Lionel Messi Shooting Technique Tutorial | How to shoot a Curve Ball | Learn how to do almost every step of his Shooting Technique
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1. Best Free Kicks: youtu.be/o3xWW-aDNBc
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Now Messi places his feet around 15 cm from the ball. As an avid freekick taker and practiser myself, this is abnormally small. For an ordinary strike, you should be looking at around 30 cm. Now I atone this distance down to the fact that Messi is extremely well-balanced, many people would struggle to execute the technique properly when placing their foot so close to the ball, so make sure you place it more around 25-30 cm away from the ball. His standing foot is also pointing towards where he aims the ball to end up. Of course, the ball curves around the wall with this style, but his foot is pointing towards where he aims for the ball to eventually end up.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Messi strikes the ball with this part of the foot (indicated by red blob on picture below). Believe it or not, this is nigh on identical to where Cristiano Ronaldo strikes the ball with his foot for his freekicks. Striking the ball this way, instead of using the toe area, gives the ball more power, and as we will talk about later.. Combine this with other factors and you get a deadly swerving, dipping shot.
But one of the most important factors is where he strikes the ball. This is where it differs to Cristiano Ronaldo's style of freekick. Its relatively commonly known that to swerve the ball, you strike the outer side of the ball to get it to curve to the side. For Lionel Messi, since he is left footed, he will always strike the ball on its left side, right footers just need to swap this round. See the picture below for evidence (red blob is the area to strike). Striking the ball any further out will lead to scuffed strikes, try to remember that the outer edge is too far, and if you struggle to connect properly with the ball, then strike closer to the centre.
But this single factor is the most important aspect of the lot! It took me a few hours of watching and re-watching videos to completely nail down his technique in my head, but this was what left me stumped. Until you look closer. In the past, Messi kept his follow-through extended like a normal shot. But what he has adapted this season is to strike the ball with no follow-through. I've tried to integrate this into my curling freekicks, but it is extremely difficult to do. So this is where you'll probably fall down.
Shows just how far Messi's follow-through goes. He swings his leg absolutely no further than the picture above. Why does he does this you ask? Well, this is what gets his power and dip on his freekicks. As you'll see from the video below, all of his strikes rise and then dip viciously, while always curling away from the keeper. For this reason, it makes it so hard to save for the keeper. So above anything else, shorten your follow-through! It'll take time to adjust, but once you get it right your freekicks will cause more trouble for keepers than ever.
5 tips to remember
Approach the ball from slightly less than 90 degrees
Strike the ball with your instep
Strike the outer-centre of the ball to get spin on it
Lean your body over the strike to ensure you don't sky the shot Shorten your follow-through to get more dip