This article will explain the basic structure we'll be working with in this course, and a bit of the terminology that will be applied.
Different play modes
When playing soccer, there are basically 3 different 'playing states' you can be in:
- Defending: The opponent has the ball and is trying to score against you. You are trying to prevent this from happening.
- Attacking: Your team has the ball, but not you. You're now trying to get into good positions to make sure your team keeps the ball and to keep the attack going
- You have the ball: Your team is attacking, and now you have the ball. This is of course the most important moment to you, as you now need to decide whether to shoot, pass, or start dribbling/running. Most of this guide will be about how you can improve your own skills, but never forget the importance of knowing what to do when the other two states are current.
As you know, in soccer you're not allowed to use any part of both arms. The rest of the body can be used however you like. However, the parts most often used (as they provide the best control) are thighs, chest, head and of course your feet. You'll learn about using the other parts later (in 'receiving the ball'), now I'll just tell you all the different ways you can control or touch a ball with your foot.
- Inside The inside of your foot is the part most people learn to use as they grow up, as it is the easiest and most natural movement. The inside of your foot can be used for anything (passing, shooting, dribbling), as it is the most accurate touch (but slower than others).
- Outside The outside of your foot is the hardest to learn and use. This too can be used for anything, it just makes the ball move and bend in the opposite direction.
- Laces Your laces refer to the upper part of your shoe. Shooting with this part of the foot gives you a lot of power, but sacrifices in accuracy. With combination of laces+inside/outside you can make a ball spin and go enormously fast at the same time.
- Heel The heel is almost never used, because it requires some unnatural leg movement and much training to pull it off. You can do a backheel volley, but that's very hard, and it's best use is therefore a simple backheel pass on ground level.
- Bottom The bottom of your foot is used for stopping and trapping a ball under your foot. It's often deployed to receive and control a pass, to protect the ball or as part of a certain trick to get past a defender. Also, in very tight situations in front of goal, you can slide or karate-jump towards the ball and hit it with the bottom. Success not guaranteed.
- Toes You should never hit a ball with toes only, as that gives zero control or power, and it hurts very much. However, just as the bottom of the foot, it can be a decisive move to just slightly redirect the ball to get it where you want.
Before we continue, just a few things to clarify what we're talking about all the time:
- Kicking Foot: The foot that swings and kicks the ball
- Standing Foot (Non-Kicking Foot): The foot that stands still and next to the ball as the other one performs the kicking.