How do we make a better passer, shooter and dribbler during soccer practice? We develop both feet and when developing both feet in a soccer player, the earlier the better. This development needs to be implemented within the first year of soccer practices for youth players. Even if the age of the player makes it most difficult to have foot equality, it is crucial to have players understand that they need to have foot equality. Start developing this skill early and it will help keep kids from trying to be so strong footed. If they understand that trying to do everything with one foot is not the way to play soccer they will attempt and put more importance on trying to play the game correctly early.
Develop this skill with simple games, everyone uses simple small distance kicking drills and we can put the importance of foot equality in everyday drills. “Left foot, right foot drill” is an easy way to develop and start developing foot equality at a young age. A two person drill where the ball is passed to one side of the player and the person who kicked the ball yells out what foot the receiver should be using to stop and return the ball. Then the ball is returned following the same direction and now two players are working skills with both feet and getting a visual and auditory response with their partner as well. As with any drills we add distance and try longer passes and goal kicks using both legs.
The trick with getting kids to buy into learning to work on leg equality is the coach’s praise. Most kids will come in with a strong leg because of the work they put in on the playground or in the backyard with dad. Praise the kids on the drill if they are attempting to do it right, even when the drill doesn’t look right. Let’s be honest, most youth soccer, age 7 and under, does not look like it should, but if we are in this to build on quality skills that last a life time we have to teach them right from the beginning. Get the kids excited, teach them right, and make it fun and that’s how we get the best chance to build skills during soccer practice.