by Paul Spacey @ paulspacey.com 2017 |
From a coaches’ perspective, to have a squad of players comfortable with both feet is fantastic. Unfortunately, it hardly ever happens outside of the professional level (even then, many players are not entirely comfortable with their ‘weaker’ foot).
One of the biggest reasons players do not use their weaker foot is that they lack confidence using it. Therefore, as a coach, you should be encouraging your players to use both feet every single time they practice. You should be putting together exercises where players use only their weaker foot.
Improving your players’ weaker foot is simply about commitment, practice and persistence. You need to focus on encouraging the use of both feet and continually remind your players about the importance of it.
Zinedine Zidane is potentially the finest example of a two footed player you are likely to see. He is not only comfortable with both feet; he is a master and a genius with them. Check out his YouTube videos, in particular his 2002 Champions League Final winning goal ‘volley’ with his left foot (considered his slightly weaker foot) and you will see technique of the highest quality. Although he is now retired, watching his videos is a joy.
Many young players grow up using one foot and completely neglect their weaker foot; this is very common in soccer. The earlier players learn how to use both feet comfortably, the better they will be as they progress through the age groups and the easier they will find it to play and showcase their talent.
Effort and a commitment to using both feet as a young player really is a priceless investment; potentially the best investment your players can make in themselves.
There are many reasons why being able to use both feet is an advantage to players; it keeps defenders off balance, it opens up the field in terms of passing options and it allows shots to be taken quickly from any angle on any side of the body (one of the things you will regularly see is a striker bringing the ball back onto their dominant foot before shooting, potentially wasting the opportunity completely).
You may be surprised to know that it is about actually training your players’ brains to use their weaker foot. It is not necessarily a physical issue but a mental one. If players continue to use poor technique with their weaker foot, the brain will remember this and reinforce the poor technique, making it even more difficult to improve the weaker foot.
Conversely, if your players are shown the correct technique for passing and striking the ball with their weaker foot, repetition and practice over time will result in the actual circuitry of their brains changing. Therefore, it is not just about repetition and quantity but also about quality. This is where your job as a coach is important to spot and rectify errors in technique.
Ability to use both feet = double the options. Your players must remember this.