You know it:
Pinging a soccer ball is HARDER than it looks at first.
It can become much easier, though, if you learn some of the theory behind it…
…and practice a few drills until you get the hang of it.
And that’s exactly what I’ll be covering in the present post (and video)!
Pinging a soccer ball is a skill that can be used in several ways during a soccer match whether you’re passing to your teammate or trying to hit the back of the net.
Paulo Sousa, a former Juventus F.C. midfield star player (and now a football manager), was known — among other of his skills — for his ping that we used to do great passes to his teammates.
This technique takes time to learn and it also requires a few steps to insure consistent accuracy.
What Is a “Ping” In Soccer?
A “ping” in soccer is a quick, low-driven pass or shot in which the ball either stays on the ground or is only one or two feet (30 or 60 cm) off the ground.
The most common reason to ping a soccer ball is passing to a teammate when you want to start a quick break and there are no defenders between you and your teammate.
A quick pass to your teammate, who could be 30 to 40 yards away (roughly the same in meters), would leave him or her with enough time to make the next decision with the football.
If it was a normal lob pass, it could take a couple more seconds in the air and that would give the defenders more time to reach your teammate upon receiving the ball.
When trying to score with a ping, the most common case is usually when the goalkeeper is outside the box and it will take him a second or two get back in front of the net.
Pinging the soccer ball not only increases accuracy, but it also gives the goalie less time to reach the ball. Whereas a regular shot with the side of the foot would take longer and have possibly less accuracy.
If the goalie is favoring one side of the net, pinging the football to the other side could also be of use, as long as there are no defenders in the path.
How to Ping a Soccer Ball
Here are the steps you need to follow to properly ping a soccer ball.
Getting Into Position
- Take four or five steps behind the ball.
- Then, take a step to the left, if you’re right-footed (or to the right, if you’re left-footed).
- Next, run up to the ball and plant your non-kicking foot roughly six inches (15 cm) to the side of it. Placing your foot too wide or too close could take away any accuracy with a ping.
The biggest thing to keep in mind when trying to ping a soccer ball is to keep your shoulders facing your target, which should mean facing forward.
When taking free kicks, some players will come from an angle or face diagonally, but to correctly pin a ball, it’s important to keep your shoulders straight and facing forward.
Kicking the ball
Pinging the ball correctly depends on where you kick it with your foot and where you kick it on the ball.
Rotate your kicking foot down slightly to show your laces, but not completely. Kick the ball on the edge of your foot and at the base of your big toe.
Keep in mind this isn’t the same spot as a power shot in which you hit the ball directly on top of your foot on the laces. On the ball, aim for the middle or slightly below to get some air.
If you want it to be a line drive that should glide on the ground, kick directly in the middle of the ball.
After kicking the ball, the action is not over.
It’s important to keep your leg low throughout the process.
If you raise your leg on the back swing, that can lead to more of a lob pass.
But, if you keep your leg low before hitting the ball as well as after hitting it, that will keep the ball variation low.
How to Ping a Soccer Ball Video
If you prefer to actually see how the ping is done, watch the short video below that perfectly illustrates everything we’ve been talking about.
Pinging a Soccer Ball Drills
As long as you have a soccer ball and some space, a ping is a simple thing to practice.
Drill 1: Pinging Against a Wall
What you need: To start and get a better feel for how and where to kick the ball, using a wall is more helpful before practicing on a field.
- Ping the ball 10 to 20 times and that should give you a good idea of what to expect in a normal situation, working out the kinks as you go.
- Against a wall, you’ll ideally want the ball to go straight ahead and come directly back to you.
If you don’t have a wall, you can always practice the motion without a ball.
Drill 2: Using Comes
If you go right into pinging a ball on a large field, you’ll do a lot of running and get few reps in.
Practicing in open space is easier with a few footballs, but can be done with only one.
Ideally, you want more to work with as you want to get as many reps as possible instead of running back and forth the entire time.
What you need: If you have cones, set up four of them in the shape of a box and then another four for a box 30-to-40 yards away.
The cones can be about one foot (30 cm) apart from each other, or slightly bigger if you want to start with a bigger target.
Without cones, anything can be used as long as you have a marking of where to aim the ball.
- From there, practice pinging the ball with the goal of getting it in between the cones or inside the trashcan.
- If you’ve successfully reached the box of cones five or 10 times in a row, try and aim for one of the cones to master accuracy.
For the advanced, you could even lay a trashcan on the ground and aim to ping it inside.
Learning how to ping a soccer ball sounds easy in theory, but it’s something that takes time to master.
The lead-up to pinging a football is just as important as actually hitting it.
If you have trouble with accuracy, make sure your shoulders are straight and you’re facing forward.
If the ball is going too high, you’re hitting it too low instead of directly in the middle.
Mastering where to hit the ball with your foot is also something that takes time, especially if you’re accustomed to shooting or passing a certain way.
It’s something that will take time to learn and grow into your game, but also can be a valuable skill that will help you in a number of situations on the field.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and will master this technique in no time!
Check out our other articles and learn other ways to develop your soccer skills and become a better soccer player.