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Having a powerful soccer kick can help you and your team in many areas. Powerful shots, combined with accuracy, have a much higher chance of scoring. In addition, the harder you kick the ball, the further it goes. This allows you to be a huge asset on passes and free kicks.
Kicking a soccer ball fast is not natural and must be practiced. While the best can kick a ball faster than a car travels on the freeway, even recreational children and adults can pack a punch with their soccer kicks.
How Fast Can You Kick a Soccer Ball?
So far in history, Ronny Heberson has the record for the fastest soccer kick with a whopping 132 miles per hour. It’s even immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s been years and it’s yet to be beaten by another impeccable player.
Others who have come close are professional, top of the line athletes like David Hirst with 114 miles per hour, Steven Reid, and David Beckham, both with 98 miles per hour.
For an ambitious soccer player, those numbers may be a dream away but for an average player, the question still stands about how fast a soccer ball can be kicked.
According to calculations by experts, a soccer ball can gain up to a speed of 80 miles per hour on the average. However, it’s still quite a high number for average people.
Ultimately, it will depend on many factors such as the ball’s weight, material or how powerful the kick was – not including the wind and pressure, which will vary depending on a specific setting.
Factors Affecting the Speed of the Ball
On a normal and fair game, a top quality soccer ball from the market must fulfill these requirements:
- Spherical in shape
- Made of leather or leather-like materials
- Circumference of 68 – 70 centimeters
- Weight of 410 – 450 grams
The Physics of Kicking a Soccer Ball
If you’re going to bring science into it, you’ll find that some physics concepts can be applied to know how fast the ball is going to move once kicked. Newton’s laws of motion in particular explain the trajectory of soccer balls depending on different types of kicks.
There’s a big difference in the way the ball moves when you use a “toe kick” (using the tip of your toes or shoes) versus a “banana kick” (using the sides of your feet). It will determine the direction the ball moves towards and how the ball rolls while in the air.
According to the laws of motion, once kicked, the ball will gradually decrease speed because of the friction that goes against it in the air. The speed, therefore, is greatly in the player’s control as the force exerted on the kick will impact how fast or slow it will fall back to the ground.
Power and Speed of the Kick
According to livestrong.com, James Watkins claims in his paper, “An Introduction to the Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise”, that the time it takes for a soccer player’s foot to hit the ball is 0.05 seconds. It then sends the ball into the air with a velocity of 30 meters per second or 67 miles per hour.
The actual average numbers are pinned down by Eleftherios Kellis in “Biomechanical Characteristics and Determinants of Instep Soccer Kick”.
From research, it shows that youth soccer athletes with premium cleats for kicking can send the ball to speeds ranging from 30-40 miles per hour (mph), while a non-professional adult can typically reach speeds of 50-60 mph.
Nowadays, apps like the Adidas Snapshot app can measure how fast you can kick a soccer ball through your phone camera. This knowledge can really impact the way you train because you can focus your efforts on the major skill needed for the sport.
You can also practice kicking the ball harder. There are certain techniques to master that will help you kick the soccer ball a lot harder, but you will definitely develop this skill as you train with your team.
Benefits of Kicking the Ball Fast
There are quite a few benefits of being able to put a lot of power and speed behind your kicks, such as:
- Easier to score: the faster you shoot the ball, the less time the goalie has to react and save it. A fast shot, provided you are also accurate, has a higher likelihood of scoring.
- Kick further: When combined with getting good lift on your kicks, more power means the soccer ball travels further. This is great, especially if you are a defender clearing the ball, or a goalie taking a goal kick.
- More options: The harder you kick the ball, the more options you’ll have for passing. If you aren’t able to kick the ball very fast, then there are a lot of passing options you’ll have to skip, because you won’t be able to work the ball into the area. However, with power come a lot more passing opportunities.
Obviously, kicking the ball fast needs to be combined with accuracy. When you combine these two factors, you become quite a dynamic and influential player on the football pitch.