Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Score with both feet


The best attackers can shoot with either foot… is this true? Well attackers that can shoot with either foot have more opportunities to score so the individual will be much better placed if they can score with the foot that naturally takes the ball towards goal.

The complete attacker should be able to at least direct the ball on target with both feet even if one has a more powerful shot than the other.

Young players instinctively go for their preferred foot so you need to get them shooting with both of them or they will come to rely on one foot rather than the other.

I often see attackers, even professional attackers, making awkward shapes with their bodies so they can use one foot rather than the one they should use. Once again it’s down to the amount of practice they do and how they practise.

I like this great exercise  to get my players shooting with both feet:

How to set it up

Use an area 40 yards by 30 yards with two goals and two goalkeepers.

How to play it

  1. The shooter makes a long pass to the coach and runs to receive the ball back.
  2. The player now shoots with one foot.
  3. After shooting, the player reacts and runs to receive a second ball from another server and shoots with the other foot.

How to rotate it

After completing the circuit, the player becomes a server for the next shooter.


Get your strikers using both feet in two easy lessons

David ClarkeCoaches often ask me about getting grass roots players to use both feet – and I have to admit it is hard. The best way is to try and make sure you practice with your players so they get used to using both of them. But it is something you have to work on all the time because they can easily stop doing it in matches.

I have two ways for you to work with your players. The first is from Andre Merelle the technical director of French Football Federation (FFF’s) National Technical Centre at Clairefontaine, arguably the best youth soccer development center in the world.

It is a simple exercise but very effective – plus you get to watch him explain it in the clip below.

He has helped develop players like Jean-Pierre Papin, Thierry Henry, Louis Saha, William Gallas and Nicholas Anelka.

The French focus a great deal on technique……The players must play with the ball as much as possible from an early age, the younger the better.

Check out his simple way to coach two-footed strikers in the video clip below and set it up and try it out with your players. Then move on to my session below it:

Close to goal, strikers can guide the ball into the net, they don’t need to rifle it home. So this exercise is all about coaching your players to be comfortable in front of goal with both feet.

Set this up like the diagram below on a small pitch with two teams of four players. You, or a helper, act as the server by standing on the halfway line at the side.

In the diagram the white shirted players dribble and then pass (1) to the coach. The coach makes a return pass (2) for a first time shot with the right foot (3).

Immediately the player moves across the penalty area and reacts to a pass from a team mate at the side of the goal by shooting with his left foot (5). He then takes the place of his team mate next to the goal.

The dark shirted players do the same thing in the opposite direction. This time the left-foot shot is further out but here just look for direction from the player. Tell him you want to see him hit the target not necessarily score past the goalkeeper.

Doing it differently with Spain’s (not them again) U19s

Often it’s that little bit of creativity or something different that gives your team the edge in winning matches. Allowing young players to do it is also part of your coaching learning experience. No you don’t want to see backheels when you’re defending the penalty area, and no you don’t want to see a fancy penalty that could go horribly wrong.

Or do you?

Giving players licence to try something different is keeping the fun in the game. For sure they may get some feedback from their team mates if it goes wrong but you should allow the mistake and forget about it.

Take a look at Ezequiel Calvente playing for Spain’s u19s against Italy in the Uefa European U19 championship.

The Spaniard beats the Italian Goalkeeper after running up to seemingly hit the spot kick with his right foot only to surprise everyone by hitting with his left.

Watch carefully as he totally out-smarts the keeper and just about everyone when he switches very late with his shot.

Practise in threes to use both feet

Watching my left winger playing in the U9s at the weekend, he beat a player and moved into the penalty area, the ball was perfect for a right foot shot, but he tried to turn it back on to his left foot and all the hard work he had done to get in to the penalty area and set himself up was lost.

It’s a great thing at this age to have a left footed player because it means your forward line is very well-balanced and playing down both wings is made much easier without having to play a right footed player on the left wing like most teams have to do – so I’m not complaining!

You also have to remember he is only 8-years-old so there’s plenty of time for him to learn.

I find that easy drills with both feet are the best way to ease these young players in to using both feet and I found the one in the clip below to work well with my younger players:

 Soccer Skills and Drills