I have worked with several former soccer players who are looking to or already have made the switch over to football. Soccer certainly can help you develop certain aspects that translate to being a great kicker, but the transition isn't as easy as most people believe. Due to this, I wanted to add a post about the subject to help give future athletes making the change some tips to hopefully make it much more successful!
As a Football Kicker Think Only in Straight Lines
In soccer, you often try to kick the ball differently and are always taking different approaches to do so. This is not the case in football, and you will find you will not be as effective of a kicker if you come in with the same mentality. I tell my athletes that football kicking should only be thought of in straight lines. For example, your approach steps back, your steps to the side, your approach to the ball (right along your plant line), and your finish should all be done in straight lines. This will help you become more consistent and allow you to be in position to hit the same ball every time.
Foot Angle at Ball Contact
As I mentioned above, during the course of a soccer game or practice you will most likely connect with the ball a few different ways depending on what you are trying to do. Again, not the case in football. Our goal is to kick the same ball every single time. Arguably the most important piece of doing this is how your foot contacts the football. Your foot angle will be much closer to a 45 degree angle with your foot slightly rotated forward so the big part of your foot will be the first thing that will strike the ball. This will give you the most height and distance on your kicks. In comparison to soccer where you may come in straight up and down with your foot angle or use the outside or inside of your foot. (For more info about football kicking foot angle refer to the post below)
Another very common soccer tendency is falling off the side after your kick. (Falling to the left as a right footed kicker and to the right as a left footed kicker) This could cause inconsistency because the ball flight will often follow the line of your finish. So, the more often you fall off to the side, the more likely that you will start pulling your kicks. To help with this, be sure that you pick targets high and through the uprights. This should change your swing thought and ultimately straighten out your swing allowing you to become more consistent. Another factor would be weaving your plant line, and staying square with your body through your approach will help straighten that out.
These are just a few tips to help in the transition from soccer to football. If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to one of our coaches or book a training session and we can dive deep into where the inconsistencies lie and how to fix them!