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How Kids Should Kick a Soccer Ball

Establishing proper technique on how to kick a soccer ball is especially important when teaching kids. Proper technique will establish the framework for more advanced kicking skills, including passing, shooting, trapping and volleying as the player progresses. Additionally, ensuring that children kick the ball properly will protect the tiny bones in the player’s foot. The three main areas of the foot that can kick a ball are the instep, the top of the foot and the outside of the foot. Players should never kick a soccer ball with the toe.

  1. Select a proper size soccer ball: size three for kids ages 8 and younger, size four for ages 10 to 12 and size five for any player over age 12.

  2. Wear the correct shoes. Children should wear a closed-toe sneaker, or preferably, a soccer cleat that will provide traction with the ground.

  3. Place the ball on a flat surface and back up two to three steps.

  4. Advance toward the ball and plant the nonkicking foot 3 to 5 inches from the side of the ball, pointing in the desired direction of travel.

  5. Strike the soccer ball in the center or slightly off center if aiming to the side with the knee sitting over the top of the ball.

  6. Use the inside of the foot, known as the instep, for passing and accuracy.

  7. Contact the ball with the top of the foot at the laces with a locked ankle for increased power, speed and distance.

  8. Keep the head down and follow through with the kicking foot, landing on it before lifting the head.


    Encourage kids to practice kicking the ball with both feet.

    Use tricks such as “head, knee, toe, watch it go” to remind children to tilt their head down, keep the knee over the ball, strike with the proper part of the foot and follow through.

    To keep the ball on the ground, strike it slightly higher than the center. To lift it in the air, strike it below the center, following through in an upward motion.

    As players progress, the ball can be struck inside to outside or vice versa to put a spin on the ball.

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Things Needed

  • Proper footwear
  • Open field

About the Author

Julie Revel, a former neurobiologist in pharmaceuticals, began writing professionally in 2009 with a focus on health and disease prevention. Based in New Jersey, she works as a medical writer in the healthcare industry. Revel graduated from Drew University with a B.A. in neuroscience and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Medical Humanities.

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