The Importance of Developing Your Weaker Foot In Soccer

What is a Weaker Foot in Soccer?

In the world of soccer, the term “weaker foot” refers to the foot that a player typically has less control and precision with compared to their dominant foot. For most players, their weaker foot is the non-dominant one, usually the left foot for right-footed players and vice versa. However, there are exceptions, as some players are naturally ambidextrous or have trained extensively to use both feet effectively. They are sometimes referred to as two-footed players.

What Causes Weak Foot in Soccer?

The dominance of one foot over the other is primarily influenced by neurological and genetic factors.

Neurological Asymmetry

The human brain is divided into two hemispheres, each controlling the opposite side of the body. This phenomenon, known as lateralization, results in one hemisphere being more dominant than the other for certain functions, including motor control. As a result, individuals may naturally develop greater dexterity and coordination in one hand or foot, leading to a preference for using that side [3].

Genetic Predisposition

There is evidence to suggest that genetics play a role in determining handedness and footedness. Studies have shown that the tendency to be right or left-handed (and by extension, right or left-footed) can run in families, indicating a genetic component to this preference. While the specific genes involved have not been conclusively identified, research suggests that multiple genetic factors likely contribute to handedness and footedness [4].

Environmental Influences

While genetics play a significant role, environmental factors can also influence the development of footedness. For example, cultural practices, societal norms, and early experiences may shape a child’s preference for using one foot over the other [4].

Son Heung-min’s father, Son Woong-jung took advantage of this aspect. He says “I knew he (Heung-min) was right-footed but I made sure that socks, cleats (football boots), shoes, trousers, watch or anything like that, he put on his left side first, so he never forgot about the two-footedness” [2]. Heung-min today is a well known two-footed player, having scored several goals in his career with his weaker left foot.

Why Does the Weaker Foot Matter?

Developing proficiency with both feet is crucial in soccer for several reasons:

1. Versatility:

Players who can use both feet effectively have a significant advantage over those who rely solely on their dominant foot. They can maneuver the ball more skillfully, execute a wider range of passes and shots, and maintain possession under pressure, making them more unpredictable and challenging for opponents to defend against.

2. Tactical Advantage:

Being able to use both feet allows players to exploit openings and opportunities on either side of the field. This flexibility enhances team strategy and enables players to adapt to different game situations more effectively. Whether it’s delivering a cross from the left wing or taking a shot from an awkward angle, having a strong weaker foot opens up numerous possibilities on the field.

3. Improved Decision Making:

Two-footed players can make split-second decisions without being limited by the positioning of the ball relative to their dominant foot. This quick thinking and adaptability can be critical in fast-paced matches where opportunities arise and vanish in an instant.

Left and right-footed, I think it is a vital quality for a midfielder today.

Arsene Wenger (source)

Glenn Hoddle, Kenny Dalglish, Kevin De Bruyne and Ivan Perisic are some well known two-footed players.

The former Arsenal midfielder, Santi Cazorla also falls under this list. He is so good with both feet that people couldn’t tell if he was naturally right footed or left.

weaker foot in soccer - santi cazorla

I have always preferred the right foot, ever since I was younger. I was a little bit hurt in my right ankle once, and that is when I started to use my left foot a lot more.

Santi Cazorla, source

Gael Clichy is naturally a right footed player, but he was trained with the left foot. He used his left foot so often that it eventually became his dominant foot [2].

Simple Weak Foot Soccer Drills

If you need to improve your weaker foot quickly, you may want to practice these weak foot soccer drills every day (or at least once every 2 days) over the period of several weeks. By then, your weaker foot should be able to cope with most high-intensity soccer drills like shooting, passing, dribbling etc.

Everything comes from a base of hard work. After training sessions I would stay an extra half-an-hour and kick the ball against the wall with my weaker foot over and over again to make sure it becomes stronger and better. Players should remember that everything comes from hard work.

Santi Cazorla (source)

The video below will help you train and improve your weaker foot in soccer in just 1 day!

Weak foot soccer drills

Apply the following six soccer drills in any order (except for drill #6) at any time you like. These soccer drills aim to improve on your touches, control, and balances.

Drill #1: Warming-Up

Start with a short 2-minute jog. Continue with simple leg and lower body stretches, concentrating on your ankles, calves, knees, and hips to maximize performance and prevent any injuries during practice.

Drill #2: Juggling with your weaker foot

Find an open space, throw the ball at waist height and let it bounce. Then kick it up using the laces of your foot. Repeat this for roughly 5 minutes and then increase it to 10 minutes and so on. To start, let the ball bounce, it’s easier and gives you more confidence. As you progress, try not letting the ball bounce on the ground.

Drill #3: Weaker Foot – ball control

Touch the soccer ball lightly with the outstep/outside sole of your weaker foot and then quickly change to your instep / inside sole of your weaker foot and vice versa. This is similar to doing a flip flap or elastico but at a slower pace. Practice for as long as you can, building rhythm along with speed with the ball.

Improve your ball control with better technique. More touches as you improve passing and dribbling. An adjustable cord that stretches up to 18 ft. means no more chasing the ball. Giving you more time and more repetitions working on your weaker foot. Fits sizes 3, 4, and 5.

Drill #4: Trapping the ball with your weaker foot

The simplest way you can do this is by throwing the soccer ball upwards and trap it by letting the ball fall on your toe part of the foot. The first few times you do this might cause the ball to simply bounce off your weaker foot, try to trap the ball using a softer first touch. In other words, try not to ‘stiffen’ your feet/legs too much when the ball is about to make contact with it.

As you progress, you can improve this drill by throwing the ball against a wall (or make use of a rebounder) and trapping / controlling it with your weaker foot as it bounces back towards you. After each successful trap, throw the ball with increased intensity and attempt to control it with a single first touch with your weaker foot as it bounces back towards you.

Drill #5: Passing with your weaker foot

Find a wall, maybe in your room or even outside. Pass the ball against the wall by using the inside sole of your weaker foot and outside sole of the same weaker foot depending on your preference. To make it interesting, build a rhythm in your passing by increasing its speed which greatly improves ball trapping and passing skills relatively quickly.

As you progress, try to pass and trap the ball in a single fluid motion, making no more than 2 touches at the most for each time you pass it to the wall. Throughout this drill, try to aim your pass towards a specific target area on the wall in order to improve the accuracy of your pass. If the wall is far away from you, attempt a lobbed/chipped pass with your weaker foot.

Drill #6: Shooting

Kicking is perhaps the hardest when it comes to improving your weaker foot. Proper shooting could make a difference, especially in a match where a goal could mean winning or losing. Generating power and accuracy when shooting with your weaker foot can be quite a challenge. We recommend that you complete drills #1 to #5 before attempting this drill in order to be sure that your weaker foot is ready for a higher intensity drill.

For this drill, find an open space and make sure there aren’t any breakable objects or people near your target. Designate a target such as a goal post, cone or even a mark on the wall. Aim to hit the target with your shot. Attempt to do a lace shot as powerful as possible, but try to also keep it as accurate as possible, aiming for your designated target.

More weak foot soccer drills

Keep practicing consistently and you’ll benefit from the results and improve your weaker foot, possibly turning into a two-footed player!

Want more ways to train your weaker foot and become a two-footed player? View Soccer Training: Weaker Foot Drills