How To Curve A Soccer Ball? (The Right Way)

Have you ever heard the phrase ”Bend it like Beckham”? Of course you did, everybody knows it.

Bending the soccer ball (or curving it) is an essential skill, and it also happens to be my favorite type of shot, pass, and even crossing technique. That’s because it’s a reliable asset to have. 

And it’s relatively easy to learn and master, especially for beginners.

So I suggest you grab your ball, learn how to do it and start training by doing some drills you picked up from your favorite soccer app.

And let’s all learn how to curve a soccer ball the right way!

Step-By-Step Tutorial To Curve A Soccer Ball

Let’s first look at the step-by-step guide on how to curve a soccer ball. You will need a good pair of soccer cleats, a good inflated soccer ball, and some room to practice shooting.

Step 1: Starting Position

There are two ways to approach the ball: Either from a free-kick standpoint or while running with the ball. 

But for beginners, let us start at the freekick position, and with time you will be good enough to curve a soccer ball while running and dribbling with it.

Wherever you are, bending the ball requires you to be at either 90-degree or 45-degree angle from it. If it’s a free kick, then you need to be roughly 2-3 steps away.

angles to approach a curved shot

NOTE: Once you master the free-kick technique, you can apply the same concept mid-run. All you need to do is, while you run, get the ball at either a 90 or 45-degree angle from you. This can be done by a dribbling sequence where the last touch before the strike (the setup touch) is where you tap the ball at the appropriate angle.

Step 2: The Planting Foot

Planting the foot is one of the most important steps to curve a ball in my opinion. That’s because it sets up the next steps, making them much easier.

You should plant your foot about 6 inches away from the ball. Too far from it and you will miss your target, and too close will make you hit your own leg (a very painful experience if you ask me).

When you plant your foot, the toes should point slightly aside from your target on the soccer net (if you’re curving right, then point them at the right of your target, etc.)

This is because the curve will redirect it back to your target. You have to take account of that.

It should look something like this:

how to planting foot should be placed

Step 3: The Point Of Contact

When trying to curve the ball, you must use the inside of the kicking foot. All of this area will make the ball spin, but the sweet spot is between the laces and the inside of the cleats.

striking zone on the foot for a curved shot

When you kick the ball with the inside foot, your toes should be pointing upwards (this will create the spins), and the ankle should be locked.

A loose ankle is good for ball control, but not when striking it.

Now, where do we make contact with the ball?

You should strike the lower side of the ball. This area is the best to get that curve effect, with some height and side spin.

Here’s how the ball dynamics and physics work:

  • The lower you strike the ball, the more height you get.
  • Striking under the ball (too low) will create a backspin…that’s not good for a shot.
  • Pointing your foot upwards will create a forward spin, which will bring the ball down.
  • What creates the curving is the side spin: By “brushing” the ball with your inside foot.
  • The bigger the follow-through, the more spin on the ball you have.

Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense for now. By the end of this guide, you will understand. Here’s where you should hit the ball:

striking zone for how to curve a soccer ball

Step 4: Your Body Positioning When Striking

Remember the cat meme? This is how you should like when curving a ball…I’m not even kidding.

When striking, your upper body should be hunched forward, chest over the ball. Curving a ball with a body laid back will send it flying off target, trust me…

You should slightly bend your planting foot’s knee. This should be done when you plant your foot, and you should hold it until you strike.

Your opposite arm should be swinging. If you are striking with the right foot, your left arm should be swinging. This is to balance out your body.

It should look like this (although the cat was good enough)

body positioning when curving a shot

Step 5: The Follow-Through

My favorite step is the follow-through. I love it because I love exaggerating it…it doesn’t hurt your shot, and it looks cool.

After you hit the ball, the leg should keep swinging in a curved manner (the same trajectory as the ball, kind of like you foreshadowing the trajectory).

The foot that follows through is already pointing upwards. You simply raise it more, and bring it to the side to create both a side spin and forward spin.  

follow through after a curved shot

Learn Other Soccer Skills

Extra Tips To Master The Skill

Now you know how to curve a soccer ball, congratulations. 

Before you jump into training the shot, here are my tips to improve your shot success rate:

  1. Don’t forget to lock the ankle…it’s important
  2. When running towards the ball, take your time. 
  3. Do not rush anything. If you want speed, it will happen with experience and time, not by rushing.
  4. Practice the shot at different angles to understand the dynamics of the curved shot.
  5. If the shot was missed, it is most likely because you missed a step. It’s hard to shoot and make sure all the steps are done correctly, but we must be mindful.

Focus first on getting the technique right. Only then can you start practicing in a drill manner. If you want to get better at soccer, you need to learn to work your way up and not miss steps.

Best Drills To Curving A Soccer Ball Like A Pro

As we know, the best way to improve anything in life is by doing it over and over again. Get yourself a partner and some soccer training equipment to set up the drills.

Here are my best drills to master the curve shot. It’s important to understand that while these are shooting drills, they apply to any soccer position since curving the ball can benefit any player:

  1. Start at point A and dribble forward towards point B.
  2. At point B, cut inside sharply, but not too rushed. Do not overlook that step, concentrate on selling that move by dropping the shoulder.
  3. Once inside, shoot a curved ball to the far post in the zone marked between the cone and the post. As soon as you get better, start shooting at the near post to add unpredictability to that move.
curved crossing drill
  1. Start at either side of the field. Your partner should be in the box.
  2. Cross a curved ball inside the box for your partner to meet and score. The cross must be curved away from the goalkeeper as this is how you catch him off position.

NOTE: For the best soccer drills to practice curving the ball, I suggest getting a digital coach in the form of an app: Read Best Soccer Training Apps to choose an app that suits you.

Final Thoughts

Now you know what curving a soccer ball requires: technique and repetition.

Once you manage to get the freekick version of the kick, you can level up to shooting mid-run and eventually, this kick will become second nature to you.

Whether it’s a cross, a shot on goal, or a well-whipped pass, I think every soccer player will benefit from knowing how to curve a soccer ball.

FAQs

How do I curve a soccer ball?

To curve a soccer ball, you will need to spin the ball in a specific way by using the inside of your foot. This technique allows you to make the ball curve to the left or right depending on the direction you want.

What is the best way to hit a curve ball?

The best way to practice curving a soccer ball is by setting up a cone and trying to curve the ball around it. Make sure to follow the proper technique and apply the right amount of power to achieve the desired curve.

How can I make the ball curve during a game?

To make the ball curve during a game, you need to practice curving the ball at different angles and mastering the technique of applying spin to the ball with the top or side of your foot.

What causes the ball to curve when kicked?

The ball curves when kicked due to the spin applied to it. By striking the ball in a certain way and adding extra spin, you can make the ball curve in a specific direction.

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