How to Easily Execute a Soccer Volley (10-Step Guide)

Smashing the ball into the back of the net from a volley is one of the most satisfying things a player will ever experience in soccer.

In part, this is because it’s so hard to get right.

But when you do, the results can be spectacular.

Who could forget such majestic goals as Zidane's Champions League winning strike in the 2002 final, Gerrard's to win the FA Cup against West Ham, or Van Basten's iconic volley in Euro 88?

While volleying the ball seems simple enough, there are actually a number of things to take into account if you want to master the technique and hit the target time after time.

To help you master the soccer volley and take your game to the next level, here are some tips and tricks that will help you put the ball in the net more often than not.

And a step-by-step guide on the technique behind it.

Happy volleying!

Tips and Tricks on How to Volley a Soccer Ball

When the game is happening quickly all around you, it can be tough to focus on your technique and remain calm when an opportunity to volley the ball arises.

That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to where the ball is, what players are around you, and try and win yourself enough space to get off a shot.

You’ll have to do quite a lot of work before the ball even arrives at where you are.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when volleying a soccer ball and one of the most important is to keep your eye on the ball at all times.

If you lose sight of it or get distracted by what is going on around you, then it is much harder to track the flight of the ball and adjust your movements accordingly.

Timing too is key because if you swing your foot too early or late you're going to miss the ball, miskick it, or connect with the wrong part of your foot.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to keep your eye on the ball and track it through the air as it comes to you, winding up to volley only when you think it's the right time.

While both of these two things are crucial, they both come to nothing if you haven't got your feet in the right place.

Your foot placement and body movement are both things you need to master if you want to volley the ball perfectly time and time again.

Putting your standing foot in the right place helps to balance your body while you also need to perfect the movement that goes into volleying the ball with power and accuracy.

When striking the ball, you ideally want to make contact in the middle of the ball as this will help increase the likelihood that the ball goes where you want it to.

If you hit the lower part of the ball, this will cause it to balloon over the bar while hitting the top part will smash the ball into the ground and take all of the power and accuracy off of the shot.

To avoid hitting the ball over the bar, try not to lean back when volleying it and this will help you to keep it down and on target.

As you can see, there are quite a lot of things that go into executing the perfect volley and so it's no surprise that pros get it wrong all the time.

The difficulty behind the technique and timing is partly what makes scoring a volley such an exhilarating thing. The only way to master the soccer volley is to practice, practice, practice!

Now you know some tips and tricks to bear in mind, how exactly do you volley a soccer ball?

I’ll show you...

soccer ball in goal net

How to Do a Soccer Volley in 10 Steps

To help you master the technique that goes into volleying a soccer ball, let's break it down into steps so you can see exactly what you need to do to volley it both powerfully and accurately.

Step 1: Get Into Position

When you see the opportunity arise you're going to want to either drop off your marker or make a darting run to win yourself time and space to get into position where the ball is going to arrive.

You can always do a dummy run to confuse the defenders and then power past to get that crucial yard ahead of them.

To make the most of goalscoring opportunities you're going to have to work for them!

Step 2: Prepare for the Ball

With the ball in the air, you want to position yourself and prepare for its arrival.

Don't forget to keep your eye on the ball so you can judge its flight and know exactly when to wind up a shot.

Stay on your toes and be prepared to react at a moment's notice as it is often hard to judge the power and speed at which the ball is arriving.

You may want to keep your arms outstretched so as to help yourself balance and also hold off any defender that has managed to close you down.

Step 3: Turn Your Body

As most opportunities to volley the ball come from crosses into the box, you're most likely going to have to turn your body to face either of the wings where the ball is delivered from.

This means that you shoulder will be facing the goal rather then either sideline.

Later on you will have to swivel your body goalwards, striking the ball as you do.

Step 4: Plant Your Standing Foot

This is a very important step as it helps to give you balance and ultimately control over the direction of your volley.

While your body should still be turned sideways to where the ball is coming in from, your foot should be pointed at the goal.

Step into this position just as the ball is arriving as this will help you to generate more power.

If you don't get this step right then you are likely to end up either too far or too near from where you can strike the ball cleanly and this then makes it almost impossible to put it in the back of the net.

Step 5: Draw Back Your Shooting Leg

As you step into place, you want to draw your shooting leg back at the same time.

Due to the fact that there is less resistance on the ball because it is in the air, you don't need to draw it back as far as you would for a standing shot where you put your laces through it.

As volleys can come at all angles as crosses come in, ricochets land at your feet, and goalkeepers punch the ball clear…

It makes it harder for you to time your strike if you have your leg wound back all the way with your heel almost touching your buttock.

With most volleys there will already be enough power and speed on the ball and so the most important thing is to get the technique and accuracy right so that you can guide it into the back of the net.

Step 6: Swivel

Here is where timing and keeping your eye on the ball really are key.

As the ball drops before you, you want to swivel your body and elongate your shooting leg so that it strikes the ball goalwards.

If you move too fast or too slow, the moment will be gone and you'll have missed your chance.

This swivel should be one natural movement as you turn to the ball and goal and with practice it will soon come to be second nature.

The more your body works as one machine, the more likely you are to make good connection.

Step 7: Lock Your Ankle

Before striking the ball, you want to prepare your foot to hit it.

You need to lock your ankle and have your toes pointed down so that your foot has as much surface area as possible with which to kick the ball.

By locking your ankle you prevent injuries from occurring and also give your foot a stable base which helps with power and accuracy.

soccer volley - by Marco Verch - Flickr

Step 8: Strike the Ball

Now that you've got yourself into position, have prepared yourself, and have timed the flight of the ball to perfection, it’s finally time to strike it.

With your body swivelling towards the goal and your wound leg arrowing towards the ball, you want to hit it with the topside of you foot with the hard part that is between your toes and ankle.

Remember to hit the middle of the ball so as to keep your shot down and get it on target.

Don't lean back as this will balloon it over the bar and into orbit.

By moving your body and shoulders to face the goal in one fluid movement, you'll aim the ball in the direction of where your standing foot has been pointing all along.

If you mistime the move or miscalculate the flight of the ball, it is very unlikely that the shot will be on target.

This is why it is important to take all of the steps into account and practice volleys regularly.

Step 9: Follow Through

While some players immediately break off and stop the movement as soon as they've struck the ball, it is not very natural and actually decreases the accuracy of the shot.

You really want to follow through and let your whole body turn towards the goal.

As your foot and leg follow the swing and swivel you've just done, they add to the accuracy and power of the shot, propelling it in the direction you were aiming at.

Step 10: Keep Playing

While you will hopefully be celebrating the ball bulging in the back of the net more often than not, a lot of volleys don't end in goals and so you need to be ready to instantly jump back into the game and follow up your effort.

Whether it is the goalkeeper saving it, a defender blocking it, or the shot coming back off the post or crossbar, you need to be ready for whatever scenario arises.

By keeping your wits about you, you can easily bag another couple of goals over the season if you simply play to the whistle and don't stop to admire the perfectly executed volley you just performed, even if it didn't result in a goal this time.

Who knows…

The ball might have been cleared out to the wings and you need to be ready for another volleying opportunity coming your way.


Learning how to do a soccer volley is one of the toughest things to master in the beautiful game, but it’s certainly one of the most satisfying to do.

Connecting sweetly with the ball and seeing it power into the back of the net is not just a valuable goal scored for your team, but also proof of your incredible technique.

The most important things to bear in mind are the timing and technique that is involved in striking the ball cleanly.

Good luck – you can do it!

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