Practical Considerations for Developing Soccer Footwork


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Soccer Specific Speed

Soccer speed is the ability to start quickly from all different positions, accelerate to top speed in the shortest time possible, change direction, and stop rapidly under control to make the play. Footwork is an essential element of this

Why Train Footwork

The feet are in contact with the ground in movement and all movement is initiated off the ground. It is the feet that must absorb shock on ground contact and then use those forces to propel the body in the desired direction.

Get Hip to The Feet

Quick feet are actually quick and supple hips. Control and positioning the center of gravity is the major objective of proper footwork.

Foot Position / Weight Distribution

It is not necessary to be up on the toes because the foot must come back down to the ground to initiate movement. The weight should be distributed approximately 75% to the forefoot and 25% to the rear foot in order to allow multi-directional movement.

Arm and Hand Position

The arms and hands should be positioned to aid in the first movement.

First Step Position & Length

The First Step Should be of appropriate length to create a positive shin angle. The foot should hit slightly behind the center of gravity to allow the large powerful hip extensors to work. A long first step forces the player to try to pull themselves over the foot. This is not a good position for force production.

First Step Direction

The first step must be in the intended direction to gain a step. The most common error is the false step or miss-step away from the intended direction.

Foot Movement

* Contact point - Preferably toward the ball of the foot.

* Weight distribution - The weight should be distributed over the whole.

* Height of step - A low heel recovery is necessary to put the foot in proper position to push against the ground. Movement upward is a wasted motion.

* Sound - Quiet is the key. No slapping or loud noise on foot contact.

* Rhythm/Tempo - The foot contact should be rhythmic.

Type of Step

This is determined by the distance of the required movement.

* Crossover Power Step - the leg opposite of the intended direction is driven across the body and past the opposite foot.

* Open Step - the foot nearest the intended direction is turned (opened) towards the intended direction and used as the plant foot for the next step.

* Jab Step - the foot nearest the intended direction is jabbed towards the intended direction; this is the first step to a player shuffling sideways, but could be used as the power step for a goalkeeper's dive in that direction.

* Drop Step - is similar to the open step, but more of a step backward, which turns the hips towards the intended direction.


* Fence or post swing - standing sideways, grab a fence or a post and swing the leg closest to the fence/post. Start small and work to a long, high swing. Then face the fence/post and swing the leg.

* Bands - with the band around the ankles: do side steps, 20 to each direction; walk forward and backwards; do cariokas (see quick foot ladder below); monster walk (squat and big strides); short quick side steps

* Skipping - the coach listens and watches for heavy steps or other tendencies. Other skips include: the cross-over skip with the arms swing across the body as each foot crosses in front of and across the other; duck foot skip with one foot turned out; pigeon toed skip with one foot turned in.


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