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Football: How to Kick a Field Goal

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Kicking a field goal
Source: US Navy

A good field goal kicker can make the difference between winning and losing. Many games in college and the NFL come down to a last minute field goal. It takes a lot of guts and courage to walk out there with the game on the line and kick a field goal.

Soccer Style vs. Straight Ahead

There are two ways to kick a field goal: soccer style or straight ahead. In soccer style the ball is approached from an angle and kicked with the top side of the foot, just like with a soccer ball. In straight ahead style the ball is approached straight on and kicked with the toe. Today, all the best field goal kickers kick the ball soccer style. This is what we will discuss below.

Where to Stand

Over time you will find the exact right place for you and your stride, but at first you should take two steps directly back from the ball and then two steps (about two yards) to the side. If you are right footed you take the side steps to the left and vise versa if you are left footed.

Stand with your arms at your sides and feet angled to where the ball will be set. Your kicking foot a little behind your plant foot.

Visualize a Made Goal

Once you are ready, look at the goal post and visualize the ball going high through the center of the uprights. Keep a picture of this in your head.

Eye on the Ball

Once the ball is hiked and the place holder begins to set the ball, take one last look at the goal posts. Now look at the ball. From this point on, your eyes should stay focused on the ball. Focus on the fat part of the ball exactly where you want to kick it.


Step towards the ball. The exact steps and size of steps should be consistent every time. You will find what is comfortable to you with practice, but always do the same in practice as in the game and always keep it consistent.

Plant Your Foot

With your last step, plant your foot (left foot for right footed kickers) on the ground. This will typically be around 12 inches away from the ball, but the exact position of the plant foot will come with practice. Again, it is very important that you be consistent with where you plant your foot. Know where you like to plant it and use that spot every time.

The Kick

Swing your kicking foot around and through the ball. Kick the ball with the instep of your foot. Contact the ball a bit below the fat part in the middle.

Follow Through

Continue to kick through the ball. Your foot should go almost as high as your head. You get power, height, and accuracy from your follow through.

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How to Kick a Field Goal

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