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How To Curve A Soccer Ball
Bend it like Groom. Add an edge to your shots by learning how to curve a soccer ball with professional athlete Shea Groom.
Witness the ball curving through the air, and you might just think an athlete like Shea Groom is dabbling in a bit of soccer magic. What looks like a normal shot ends with the ball veering in a new direction, escaping any head-on prediction the goalkeeper might have had. Curving the soccer ball—also known as bending—is what gives Groom’s shots a competitive edge. As a forward for the Houston Dash, she uses her skills to turn tricky shots into goals for her team. “Bending is important because it really deceives the goalkeeper, deceives the defenders, and just puts that little extra spin on the ball that creates a good goal-scoring opportunity,” said Groom.
How To Bend a Soccer Ball
Bending a soccer ball is when you use your kick to put spin on the ball and control the direction of your strike by making it curve through the air. It’s a useful skill to be able to get the ball past the goalie, pass to a teammate or change course and get past your opponent’s defensive players. Learning how to bend a soccer ball will take your game to the next level. The bend will allow you to deceive the goalkeeper and your opponents.
Bending a soccer ball is an advanced technique and learning to master this skill will add a level of complexity and surprise to your shooting ability.
Step 1: Contact Point
The foot and ball connection in the game of soccer is sacred. Connecting your foot with the ball at the right point will create a beautiful curve.
- Contact the ball with the area of your foot right below your big toe, just before your arch begins.
- Imagine there’s a line around the middle of the ball. You want to make contact with the ball just under that line, which gives the ball an upward curving movement.
- As you shoot, lock your ankle and point your toes upward, which helps you curve around the ball to create the bend.
Step 2: Foot Placement
Proper foot placement creates stability and allows your hips to swing around the ball, encouraging a strong curve.
- Run up to the ball at an angle—this allows space to be able to curve the ball.
- Plant your supporting foot at a slight angle next to the ball. An angled foot creates side spin which enhances the curve.
- Your foot should be slightly behind the ball, with a few inches of space in between.
Step 3: Follow-Through
Good follow-through is what will make or break your bend. What births the bend is the motion of your hip sweeping around.
- As you kick the ball, swing your hip around in a sweeping semi-circle motion to create spin.
- Lean your torso over the ball a little bit as you shoot it. If you lean too far back the ball will get too much height and might fly over the goal.
Curving the Ball: Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Learning how to curve a soccer ball isn’t something you’ll pick up in a day. Understanding the art of the curve takes time, dedication, and repetition. Groom believes that with repetition comes mastery. “I think repetition with anything makes you a master at it. And in my game, things that I work on the most end up being such a crucial part and crucial skills that make me different and make me special,” said Groom. “So anytime that you can get more repetition on the ball, I think you're going to be a better player.”
Take it slow, and with practice you will become a bending sensation. Dive into some of our other 3-Stripes Sessions on soccer techniques like juggling, dribbling and shooting to further enhance your skills. Let’s kick it out of the park!
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