Taking a free kick is one of the most important factors of the game, trying to take advantage of the decision given in your favour by the referee after a foul or handball by an opponent. As the side awarded the free-kick you’re given the chance to clear the ball from your goal and relive the pressure, heap it on your opponents by putting the ball into the box, or striking at goal unchallenged, something David Beckham has made a feature of his game.
Beckham is known the world over as being an amazing player, with dead-ball skills that even some of the top names of all time would give their best foot for, and the former Manchester United and England star has scored some outrageous free kicks in his time – you only have to think back to his goals against Colombia in the World Cup and Greece in a qualifier at Old Trafford to see the quality.
To get to his level, Beckham spent hours on the training ground and in the back garden before that, honing his skills and putting the ball between tyres hung from the crossbar, or through cones placed on the ground; over obstacles used as “the wall” until he reached the top. Any player can be good at this skill, it’s not something you’re born with, and there are plenty of things you can do without having to spend too much money – just plenty of time!
All you need is some equipment to use as a wall, maybe some cones and some way of working on your precision in front of goal. Of course, you’re going to need a football or two, and a goal for the back garden, but there are plenty of Samba goals and other models available for the home and will allow you to hang your targets and become the next David Beckham.
“David Beckham lines up to take a free kick.”
Once you have what you need, how do you do it? Here’s a guide:
- Approach the ball. Place your standing foot alongside the ball so you know exactly where you will be striking. (To put curl onto the ball, strike off centre and curl your foot around the ball). Then step away from the ball to create your run up. Don’t make it too long that you carry too much momentum, or too short that you can’t get enough power on your strike.
- Pick your spot. Focus on the part of the goal where you want to put the ball. If you’re going to the top right corner for example, hang a hoop or tyre from the crossbar to help you get your precision just right and keep moving this until you feel comfortable, using a smaller target each time as you grow more confident.
- Striking. Choose how you’re going to strike the ball. Are you going for power or precision? The chances are that there will be a wall in front of you, so you need to establish the best method of getting it over or around that wall, and also into the goal. There is no point blasting it over the wall if you can’t get it back down and into the net after all!
- Body position. Your body position is also key to how you strike the ball. If you are trying to put curl on the ball, try and get almost side-on to the target so that you can really wrap your foot around the ball.