The two most common ways to kick a field goal are the toe poke and soccer style. Toe poking was used by many professional and collegiate place kickers in the past, including Tom Dempsey who is currently tied with Jason Elam (a soccer style kicker) for the record of longest field goal ever made in the NFL. Although over the past few years the soccer style kick has taken over and is now used today by almost every collegiate  and professional place kicker.  It’s popularity is largely due to the fact that it enhances the amount of foot to football contact which significantly increases consistency and accuracy.

There are five basic parts to kicking a field goal soccer style.  These include setting up the ball, taking your steps back, proper stance, approach steps, and ball contact.  To help you learn this style of kicking we have broken down each part for you in the steps below. Learn how to kick farther with Insanity

Kicking Equipment You Will Need:

(Follow the link to order on

  1. Holder
  2. 1″ or 2″ Kicking Tee (Unless kicking off the ground)
  3. Kicking Shoes
  4. Football

1.  Setting Up The Football

  • Position the ball perpendicular to the ground and leaning slightly towards the holder.
  • Make sure the laces are facing the field goal, this will give you more accuracy by eliminating the variable of hitting the laces when kicking a field goal.  It will also allow you to make contact with the seems on the back of the ball and produce maximum compression, resulting in farther, higher, field goals.

2.  Taking Your Steps Back

  • These vary for each kicker and may take time to find what works best. The important thing to remember is that they are consistent and you end in the same position from the football every time.
  • For starters you can use one of the most common combinations, 3 steps back and 2 to the left (or right if you kick left footed).
  • It will take some trial and error to determine what steps you should take so we encourage you to experiment a little bit.

3.  Proper Stance:  Athletic

  • You want to be in an athletic stance (knees slightly bent, on the balls of your feet, and body weight centered), ready to approach the ball.
  • Your plant foot (the foot that will be planted next to the ball) should be slightly in front of your kicking foot and pointing to where it will be planted during the kick.
  • Your kicking foot will be behind your plant foot and pointing to the football.

4.  Approach Steps

  • If you take to many approach steps it will take longer to kick the football and will increase the chances of a blocked kick. Similarly, if you do not take enough steps you will significantly decrease your kicking distance and might kick it short.
  • For a good balance between timing and power take 2-3 approach steps.
  • The first step (an optional one), often called the jab step, is a short step toward the football with your non-kicking leg. This short step will help shift your body weight forward.
  • The second step, called the drive step,  is taken toward the football with your kicking leg and is usually a stride in length.
  • Your final step will be taken with your plant leg and will anchor you to the ground during the kick.

5.  Plant Foot and Ball Contact

Using the right type of plant will allow you to make good contact with the football, a critical part to kicking a good field goal.

    • When planted your foot will be pointing to the target.
    • The depth of your plant foot depends on how high the ball is off the ground. If you are kicking on the ground your plant foot will be deeper than if you’re using a 1 or 2 inch tee.
    • The pictures below will help you determine the right plant foot depth for you.

      When making contact you want to hit the “sweet spot” of the ball. That spot is located about 4 inches above the tip of the football.  Kicking the sweet spot will enable you to get the right balance of distance and height on your field goals.  Making contact on the football with the large bone on top of your foot, the 1st metatarsal,  is critical for producing maximum transfer of energy to the ball.  Contacting the football with your toes or ankle will decrease accuracy and distance when kicking a field goal.

44 Responses to “Learn How To Kick a Field Goal in Football: Soccer Style”

  1. hey everyone i have a problem. I cant seem to make solid contact with the football. I know how im supposed to connect with the ball but i cant seem to do it. I always end up scooping the ball even though i lock my ankle at the full extent of my downswing. Does anyone know why this is? Foot to ball contact is a real problem area for me. Please help!

  2. I have a problem with making contact on the football with the large bone on top of your foot, the 1st metatarsal.
    What exercise do you suggest to make perfect contact and ex. photo contact on the football .

  3. Where does the ball hit on the foot and is the ankle turned out. Sure would like to see a photo of this contact.

  4. ” In elementary geometry, the property of being perpendicular (perpendicularity) is the relationship between two lines which meet at a right angle (90 degrees). ”

    Please fix the article. The ball can not be perpendicular to the ground and leaning towards the holder at the same time. It is either leaning or perpendicular. Can not be both. Myself, I am trying to learn how to kick, and this is the reason I am writing this comment. I want to know which one is the right ball placement – perpendicular or leaning ? Thank you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The struggle is real…..

  6. Varsity coach asked me to come out and kick for the team next year for my senior year. Any suggestions for what cleat to go with? I know some people use soccer cleats but not sure what to get

    • Definitely go with soccer cleats. They are already optimized for kicking and are easy to find. I prefer adidas, but all the brands have comparable performance.

      I used to hit 60 yarders (off a block) in high-school while wearing regular football cleats, though, so don’t worry about the cleats too much. Technique and leg training is the real key.

