As a youth soccer coach and trainer, I have seen the disadvantages of not being two-footed. Because of this handicap many goal scoring opportunities are lost. Sometimes in soccer matches, a ball is played across the penalty area, and all the recipient of the pass has to do is just tap the ball in with the weaker foot, but because of this lack of confidence in that weaker foot, the player reluctantly choose to use his/her stronger foot. You know the rest! The ball is mishandled since the player was not positioned correctly to use the stronger foot, and what should have been an easy goal if the weaker foot was used turns out to be a missed opportunity. These missed opportunities happen a lot in soccer.
I witnessed this during the UEFA Euro 2012 Tournament. On June 9th 2012, the Netherlands played Denmark in group play of the tournament. It was almost the end of the first half and Denmark was already leading 1-0. The Netherlands were attacking. Then a pass from the left side of the pitch was played through to the Netherland’s top striker Robin Van Persie in the penalty area. Everyone familiar with International soccer knows Van Persie is left footed and relies heavily on that foot. The ball should have been handled with the inside of the right foot, but instead Van Persie received the ball with the outside of his left foot and made a bad first touch. His final shot due to the poor first touch was no test for the Germany goalkeeper. In short, Van Persie missed a golden opportunity to equalize for his team.
A finer touch with the appropriate foot may have created a better goal scoring opportunity. However, to his credit, four days later in the Netherlands second group play against rivals Germany, Van Persie scored the only goal for his team in the 2-1 loss to Germany. He received and controlled a pass nicely with his right foot, played it quickly to his left foot. He advanced with the ball with pace, got about four touches with his left foot and scored with an excellent shot outside the penalty area with his right foot (his weak foot). I’m sure he was criticized for not having faith in his right foot four days earlier, but being the top goal scorer that he is; Van Persie made the correct decision in the Germany game by striking the ball with his weak foot which allowed him to earn his first goal of the tournament.
Being two footed is a good attribute for a soccer player to have and coaches at high level look for those qualities in a soccer player. A player that can play with both feet may be in a sense twice as valuable as a player who is one footed. Further, a two-footed striker or forward will be able to score twice as much soccer goals when given the opportunity. Therefore, those soccer players who have the ability to use their weaker foot with competence can be valuable asset to any team.
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