The Art of Curling: How to Curve a Soccer Ball

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

How do you curve a soccer ball? Curving a soccer ball, also known as curling or bending, is an effective kicking technique that can be used to add curve to a pass or a shot.

Whether you are aiming for a top corner free kick, dribbling through defenders and looking for a skillful curve shot at goal, or simply want to impress someone, knowing how to curve the soccer ball is an important skill for any soccer player. Just take a minute to watch this Youtube video of Messi’s curling free kick shot and be amazed.

In this blog, I will explain the physics of curving a soccer ball, different techniques for curving a soccer ball, as well as provide tips to improve how you curve the soccer ball.

How to Curve a Soccer Ball

Image by Gregorio Cavana

The Physics of Curving a Soccer Ball

Physics is the branch of science that deals with the fundamental principles of nature, including matter, energy, motion, and the fundamental forces of our universe, such as gravity. Newtonian physics is what tries to understand the things we can see, such as a soccer ball curving, while quantum physics explains the things we cannot see, such as how sunlight and Electromagnetic frequencies interact with us and affect our physiology.

To better understand the physics of a soccer ball, especially its spin, we have to talk about the magnus effect and aerodynamics.

Magnus Effect

The Magnus Effect is a crucial phenomenon to understand the art of curving a soccer ball. When the ball is kicked with a spin, it interacts with the air, creating a difference in air pressure on either side.

This pressure imbalance results in a curved trajectory path. Check out this video to learn more about the Magnus Effect.


Aerodynamics, the study of the behavior of air as it interacts with a solid object, plays a significant role in curving a soccer ball. The shape, size, weight, and materials of the ball influence the air drag and lift forces acting on the ball.

This is why it is important for soccer players to spend as much time as they can with the ball so that they can figure out how the ball’s spin works.

How to Curve a Soccer Ball Image by Omar Ram

Inside of the Foot Technique to Curve a Soccer Ball


  • To bend the ball effectively using the inside of your foot, you first need the proper stance, which means you are on the balls of your feet, your knees are slightly bent, and you are leaning forward.
  • It is also important to learn how to distribute your weight between both feet, the kicking foot and the planting foot
  • Also, make sure to practice with both feet to not create huge imbalances between both sides.


  • Approach:
    • Move towards the ball from the side, running at it at a 90-degree angle.
  • Lift and Position:
    • Lift your kicking leg and position the inside of your foot just below the ball’s center.
  • Strike Preparation:
    • Know where you want the ball to go, before you shoot, and see it in your head before hand as well
  • Ankle Lock:
    • Keep your ankle locked for maximum power and a controlled shot.
  • Follow-Through:
    • Follow through with a smooth motion, allowing your kicking leg’s momentum to complete the action.

How to Curve a Soccer Ball Image by Source

Outside of the Foot Technique to Curve a Soccer Ball


  • Keep your non-kicking foot a few inches away for ample striking room.
  • Swing your kicking leg slightly from the side and inward toward the ball.
  • Practice quickly shifting your body weight toward the ball before kicking for maximum trajectory speed.


  • Angle and Positioning:
    • Angle your body to face the desired direction of the curve.
    • Place your non-kicking foot just behind the ball for stability.
  • Foot Positioning:
    • Point your kicking foot away at a 45-degree angle.
  • Weight Shift:
    • Shift your weight onto your kicking foot, opposite to your body’s angle.
  • Striking:
    • Strike the ball’s center with the outside of your foot, using the outer three toes
  • Follow Through:
    • Follow through with a long stride, pushing off with your plant foot.

How to Curve a Soccer Ball

Image by Unsplash +

Laces of the Foot Technique to Curve a Soccer Ball


  • Kick the ball with the top laces of your cleat near your toe for a powerful strike.
  • Keep your ankle locked to ensure an accurate curve on the ball.
  • Practice with varying power levels and spin amounts for different shot arcs.


  • Run-up:
    • Run up to the ball, bringing your kicking foot back while keeping it close to the ground.
  • Foot Positioning:
    • Point your non-kicking foot toward the desired curve direction.
  • Strike:
    • Strike the ball with the laces on the outside of your foot, focusing on the lower half.
  • Ankle Lock:
    • Keep your ankle locked, follow through with a sweeping motion, and maintain a low body position.

How to Curve a Soccer Ball Image by Marcel Straub

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you curve the ball easily in soccer?

Envision an imaginary line encircling the midpoint of the soccer ball. Your objective is to connect with the ball just below this line, initiating an upward curving motion. When executing the shot, ensure your ankle is firmly locked, and elevate your toes upward.

What are the different types of shots in soccer?

  • Instep Drive or Power Shot
  • Finishing Shot
  • Chip Shot
  • Curved Shot
  • Volley
  • Half Volley
  • Dipping Shot
  • Bicycle Kick
  • Curling Free Kick
  • Low Driven Shot

How do you add extra spin or side spin when striking a soccer ball?

To add extra spin or side spin when striking a soccer ball, position your non-kicking foot ahead of the ball, angle your body towards the desired curve direction, and make controlled contact with the inside or outside of your foot. Lock your ankle, point your toes downward, and experiment with foot angles to achieve the desired spin effect during the follow-through.

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer the most important thing is to join a team and play the game as much as possible. If possible, analyze high level games as much as you can and your own games as well by recording them with a soccer camera. Also read soccer books, listen to podcasts and interviews watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.


In conclusion, mastering the art of curving a soccer ball involves a deep understanding of physics, including the Magnus Effect and aerodynamics. With techniques like the inside, outside, and laces of the foot, players can add flair to their game and learn how to curve the ball in various ways.

Consistent practice, the proper stance, and body positioning are key to becoming a skilled ball-bender. Whether aiming for a top corner free kick or looking to curve the ball past defenders, the ability to curve the ball is a valuable skill for every soccer player. Elevate your game, surprise opponents, and leave fans amazed with your newfound curveball expertise.

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