  7. I am kicking off of the ground and haven’t been able to kick a high ball when doing snap, hold, kick but can hit great height when kicking with the wizard (metal holder). Is this an issue with my plant foot or what?

    • It may be your live holder not placing the ball quickly enough or correctly. I use the same metal holder you are referring to. I would suggest using a 1″ block and planting where the imaginary line through where your toes meet the foot is even with the middle of the block.

  8. Hi, I’m wondering if the ball should spin when kicked. Also which part of the ball I should hit? I used to hit it very low but every time it just spinned without going far.

    • Make your contact where the “white line” on a football would extent to the back side, this is the sweet spot.

  9. Caleb Henderson says:

    I am not a kicker but want to become one do you have any suggestions

  10. I am 13 years old and I am trying to kick with my knee and ankle locked with my laces but when I go to youtube, kickers kick with the side of their and with no laces touching the football, WHAT DO I DO!

    • This has been my first year kicking. I am 15 and have experienced quite an array of techniques already. my max distance is 40 yards and I’m here to help. Do not make the contact with your laces but instead with the bone on the inside of your foot right next to the laces. Make sure that your knee and ankle BOTH are completely locked and make sure you are following through! For max power on a kick, on your backswing flex your toe and keep it flexed all the way through the kick. This will make sure ankle is locked.

      • Dude, I need help…my coach said if I get to 40 yards, ill start varsity.,,I’m 13 and I can only kick 35. VARSITY FOOTBALL. all I need is a couple tips on maximum power a d accuracy

  11. Vander grooms says:

    Ignore the second one

  12. Vander grooms says:

    For some reason when I kick the football, it goes high and not long. How do I fix this

  13. Vander grooms says:

    When I try to kick, it goes high and not long, how can I fix that.

  14. it works

  15. Anonymous says:

    When I kick I kick it straight but its short instead of going in it hits right below the horizontal bar

  16. Jake Sizzle says:

    I have a problem with when I am kicking I am consistently kicking to the left(im right footed). I try to keep my hips from over rotating but in games im still doing it. Also I kick from a kicking block and am curious on which is more effective, a block or off the ground.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try starting off from your stance pointing your hips and toes toward your plant foot. Control your upper body and get in a tempo when you hit. Worked for me I have the same problem

  17. How do you increase the height of your kicks? My kicks tend to hover around 10 yards in the air (best guess).

  18. I’m trying to switch from toe kicking to soccer style. Do you have any suggestions? When I try to practice, I keep kicking it off to the left (I’m a righty) Am I kicking to far up on my foot?

  19. Would yall suggest using a jab step with a 3 back 2 over approach with kicking leg back or should i lose the jab step. Ive been looking at multiple kickers, Nick Novak and Matt Prater to be exact and ive notice Novak doesnt have a jab while Prater uses a slight jab step. Thanks

    • AmericanKicker says:

      Using a jab step is a matter of personal preference. It can help shift your body weight forward but can also add extra variables to your kick if the length you step isn’t consistent. I use a jab step with my 3 back 2 over approach, not because I believe it’s better to use one but because thats just what my body naturally does. I’d recommend sticking with what your body does naturally.

  20. Trying to convert my 11 year old son from a toe kicker to a soccer style kicker. Lots of struggles!(Keeps kicking it to the left.)He’s left footed. Advice?

    • His plant foot is to far behind the ball. It makes him hit it with more of the outside of the foot. Have him plant his foot a little bit in front of the ball and the will solve the issue.

    • AmericanKicker says:

      I’d first check out The Plant Foot Guide as the proper positioning is the beginning to a solid kick. The rest of the soccer style technique can be found in this post. It will probably feel like learning to kick with his right foot at first and will take time so it’s important to stay patient, after all he’s got a lot of time. Good luck to him making the switch!

  21. cole montgomery says:

    I am a very good toe kicker and am horrible at kicking with my laces, how can I get better other than keep practicing more?

    • AmericanKicker says:

      Good question and unfortunately I have to say your probably not going to get better without more practice. That would be like trying to get stronger by sitting on the couch, it just doesn’t happen, you have to put in the time and effort. If you practice smart – good form and quality over quantity – you will get better at kicking with your laces.

  22. cole montgomery says:

    i am a very good toe kicker but i suck at kicking with laces how can i get better that is not keep practicing?

  23. cole montgomery says:

    i am a ver good toe kicker but suck at kicking with laces how can i inprove that is not keep practicing more.

  24. Mason warner says:

    I am 15 and my best field goal is 45 yds but I’m not consistent with my technique. I turn my hips and bring my leg across my body. How can I stop doing that

    • AmericanKicker says:

      If you aren’t already doing this, try keeping your eyes on the ball. What I mean by this is, keep your eyes on the spot of the ball you were aiming for even after you’ve kicked it. Like you would when hitting a golf or tennis ball. This should help keep your hips from over rotating.
      You should also take note of where your plant foot is pointing as your hips will naturally end facing that direction. If your plant foot isn’t pointing towards the field goal neither are your hips.

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