If you’ve ever watched professional soccer, chances are you’ve seen professional players “bend” the ball. Manchester United and England great David Beckham became famous for mastering this technique, which popularized the phrase, “bend it like Beckham.” While it takes a lot of practice to become an expert, by learning the proper way to strike a ball any player can get it to swerve in mid-flight.
The main thing to consider when attempting to bend the ball is the way you strike it. If you’re kicking with your right foot, you’ll want to strike the lower right portion of the ball with the inside of your foot and your toes pointed down. This will get the ball off the ground and get it to move from right to left in the air. When executing these techniques, it’s important to remember basic fundamentals as well, like keeping your weight over the ball. If you’re kicking with your left, this will be reversed - you’ll strike the lower left portion of the ball to get it to move left to right in mid-air.
You can also bend the ball in the opposite direction using the outside of your foot, but this technique is more difficult. You’ll still keep your toes pointed down and strike the outside of the ball (right side if you’re left-footed, left side if you’re right-footed), but this time swinging through and making contact with the outside of your boot. This is tough to get right, but will get the ball to bend in the opposite direction that your natural strike would.
Patience and repetition are the keys to becoming a master of bending the ball. You likely won’t see the results you want at first, but if you keep at it, you’ll notice that your ability to swerve your strikes will improve.