However, with football now being played faster than ever before, players no longer have the time to avoid using their so-called weak foot, with doing so often leading to loss of possession or an inaccurate touch. There are certainly things that can be done to improve the quality of your wrong foot, with those who are proficient on both sides undoubtedly bringing a significant amount of options on the field.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and former Arsenal man Santi Cazorla are two prime examples of players with the ability to produce the goods off either foot, however this is not the result of luck, with the duo having undoubtedly put a significant amount of hard work into this part of their game. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways in which players can improve their weak foot?
Players must first completely change their mindset, which will obviously be a tricky process. Practice certainly makes perfect in this sense, with many individuals having come up with methods to get round using their weaker foot, whether it be using the outside of the boot or playing the way in which they are facing on the field.
Juggling the Ball
Keepy-uppys may not seem like the most difficult of skills to some, however using both feet when doing so will undoubtedly improve your control on both sides. The goal is to carry out small and controlled kicks in order to keep the ball in the air, preferably using alternate feet. Players should challenge themselves to complete a certain number, with those who are able to complete tens or hundreds at a time undoubtedly having to use both their left and right foot in the process. Juggling the ball will ensure that you touch the ball using your weaker foot a huge number of times during a smaller time period.
Whether it be passing or shooting, the ability to hit your preferred target from a range of distances using your weaker foot is a huge asset to have on the pitch. Former Chelsea and England Captain John Terry often hit diagonal cross-field balls using his left foot, while Cristiano Ronaldo scores a significant proportion of his goals using his left foot. Having gained better control using your weaker foot through keepy-uppys, players should test their accuracy in both passing and shooting, using different parts of the foot and in different forms, including floated crosses and powerful strikes.
While your initial attempts are likely to be inaccurate, be sure to stick at it, with recreating in-game scenarios being one of the most effective forms of increasing development.
Having lost been used by coaches in an attempt to increase the close control of players, create a slalom course in order to test the ability of your weak foot when running at speed. Using nothing but your weaker foot will quickly see players get more familiar with this way of controlling the ball, with the addition of further landmarks allowing for a clear form of development. Repeat this drill using both the inside and outside of the foot, with players also being able to add a shot at goal or pass come the end of the slalom course.
Learn from the Best
As we have already mentioned, the top players are able to shoot from distance, pluck the ball out of the air and find their team mates with regularity, all using their weaker foot. So, look at professional players during matches and how they utilise both feet in order to get the better of opponents, with those on opposing teams often expecting them to move onto their stronger foot, only to come unstuck by doing so.
One of the biggest changes in football over recent times has been the speed at which the game is played, meaning that speed is a major asset for any player to have. While pace is something that is aided by genetics, speed is also something that can be developed. So, just what measures can coaches take in order to improve the speed of players?