Bending the ball is an advanced soccer skill that makes it possible to kick around opponents. You’ll commonly see it performed when kicking around a wall.

While beginners should focus on making hard, accurate, straight kicks, advanced players will find this technique an effective weapon in their offensive arsenal. Here are the basics for bending the ball.

CONCEPT
The key to bending a ball is to kick it off-center and hard enough to make the ball spin. The harder the ball is kicked, and the more off-center it is contacted, the greater the spin and the greater the bend. Applying spin to the ball is the same method used by baseball pitchers to make the ball curve and dip.

Here’s how to control the direction in which the ball bends. All instructions are for a player striking with the right foot.

BEND THE BALL TO YOUR LEFT
To bend the ball from right to left, make contact with the ball an inch or two off-center, towards the opposite side of the ball. In order to accomplish this, plant your left foot a little closer to the ball than usual (four-to-six inches, instead of the normal six-to-eight inches).

BEND THE BALL TO YOUR RIGHT
To bend the ball from left to right, make contact with the ball an inch or two off-center, to the near side of the ball. To accomplish this, plant your left foot an inch or two farther from the ball (eight-to-ten inches, instead of the normal six-to-eight inches). You can also make contact with the outside of the foot.

BEND THE BALL DOWN
Bending the ball down allows the ball to clear a wall, then dip downwards to the goal. Make contact slightly above the center of the ball, which produces top-spin. To accomplish this, plant your left foot the standard six-to-eight inches away from the ball, but an inch or two forward of your normal plant point.

FINAL TIPS
Remember, in order to successfully bend the ball, it’s important to be aggressive and kick the ball hard.
To contact the correct spot on the ball, be sure to focus the eyes on that spot and not lift the head until after contact is made.

SUMMARY
1. To Bend the Ball to the Left, Contact it to the Right of Center.
2. To Bend the Ball to the Right, Contact it to the Left of Center.
3. To Bend the Ball Downward, Contact it Above the Center Point

Practice these pointers and soon you’ll be bending the ball around any obstacle between you and the net. Good luck on the pitch!