4 Types of Free Kicks & When to Use Them
Every soccer player should learn the different types of free kicks even if they never plan on mastering them. Since so many goals are scored off of free kicks, knowing how to kick them and react to them can make you a better all-around player. Be sure to work on the basics of soccer before you work on your free kicks, though.
Remember that before you decide on the type of free kick you are going to take, you need to know where you want to kick it. A mistake that many soccer players make is deciding that they want to take a certain type of free kick before they look at what’s going on in front of them. So, before you attempt one of the free kicks listed below, look at how the wall is set up and have an idea of how goalkeepers react to up your chances of scoring.
Curved Free Kick
The most common type of free kick in soccer, the curved free kick allows players to make the ball swerve one way or the other. The reason why it is so popular is because a well hit curved free kick is difficult for goalkeepers to get to even when they are positioned perfectly.
The curled free kick is also popular because you can use it from most distances and angles around the goal. Once you have mastered your own style of curled free kick, you just have to make sure that you can supply the power and curl to get around the obstacles in front of you.
One scenario where the curved free kick may not be the best option is when the goalkeeper has a clear line of site to you (and the ball). A small wall can sometimes cause this, and it gives goalies the advantage since they can anticipate the direction of the curve.
Driven / Power Free Kick
All of the other free kicks mentioned on this page can be hit with pace, but what makes the power free kick different is that you need to put all of your kicking force behind it. It should be the hardest under-control shot that you can muster, which means that any movement that the ball makes will be minimal.
The driven free kick is a very low-percentage shot, but it is also one of the toughest free kicks to stop. Goalies not only have to get over quickly to stop the ball, they also have to have very strong hands to be able to parry it away.
Driven free kicks are the best option when you are a good distance from the goal and have a strong enough shot to make it to one of the corners before the keeper can stop it. Very few players master the power free kick, so most players use it to surprise opposing goalies when they are preparing for a pass into the box.
Dipping Free Kick
The dipping free kick is a great kick to watch in slow motion since it seems to defy physics. The snapping action of the ball, which is created by kicking up and through the ball, makes it possible to get it up and over walls very quickly. Goalies often don’t expect the dipping free kick, so they are often too slow to react to stop it.
As long as you aren’t too far away from goal and you can aim at most of the goal, the dipping free kick is a pretty good option. However, if you are too close to the goal, it can be difficult to get the ball to go up and down and into the goal.
Knuckleball Free Kick
The knuckleball free kick is easily the toughest free kick to master since you have to hit the ball perfectly in the sweet spot of the ball (just above the middle). This isn't the type of shot that you will take when you are first learning how to kick a soccer ball, so it can take some time to learn.
The knuckleball free kick is the most unpredictable free kick to stop because the ball can spin anywhere. If you can get the ball to knuckle, it can be one of the most difficult shots for goalkeepers to deal with.
The best time to take to employ the knuckleball free kick is when you have enough distance to get it up an over the wall, but not so much distance that the ball starts to straighten out. You can take these free kicks from most angles in front of the goal, but the closer to the middle of the field you are, the more unpredictable your kick will be.
If you want to see the modern master of the knuckleball free kick, here’s a video of some of Cristiano Ronaldo’s best.
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