Want your child to be king or queen of the playground during recess kickball? There's no better way for them to succeed than to know how to blast a kickball great distances. Kickball is not a mainstream sport, but a World Cup soccer coach and former professional player can offer advice on how to kick with power and precision.
Know about the ball's sweet spot. "Kicking the ball on the sweet spot is critical," says U.S. World Cup soccer coach Bob Bradley. "The sweet spot is the back of the ball, just a bit lower than center. Keep your knee over the ball." If the knee is too far behind the ball, there's a good chance the ball will just pop up.
Attack the ball. As a professional goalkeeper for 10 seasons in Major League Soccer Mike Ammann routinely kicked a soccer ball 50 to 75 yards on the fly. "You need to carry momentum toward the ball," Ammann says. "Don't wait for the ball to come to you. Go and attack it for added distance."
Keep it compact. Bradley says a short stroke works best, "Toe down, ankle locked." A long back swing complicates the timing process. If the toe is up and the ankle is loose, there's a good chance contact will be weakened.
Strike the ball on your shoe laces and keep your head down. "Focus on getting your hips moving forward to keep your momentum going forward," says Ammann. "Raise your shoulders slightly at impact. Some people say to lean back to elevate the ball but it's really just arching your shoulders. Leaning too far back will cause a pop fly."
Blast it even farther. Something to work on during practice, says Bradley, is having the player run up to kick the ball and land on his or her kicking foot. "You can't land on your kicking foot unless you've generated good momentum," Bradley says. "This is a good exercise for adding power to your kick."
- Bob Bradley; Personal Interview
- Mike Ammann; Personal Interview