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Keeping the soccer ball down during a shot is difficult.  You have to have a variety of mechanics working simultaneously in order for it to work.  However, keeping a soccer ball down during a volley is even tougher.  It is tougher because there are more variables involved.

Not to get confused, there are various amounts of volleys.  You can volley the ball standing up right; you can volley the ball like a bicycle kick; and you can volley a ball while bending sideways.  For this information session, I am going to breakdown the volley where you bend your body sideways.

Getting this volley right is difficult….very difficult.  Do not be fooled by the pros – or seeing someone do it – thinking it’s easy, it isn’t.  As mentioned, so many variables come into play that if one part of the equation is off, the entire system fails.

Lets begin breaking the volley down.

You can either try this yourself, or watch a video of someone hitting a volley.

As the ball approaches the player (or you), your shoulders need to be parallel to the ball.  It should almost appear as if you are going to use your chest.

As the ball gets closer, begin to position yourself.  In order to position yourself correctly, you will need to estimate how far or close you should be getting to the ball.  This estimation is crucial because at the point of contact, your leg should be at full extension.

Unlike any shot in soccer, your upper body becomes one of the main generators of power and accuracy.  In this particular volley, you will need to wind up your arms and shoulders across your body in order to help generate power.  So, if you are about to hit the volley with your right foot as it comes from the right side of the field, you will need, first, be parallel to the ball, then twist your arms, shoulders and legs across your body clockwise.  Try it now.  You should create the effect that you are winding up.

Your head should never turn, ever.  You need to maintain an eye on the ball.

As you see the ball approaching you, start leaning you body back.  Begin to whip your shoulder back across your body.  Slightly delay your hips and your legs.  You want to delay your hips and legs because that slight delay will force your legs and hips to generate an extra whip to your shot.  As you are about to make contact with the ball, your entire body, aside from your planting foot, needs to be parallel with the ground.  It should appear as though you are doing a karate kick.

As you hit it, really sling your shoulders back across your body, and use your hips to bring your foot up and across to hit the ball with maximum pace.

A key point: as you being to wind up, bring your shooting foot straight up and parallel to the ground.  From this point, and to the point you hit the ball, your foot needs to make a downward motion.  I repeat, in the shooting motion, your foot needs to come from a high point to a low point.  This is the foundation of keeping the ball low and not sailing it over the net.  Too many players make the mistake of creating a shooting motion where their foot travels upwards the entire time.  And then players wonder why their shots go over the net when hitting a volley – where else is it supposed to go if you are swinging upward?

Alternatively, if you are swinging down ward, the ball will head downward.  The ideal contact is at the centre of the ball – but again, if you can create a downward swing, you will create a good shot.

It is very difficult to create a downward swing.  It requires you stretch quite a bit and it requires you bring your leg very high up.  A tip on bring your leg as high as possible in lowering your upper body as much as possible.

Watch here as an instructor takes you through the process of an effective volley:

  • Line up with your shoulders parallel
  • Begin to estimate the position of contact
  • Bring your shoulders, arms and legs across your body creating a wind-up
  • Keep your head straight
  • As you begin to swing, lead with your shoulder, then with your hip, then with your leg
  • Bring your leg up as high as you can, and then create a downward swing

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