The David Beckham Whip
Then there is Beckham’s reputation in the soccer realm, which is largely attributed to his incredible command of a soccer ball during a free-kick.
Beckham is arguably one of the best free-kick takers of all-time. Every time he steps up to a free kick, he poses a serious threat. Unlike many of the free-kick takers of the world, Beckham’s technique is un-orthodox and takes immense amounts of practice to perfect. In fact, Beckham’s approach breaks many technical and foundational soccer rules. That having been said, he has created a way of approaching the free-kick that has changed the way people think about and see the free-kick.
Because there are so many video’s and tips out there that cover bending it like Beckham, we will gear our attention elsewhere. As opposed to talking about the entire free kick process, we will concentrate on how Beckham generates that whipping effect. Note however, the whipping effect is the most important element of the free-kick.
When Beckham places the ball down, he makes sure to keep his eye on the centre of the ball. Wherever the ball is placed, Beckham creates a right-angle between himself, the ball and the net. By creating this angle, Bechkam will eventually force his body and leg to really get around the ball when hitting it, hence the whip.
He takes 4-5 steps back in order to give himself a good area to pick up speed when approaching the ball. As he approaches the ball, he plants his supporting foot well behind the ball. When talking about basic rules and basic techniques, this is considered a no-no in soccer. The reason this is considered a no-no is because when placing your foot behind the ball, you then force yourself to extend your shooting leg even further. In order to do this, you need to lean your body back, and we all know what happens when you lean too far back to shoot: the ball soars way over the net.
As Beckham winds up with his supporting foot planted well behind the ball, he brings his foot back like he is about to take a normal shot. As he begins his swing towards the ball, and because his supporting foot is so far back, he is forced to bring his kicking foot all the way across his body in order to hit the ball. This motion of his leg coming all the way across his body creates the whipping effect.
When about to kick the ball, he does not cut the outside of the ball; rather, he cuts straight through the centre of the ball. Coming around your body and hitting through the ball will create a curve that you normally cannot generate.
Another crucial point that many people seem to look past is how Beckham hits the ball. He does not use his laces or anything in the vicinity of the top of his foot, rather he uses the very inside of his foot. It is essentially the same part of the foot a player uses for a short inside the foot pass. While hitting the centre of the ball and going through it, he uses the inside of his foot to create a spin on the ball while also generating enough force to get it around or over a wall.
Beckham’s free-kick approach is unique but effective. Not very many people can hit it that way he does with the technique he uses and that is why he is considered one of the best if not the best in this regard. But do not be afraid of this approach; at the beginning it will seem very dificult to see results. Like anything, practice, practice, practice and you will get there. Give it a go!
To learn more on other great free kick takers click here.