There is actual science behind it – the Magnus Effect – but learning the skill can be broken down into three clear steps: the run-up, the striking action and the follow-through.
- The run-up. Your run-up should have a bit of angle. Look at Cristiano Ronaldo – he has a very distinctive action. When you practice, you’ll work out yours. Based on your strongest foot, start two steps behind the ball and three steps to the side, and work from there.
As you approach the ball, place your standing foot (not the one you’re kicking the ball with) next to the ball – about 20cm or so to the side – and point it at a 45° angle to your target (the goal).
- The striking action. When you strike the ball, you should do so with the front part of the inside of your foot. Lock your ankle and point your toes upward. You should aim to hit the ball just below the centre in the bottom half and slightly on the side. This will give the shot some side spin and a bit of top spin.
The curved movement when you strike the ball should start at the hip. Your hip should be included in the action. This helps create momentum (and power) and spin.
- The follow-through. You can let your striking leg continue across your body – this should happen naturally and can help create side spin – or you may favour a style that involves your leg not fully extending in this way. Practice and work out what you feel is most effective and comfortable.