Adidas/October 2022/
4 minute read

How To Curve A Football

Bend it like Groom. Add an edge to your shots by learning how to curve a football with professional athlete Shea Groom.

Witness the ball curving through the air, and you might just think an athlete like Shea Groom is dabbling in a bit of football magic. What looks like a normal shot ends with the ball veering in a new direction, escaping any head-on prediction that the goalkeeper might have had. Curving the football – also known as bending – is what gives Groom’s shots a competitive edge. As a forward for the Houston Dash, she uses her skills to turn tricky shots into goals for her team. “Bending is important because it really deceives the goalkeeper, deceives the defenders and just puts that little extra spin on the ball that creates a good goal-scoring opportunity”, said Groom. 


How To Bend A Football

Bending a football is when you use your kick to put spin on the ball and control the direction of your strike by making it curve through the air. It’s a useful skill to be able to get the ball past the goalie, pass to a teammate or change course and get past your opponent’s defensive players. Learning how to bend a football will take your game to the next level. The bend will allow you to deceive the goalkeeper and your opponents. 
Bending a football is an advanced technique, and learning to master this skill will add a level of complexity and surprise to your shooting ability.

Step 1: Contact point

The foot and ball connection in the game of football is sacred. Connecting your foot with the ball at the right point will create a beautiful curve. 
  • Contact the ball with the area of your foot right below your big toe, just before your arch begins.
  • Imagine there’s a line around the middle of the ball. You want to make contact with the ball just under that line, which gives the ball an upwards curving movement.
  • As you shoot, lock your ankle and point your toes upwards, which helps you curve around the ball to create the bend.

Step 2:  Foot placement 

Proper foot placement creates stability and allows your hips to swing around the ball, encouraging a strong curve. 
  • Run up to the ball at an angle: this allows the space to be able to curve the ball.
  • Plant your supporting foot at a slight angle next to the ball. An angled foot creates side spin that enhances the curve.
  • Your foot should be slightly behind the ball, with a few inches of space in between. 

Step 3: Follow-through

Good follow-through is what will make or break your bend. What births the bend is the motion of your hip sweeping around.
  • As you kick the ball, swing your hip around in a sweeping semi-circle motion to create spin.
  • Lean your torso over the ball a little bit as you shoot it. If you lean too far back the ball will gain too much height and might fly over the goal.

Curving the ball:  Wash, rinse, repeat

Learning how to curve a football isn’t something you’ll pick up in a day. Understanding the art of the curve takes time, dedication and repetition. Groom believes that with repetition comes mastery. “I think that repetition with anything makes you a master at it. And in my game, things that I work on the most end up being such a crucial part and crucial skills that make me different and make me special”, said Groom. “So any time that you can get more repetition on the ball, I think that you're going to be a better player.”
Take it slow, and with practice you will become a bending sensation. Dive into some of our other three-stripes sessions on football techniques like juggling, dribbling and shooting to further enhance your skills. Let’s kick it out of the park!