For kids ages 4-7 the development of this singular football skill can potentially double the number of goals and great passes for them this season. The cool thing is that this simple skill is easy to teach, but it takes a lot of repetitions to develop.
The skill we are referring to the skill of kicking equally with both feet. This skill will make your kid’s accomplishments on the football field take off, it is simply the most important football skill for kids to develop. During the years of football coaching we have noted one significant difference in the top scoring players on a team, that they have nearly equal ball handling and shooting skills with both feet.
The benefits of being able to use both feet on the football field means that the kid is always ready to shoot or pass. If a kid can only kick with one foot he needs to stop or settle the ball and attempt to get his body turned and in position to kick it with his strong foot, this gives the defenders time to move in and take away the possibility of a great scoring chance.
Often the player tries to kick the ball with his weak foot, but since it is his weak foot the ball rolls slowly toward the goal and the goalie easily pounces on it. At times the player tries to kick it with his strong foot and his body is better aligned to kick it with the opposite foot, he then either fans on the ball or kicks it wide of the goal.
By practicing to develop both feet is not just about scoring goals, it comes into play every time a kid has possession of the ball. It helps him make a move to his right or left to go around a defender. He will be able to dribble faster and more efficiently without breaking stride to adjust and advance the ball with only one foot. It will help him make a quick pass to an open player on either side of his body. It will also help him to clear the ball up the side-line on defense instead of just kicking it out-of-bounds.
At First Touch we have found that the earlier we help kids develop skills with both feet the better. If he/she learns it during his/her first year of playing he/she is less likely to develop a “strong” foot and he/she will have equal confidence in both feet.
Teaching this skill is extremely simple and most kids understand the concept pretty quickly. Starting by kicking the ball back and forth to kids by alternating which side of his body we kick it to and calling out which foot he should kick with, RIGHT FOOT or LEFT FOOT. This helps give him/her visual reference of the concept.
Next we play a game of “long kickback” to help him/her build strength in his/her legs, as well as passing games using both feet, then we following with dribbling games.
If a kid already has a dominant foot it is no big deal, we just play these games and tell him/her to use only his/her weak foot. Once kids starts to use their former weak foot without being reminded they deserve a lot of praise. Soon we have found that the kids makes a point to tell us when they have scored using their left foot and they think if is a pretty big deal. For coach it is also a pretty big deal.