A free kick offers a chance to basically have a free shot at goal. Although it is unpressured, your certainly feel the pressure if you the one taking one! So relaxation and focus is at the forefront of this technique.
Legendary famous free-kickers include David Beckham, Juninho, Christiano Ronaldo, Robin Van Persie and many others. Looking at videos on YouTube can be highly beneficial as most free kicks replays are shown in super slow motion so you can really get the technique.
Case Study: Christiano Ronaldo:
Christiano’s self-named ‘Bullet’ free kick is one of the most effective free-kicks out there in professional football. Alex Ferguson famously claimed it was the best he’d ever seen. Somehow, Ronaldo manages to strike the ball so it doesn’t spin at all, with the ball dipping at the last minute. He can execute it accurately, and when taken properly is devastating and almost impossible to save. To get such incredible power, he positions the ball so that he strikes it at the exact point where the air valve is as this is the softest part of the ball.
Free kicks can also be used to send balls to different parts of the box to allow a teammate to header or volley a shot. Manchester united are famous for intricate free kick routines where they use movement to baffle the defenders, all of which is pre-planned and the kick-taker delivers the ball to an unmarked attacker. If using a free-kick to assist a goal, trickery and anticipation are key. Dangerous swerving balls are a nightmare for any keeper.
Multiple players often stand over the ball just before it is taken and perform fakes to perplex the keeper as to who is taking the kick.
Taking a free kick
Taking a free kick is like a mix between a shot and a long pass. Depending on the distance you can attempt either. The main aim is to at least hit the target.
1. Approach the ball at medium speed
2. Hit the ball with the inside of your big toe (although some players find it easier with the inside of the foot)
3. Swing your leg without bending it too much
4. Aim the toe of your standing leg slightly to the right of the target (left if you are left footed)
5. When you come into contact with the ball let the ball roll along your foot slightly to add spin.
6. Ensure you add enough lift to get the ball over the wall
Try to chance the keeper out and watch what foot his weight is on to catch him off guard. If his weight is on his left then he is less likely to be able move in that direction and visa versa.
There are no real shortcuts to become an expert in this field. It takes hours of practice, but if you put those hours in then your success is more or less guaranteed as long as you put the instructions above to use.