Hey Coach, I see players from the United States National Team kick a ball 60 yards in the air and it lands right on the teammate’s foot. My kid rarely kicks the ball in the air, any suggestions?
Coach: Chipping is a technique. The chip is what the golf club can do well but the pool cue typically cannot.
Chipping takes careful practice with the ball, and time to learn, but there are some helpful hints to keep in mind. First it helps to understand what chipping is all about. Though there are different types of chipped balls, the idea is to loft the ball high and have it fall to the ground in just the right spot. Sometimes defenders chip balls over the opposing defense for their teammates to run on to. Many Corner Kicks involve a type of chipped ball. The chip is also a way to service a ball, or to set up a teammate for a one-touch shot on goal.
A chip is a wedge that strikes into the bottom of the ball, causing it to jump up and away. The ball should climb quickly and should arch across the space to where it lands. The highest point in flight should be roughly midway between you and where the ball lands. While the ball is in flight, look for a backspin from top to bottom. This spin and the fact that the ball falls almost vertically to the ground, sometimes gives the chipped ball a stopping effect.
Some things to keep in mind while making your foot into a wedge.
1) Approach the ball at an angle
2) Support foot (the one you stand on while your other leg is doing the kicking) is about an arm’s length away from the ball.
3) The effect of #2 above is that the body and the leg will approach the ball at an angle to the earth, the sharper the angle, the more loft to the chip.
4) The toe is pointed down, and the ankle (as always) is locked.
5) Take big steps
6)Take a good back-swing with your kicking leg.
7) Strike the underside of the ball.
8) Foot Striking Surface is hard wedge-like bone (See, we were born to chip) along the inside of the laces.
Practice with a partner. Chip over a small structure (garbage can, recycling bin, not your neighbor’s rose bush). Start 40 yards apart. As you get better you can chip over higher, non-breakable structures. You can hone your technique and you will build awareness of where the ball will land. You will be able to send a ball sixty yards or twelve in flight and have it land on a dime or on your teammate’s foot.
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