Passing & Striking with Becky Sauerbrunn

Your technique for how to kick a soccer ball should be dictated by whether you are passing to a teammate or taking a shot on goal. Becky Sauerbrunn shares her favorite pointers to be effective at both on the pitch.

Your specific kicking technique should be determined by whether you’re passing to a teammate or taking a shot on goal.

U.S. National Soccer Team defender Becky Sauerbrunn offers her pointers on two ways you can interact with the ball and move it over long distances: the inside-of-the-foot pass and an instep drive.

INSIDE-OF-THE-FOOT PASS

When passing the ball, use the inside of your foot and angle your plant foot in the direction you want to play the ball. When you approach the ball, keep your striking foot’s ankle locked tightly. The bottom of your foot should be parallel with the ground and the inside of the foot is flat to the ball — imagine making an “L” shape with your foot and leg.

Stay relaxed when swinging your leg, bending your knee as you bring it up. Think of the movement as “shaving the grass” with the bottom of your foot.

INSTEP DRIVE

When striking the ball, make contact with the top of your foot, with your toes pointing downward. This angle gives your kick a little more power. If you strike through with your chest too high, the ball may sail over the goal. Stay over the ball in good control.

Your planting foot should still be pointed at your intended target. Swinging through the ball (not at it) will add more power to your strike. Becky offers this Pro Tip for identifying an ideal shot: “You can tell when you strike the ball well when there’s little to no rotation of the ball. You kind of want it to be staying still as it travels.”

Another great tip for working on your passing and striking form is to record yourself during practice. This is a tell-tale way to see if you are exhibiting proper foot placement and follow through.

Now that you’ve elevated your passing and striking, discover Becky’s Pro Tips for defensively intercepting a pass