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.

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

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Hi.
    I am having trouble with the technique. Every time I go to kick I seem to be scooping the ball. I goes really high but only about 20 yards. I have kicked a 57-yarder off of a toe bash, so I know it is not the leg. I am assuming it is the technique, please help.

  3. I’m a freshman kicker who is really struggling with consistency. Some days I can hit 40+ yards easily, and other days I have trouble at 30 and closer. I always try to hit with the sweet spot of my foot just below the middle of the ball, but I always end up varying between hitting with my toes, my ankle, and everywhere else on my foot. How can I improve this?

  4. I am 14, 5’7 and am a freshman going into sophomore year. I decided to pick up kicking in the off season but I’m struggling to get good contact with the ball, and also hitting it with the right part of the foot. Another point is that my kicks always go to the left. Any suggestions? (Eighty)

  5. You shouldn’t kick with your toe it can break it

  6. I’m going to try out for kicker in my freshman year and I am practicing now but I am getting no height to my kick but when I do it feels like I’m just scooping it up and not making solid contact.

  7. hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  8. I can hit 28 yrd. field goals but i want to hit at least 35 yards.
    I have the power i need the technique. PLZ HELP!

    • Carson Gray says:

      I went to a kicking camp over my spring break… It was Dan Orner and I recommend going to him. We started kicking field goals from approximately the 10 yard line and started working our way back to the 40. The main tip is this, give yourself room for error, you and everyone else in this world is not perfect. Just like the kicker for the Minnesota Vikings, hitting a 40 yard field goals like 3 times but then missing the 27 yarder because he didn’t make room for error. So the tip I am going to give you is pick out something you see behind the goalpost and aim for it (which gives you room for error) and work yourself backwards from the 10 yard line. Thank you for reading. For more information on kicking visit

    • I can kick a thirty yard field goal and I’m only nine years old

  9. I got the opportunity to be kicker in eigth grade and had no kicking experience before and no coach who actually knew proper technique for kicking. I’m now a sophomore and not the best. I use to be a straight on kicker but I’m trying to convert to a soccer style method. I can seem to get the leg swing down. I need help to do this for the next season. My max field goal is from the 25(35 yards) and my max kickoff is about 35-40 yards. Any tips for me?

    • I’m the same way, but I am slowly improving on the soccer style kick. Focus on increasing the flexibility in your kicking ankle, try to rotate your foot more outward than normal when you kick. It feels awkward at first, but once you get the hang of that, you can add in more hip rotation, which is where the power comes from. Hope that helps!

  10. Felipe nogueira says:

    Hey guys, I have a problem with somebody could help me that would be nice! My kicks usually dont have a good heigh. I think it is because my drive step its too long. is that why?

    • Not necessarily. Try starting about 2-3 inches closer to the ball than normal. Keep your drive step the same length, and by the time you reach the ball with your final step, you should be able to get more under the ball. If you get too much under it, try moving back from your starting position an inch or two, until you find your balance. Hope that helps!

  11. 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!

  12. 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 .

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

  14. ” 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!

    • Anonymous says:

      if you look at it from the side it will be perpendicular

      • Anonymous says:

        The “tip” is a few degrees toward the holder in the plane parallel to the goal line. I.e. start with ball straight up and down then tip slightly toward the holder keeping both tips of the ball in the plane parallel to the goal line.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The struggle is real…..

  16. 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.

      • Boaz Chung says:

        I completely agree with Eric, I play kicker for my high school team and I use soccer cleats and I can kick 47 yarders as a first year kicker. You just need to remember that not all soccer players make good kickers. I use my adipures and use t90s for a little bit. I recommend a soccer cleat that you use often. But if you don’t have any, I would recommend vapors, hypervenoms, and maybe tiempos. But cleats do not matter. As long as you have good form and get lots of practice you will be fine. I was not the best in the beginning… I struggled to hit field goals from the 25 but now I can kick them from the 37 and the block helps a lot. So, practice,practice, practice.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Caleb Henderson says:

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

  20. 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

      • Boaz Chung says:

        Zac, i would recommend that you just need to practice. If you on’t already, I would recommend to add a tiny hop after you kick. I did not do this in the beginning so i was only able to kick it from the 25(35 yds) at max. But when I added the tiny hop I can kick it from the 37(47 yds).

      • Uh Zac if you’re only 13 yrs old and your coach said you can play varsity football if you can prove to him you can make a 40 yarder, then how the hell can you play varsity football when you’re not even close to being a freshman in high school? ???. Unless you have a varsity football placement in middle school. CHANGE YOUR LIE!!

  21. Vander grooms says:

    Ignore the second one

  22. Vander grooms says:

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

    • chris bonham says:

      kick the ball closer to the middle of the ball and when u kick follow through by skipping with your plant foot

      • Boaz Chung says:

        You can also try to take more steps behind the ball. This will give you more time to gain momentum and the momentum will give you more power into the ball. The kinetic energy from your body goes to your foot then transfers over to the ball giving you more power

  23. Vander grooms says:

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

  24. it works

  25. Anonymous says:

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

  26. 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

      • Boaz Chung says:

        I have the same problem like you…If you have this problem I would recommend approaching the ball at a different looks like you are aiming wide right but when you turn the hips, you will hit it more to the left which can make it go straight and into the field goal…I tried it and it does help a lot.

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

  28. 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?

  29. 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.

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

    • Boaz Chung says:

      I don’t think there is a way to get better without practice. I could recommend getting a soccer ball and practice kicking the soccer ball with the laces…You could also watch some youtube videos.

  33. 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.

  34. 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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