We have all seen David Beckham’s notorious bend on the ball but how does he do it? What seems impossible to do is actually an attainable skill.
When placing the ball, make sure it sits high on the grass or turf. If you watch professional players, they usually toss the ball into place with a little backspin. This both facilitates a quick restart of play and leaves the ball in a high position so that you can strike the lower hemisphere of the ball cleanly.
The key to bending the ball is how you strike the ball. Depending on the kind of lift you want on the ball, it should be struck somewhere on the lower hemisphere. In order to get the ball spinning, you should strike the ball slightly off centre with a lot of force.
The follow through is almost as important as the strike itself. Although you should strike the ball slightly off centre, the follow through on the kick should carry your leg straight through (and well past) the ball. Good form for a free kick is similar to that of a strong strike on goal: toes pointed, knee and head over the ball. The difference for a bending ball is that it should be played slightly to the side of your laces (instead of straight on for a low driven shot). The side you use depends on whether you use the outside or inside of your foot as well as where you want the ball to bend. For example, if you are right footed and you strike the ball with the outside of your foot, the ball will bend to the left.
It is important to remember that the ball must be hit with a lot of force. What makes a ball spin is its forward velocity as well as the speed of its revolution. With practice, you will be able to gauge how much you should bend the ball and how to position your free kick so that it curls past the defenders and meets an attacking head or foot. A bent ball is also very deceiving for goal keepers, because it can start to go wide and then head straight for the corner.