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Different types of kicks in football: Explained

Check out the various types of kicks or shots in football that are part of the football game. We classified them depending on the part of foot used, ball movements and skills.

Last updated: 02.06.2020
Different types of kicks in football | Sports Social Blog

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The ultimate objective of a football game is to put the ball at the back of the net. Regardless of how good a team is playing, passing, or tackling, if they don't put the ball into the opposition's net, they can't win. They have to score goals to win games. It's as simple as that. 

So the forwards of the team are vested upon the role of scoring goals for them while the midfielders create chances and defenders & goalkeeper defend. However, others try to score as well. So here we have a list of various types of shots players perform to score a goal. 

Without further ado, let’s check out:



Depending on the part of the foot used:


1. Standard shot

It is the most common type of shot and players everywhere use this. It’s simple, if you play football, you know standard shooting. To perform a standard shot, the ball is hit at a slight angle with the area around the knuckle of your big toe. This is the most basic type of shot and it is usually performed when scoring from a close range.


2. Outside shot

The outside shot is effectively used when the players have a tight angle to score or is wrong-footed. This shot is performed as the ball is sliced with the outside of the foot and the ball curves a little bit. However, it is not easy to perform as not every top player uses this technique.

Notable players: Luis Suarez, Ricardo Quaresma, Thierry Henry

3. Instep shot

The instep shot is done with the top part of the foot or laces making direct contact with the ball. This shot is more accurate and has a good chance of hitting the target. However, it depends upon how much is used for the shot. An instep shot from a long distance will need more power. However, from close range, it just needs a little effort.

4. Toe shot

This shot can be very effective and surprising for the opponents. It doesn’t provide as much power or accuracy as other shots, but it can be performed quickly. For instance, if defenders are closing in and the ball is a few feet away, the player will not have time to line up a regular shot so he just sticks the leg out and kicks it with your toe. It is hit with the upper part of the toe.

5. Backheel shot

This shot depends on the situation. This shot is usually performed in situations when the player is not facing the goal and uses the back of the heel to score a goal. This shot comes as a surprise for the defence as they don’t expect it very often.

Notable players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Aaron Ramsey, Roberto Firmino

Depending on ball movement:

1. Knuckle shot

A knuckle shot is one which doesn't spin in the air and keeps changing its trajectory throughout the distance like a snake. It can have a swerving or a dipping motion, but no spin. This is what makes it hard for goalkeepers to predict and save. Spin gives a sort of stability to the kick but without any spin, the ball is difficult for the goalkeeper to understand. However, it is one of the most-toughest shots and only a few players have mastered this technique.

Notable players – Cristiano Ronaldo, Juninho, Elano, Roberto Carlos

2. Dipping shot

A dipping shot is performed the same as the knuckleball. The ball is hit with the top part of the laces part of the foot with immense power. This shot needs a lot of practice as more power may lead to the ball gaining height and less power may lead to a low shot. The ball rises a bit in the start and the dips in the last making it impossible for the goalkeeper to stop.

Notable players: David Luiz, Steven Gerrard, Hakan Calhanoglu

3. Curl or swerve or finesse shot


This shot is performed when the ball is hit with the inside or the outside of the boot so that it curls into the net. The better the technique, the more curve one can expect. These can be scored from tough angles and can surprise the shot-stopper.

Notable Players: Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben, David Beckham, Juninho


4. Rising shot


This shot needs immense technique as well. The ball is hit with the instep and with great power. It takes a lot of backspin of the ball to make the shot rise. The ball is hit clean without shaving it that leads the ball to spin backward leading to the rise in the height of the kick.

Notable players: Kevin De Bruyne, Toni Kroos, Bruno Fernandes


Skill-based shots:


1. Chip or lob


The chip shots or lobs are often used in tough and close situations when the goalkeeper comes off the line or away from his goal. In these situations, the attacker opts to catch the goalkeeper by surprise by lifting the ball over the keeper into the net. It is very difficult to perform because of the pressure. The ball is poked from it’s underneath to make an arch above the goalkeeper.

Notable players: Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, Ronaldinho


2. Volley

A volley is hit in the air as the player's foot meets the ball in a direction before it has time to reach the ground. It is extremely difficult to direct the ball in the right direction with this kick. The ball is hit with the front of the player’s foot, with the toes pointing downwards, and the knee lifted. This kick is air-borne. If the shot is hit right after the ball bounces off the ground in the air, it is known as half-volley.

Notable players: Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Zinedine Zidane

3. Bicycle kick

This is an acrobatic kick in which the player hits the ball in mid-air. The player throws his body backwards up in the air to hit the ball in the opposite direction. The player does a back-flip with the non-kicking leg rising first and the kicking leg after it. This kick requires immense skill and athleticism. If the kick is performed at the chest level, it is called the scissors kick.

Notable players: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez

4. Rabona

A rabona is performed by wrapping the kicking leg around the other leg and then hitting the ball. It looks like one leg crossed from behind. It needs incredible agility for the player to perform this skilful kick. A rabona can catch the goalkeeper by surprise. However, rabona goals are a rare sight in football.

Notable players: Angel Di Maria, Ricardo Quaresma, Erik Lamela

5. Scorpion kick

It is also known as the reverse bicycle kick. It is performed by throwing the body forward and kicking the ball by moving the scoring leg upwards from behind. The ball is hit with the heel. It is named as scorpion kick due to the formation of a scorpion’s tail while performing the kick.

Notable players: Olivier Giroud, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

6. Panenka

This is a technique of taking a penalty. The penalty-taker chips the ball over the diving goalkeeper to score the penalty. The goalkeeper usually dives on either side to make a save but ends up making a fool of themselves. The ball is hit underneath and this leads to the ball rising slowly and then dipping in the end. It is named after Antonin Panenka, who first used it in 1976 Euros tournament.

Notable players: Andrea Pirlo, Sergio Ramos, Lionel Messi

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