How to Curve (or Bend) a Soccer Ball

By Luís Miguel
Updated on

For soccer fans, there is something truly magical in watching soccer greats like David Beckham curve a cross-field pass directly to the feet of the winger on the other side of the field.

The soccer ball, at first, seems to be have been lead way too far in front of its intended target before, somehow, magically curving perfectly into the path of the run of the player.

Similarly, watching highlight films of the best free kicks ever taken will leave most people in shock as a Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Roberto Carlos free-kick implausibly curves around 8 defenders and into the top corner of the net.

Learning how to curve a soccer ball is one of the most important skills for every football fanatic. Besides the aesthetic beauty of a well-placed bender, knowing how to bend a soccer ball has also other useful uses on the pitch.

In this short article, we’ll teach you the basics of how to kick a curve ball in soccer so that your friends can also marvel at your Beckham-like skills.

How to Curve a Soccer Ball with Power

There are several different reasons for wanting to learn how to bend a soccer ball.

For those long cross-field passes, you will need to find out how to curve a soccer ball with power.

The first step is to understand is that you will be striking the ball with the inside of your foot where your toe ends and your foot ends.

To get extra power you’ll need to take several approach steps, though you will want to maintain your balance when striking the ball. Maintaining your opposite hand outwards will help you to keep your balance.

If you are striking the ball with your right foot, your left foot is your planting foot. As you approach the ball you want to keep that foot planted during the entire kicking motion.

Imagine the ball as a quadrant and aim to hit the ball in the bottom right quadrant with the inside of your foot. With your planting foot still unmoved, strike through the ball in with your striking leg swinging across your body in the direction that you want the ball to curve.

To generate maximum power for those long, sweeping, cross-field passes, you’ll want to find a balance between the momentum generated by your approach steps and the balance needed to hit the ball in correct form.

How to Shoot a Curve Soccer Ball

For those sweeping free kicks that almost as if by magic make their way around a seemingly impenetrable wall, you’ll need to make a few changes to the steps mentioned above.

To successfully learn how to shoot a curve soccer ball, the first step is to gauge how far and how hard you want to kick the ball.

If you are right on the edge of the box, one or a maximum of two approach steps should be plenty.

For free kicks where you are trying to surprise the goalkeeper from 30 to 35 meters away, you might want to garner momentum from 4-5 meters away.

Next, line up somewhere between 50 and 90 degrees to the ball.

Your planting foot needs to be closer to the ball than with a cross-field pass and you need to point that foot to where you want to direct the ball.

Strike the ball in the bottom right quadrant and hit the ball farther inside your foot almost in the middle part between your toe and your heel. Keep your foot planted as your striking legs curved around in the motion you want the ball to follow.

And, of course, don´t forget to celebrate once your ball bends perfectly into the inside of the net.

How to Outside Curve a Soccer Ball

Knowing how to curve a soccer ball with the outside part of your foot is a bit trickier, but still doable for most people with basic knowledge of soccer.

When approaching the ball, you need to come toward the ball with a slight outside angle to your target.

If kicking with your right foot, you’ll want to aim your planting foot to the left of your target while making sure to keep your planting foot farther away from the ball than when attempting to bend a ball with the inside part of your foot.

Hit the ball with the outside part of your foot and bring your foot across your body. For right footers, you’ll want to hit the bottom middle or the bottom left of the ball.

Since you probably won´t have the same amount of force, it might be necessary to take several approach steps to generate the power you need.

Again, for right-footed kickers, you want to see the ball spinning in a clockwise direction to get the bend you want. The opposite is true if you want to find how to outside curve a soccer ball with your left foot.

Check out this video and watch how Roberto Carlos outside curves the ball in one of the best free-kicks in soccer history.

Roberto Carlos Best Free Kick Goal – France VS Brazil [1997 Tournoi de France]

Conclusion: Simple Steps for an Important Soccer Skill

In this post, you’ve hopefully learned how to kick a curveball in soccer or have a better notion of how to accomplish this important soccer skill.

With a little bit of practice, you should be able to quickly develop the skills needed to successfully bend a soccer ball, either for a pass, shot, or free-kick.

Learning to control your body, balance power and finesse will soon have you curving your football for goals, long passes or beautiful crosses from all across the pitch that’ll impress everybody.

Guy wearing an SL Benfica jersey holding soccer ball over his head

Article by:

Luís Miguel

As a true soccer enthusiast, I’m Soccermodo’s team captain. My job is to make sure the site’s content is top-notch so that you, our reader, can focus solely on improving your game and reach new heights.