Cody Mansfield's picture

Have 2 Feet But Only 1 On The Soccer Pitch?

          Many young soccer players develop their skills with just their right or left foot, but not both.  Very few players are proficient with both feet, and the players that are have more successful soccer careers.  If you only use one foot when playing soccer, you are never going to develop skills in the other foot.    


         So how do you become proficiently skilled with both feet?  You have to train your brain to use your non-dominant foot.  The best way to do this is with quality and repetition.  If you are using your non-dominant foot frequently with poor technique, your brain is only going to remember the improper way to kick a ball with that foot. It is important to focus on quality over quantity at first and then solidify your new skill with repetition.  


         When I was younger my soccer friends and I always waged a turf war with the local racquetball players in Southern California. The racquetball courts were the best place to improve our touch with the soccer ball, and the racquetball players had priority.  Other enclosed areas like an indoor soccer park, but not mom’s kitchen, are great places to work on proper technique and repetition when kicking or handling the ball with your non-dominant foot.  


How to train your non-dominant foot:

  1. Quality over quantity: Always use perfect technique
  2. Repetition: Practice, practice, practice
  3. At the racquetball court:
    1. Start 5 feet away from wall, pass the ball the with the inside of your non-dominant foot off the wall 100 times
    2. Start 10 feet away from the wall and repeat
    3. Drive the ball with the laces of your unskilled foot 100 times
    4. Repeat 10 times or more

The Neuroscience behind it……


          Recently in my neuroscience course we learned about Hebb’s postulate which states that training to do an activity properly will strengthen the circuitry in your brain that governs that activity. However, performing the activity improperly will reinforce bad form. 


         The lessons that can be learned from Hebb’s postulate can be applied to soccer players training their non-dominant foot.  By kicking the ball with perfect technique and with thousands of repetitions the player will train their brain to use their non-dominant foot.  I refer to this as “brain training” because most soccer athletes have the strength and flexibility to kick the soccer ball with their non-dominant leg, but they don’t know how to kick the ball like their dominant leg.  It might fascinate some to know that by using proper or improper technique when kicking the soccer ball that they’re actually changing their brain circuitry.


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