker foot it will be worth 3 points.
These will encourage players to consciously think about using their weak feet in game-like scenarios without giving them too much restriction.
When you see players taking shots or passes with their weak feet, make sure as a coach you go out of your way to praise them.
Kids loved to be praised and they’ll all take an opportunity to do something if it means they get praised.
Regardless of the outcome, you must praise your players for trying, remember it’s lessons learned not mistakes made.
Trying and failing is the first step to succeeding.
Hopefully, this post gives you some great tips and ideas on how to improve your weak foot in soccer whether you are a player or a coach who is looking to better and challenge their players.
Remember that consistency is key!
This is a month-on-month, year-on-year process. The more you practice the better you get!
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