One of the greatest challenges for club coaches is to coach the kick from the non dominant foot.
It is a skill that each player needs in their arsenal to ensure they can play to their full potential. Becoming a competent kicker from both feet will double a players options on the field of play. Instead of only being capable of kicking from one foot and limiting opportunities to one half of the pitch, we are now increasing these opportunities to the whole pitch and both sides equally.
Head, Hands, Feet is one of the most common coaching methods for executing a skill. So, for the kick with the non dominant leg, coaching tips would go along these lines:
Head: Scanning the pitch and where you want the ball to go whilst keeping your eye on the ball as you go to kick.
Hands: Ball is held in non dominant hand and is dropped to non dominant foot to kick the ball. Dominant hand is used to keep balance.
Feet: Step forward with dominant foot, kick the ball with the instep of the non dominant foot and follow through with the kick.
The only thing lacking from the above Head, Hands, Feet description is “Body Positioning”.
Body Positioning is as important as each of the other 3.
What you will notice once players become competent kicking the ball, is that players will start altering the way their body is positioned. For example, a child kicking with their dominant right leg, will start to angle their body slightly towards the right hand side. This can start with small angles before progressing to a full 90° angle for the “Hook Kick”. As children practice in a non controlled environment (in the garden, in school, before and after training etc) they will usually focus 90%+ on their dominant leg. They are developing muscle memory on their dominant side whilst doing this. When we then ask them to kick with their non dominant foot, their muscle memory kicks in and their body positioning reverts to what they do for their dominant foot.
As coaches, this is the important part that you need to be aware of. Kicking from the non dominant foot can actually become very easy for children, once they are shown the steps. They are essentially being asked to do the exact opposite of what they usually do.
So, for a dominant right sided player, the following changes are needed:
Instead of dropping the ball with their right hand, they are dropping it with their left hand.
Instead of body angled to the right, it is angled to the left.
Instead of stepping forward with the left leg, they are stepping forward with the right leg.
Instead of kicking with their right leg, they are kicking with their left leg.
Breaking down each of these parts is important for you and the player. If a child can do all of these correctly, then the opportunities to become truly 2 footed is there.
For future reference, instead of Head, Hands, Feet we will use “Body Position, Head, Hands, Feet”.