Toe Poker

Hi we have an 8 year old who is struggling with his striking technique, basically he is toe poking everything which is quite effective close in on goal, but it doesnt work from any sort of distance. It is early days on trying to improve his technique, but any advise would be great. Thanks.

  • Morning Steve

    Its really common especially for those youngsters that havent played that much football as its the easiest part of the foot to kick the ball with.

    As you say it can be really effective, but repetitions of touching the ball with a different part of the foot can help.

    lots of walking with the ball passing it side to side between the youngsters feet

    lots of rebound passing off a board or a wall

    untill they get used to the feeling of touching it with a different part of the foot, they will keep doing it

    all the best


  • Hi Steve, thanks for sharing your question.

    It's not an unusual thing for young, novice players to toe poke the ball as they coordinate their movements along with the balance required for kicking a ball

    A few things to consider:

    - use small-sided games which will enable this youngster, and all of your players, to have lots of contact with the ball.

    - try out the '4 goal game' using pairs of cones as small target gates; points are scored by passing the ball through one of the 2 gates. See attached image and scoring rules.

    - lots of praise for when this youngster uses and/or scores with side foot technique, maybe 'double points' when scoring...... remember to 'catch them in' doing good stuff as opposed to 'catching them out' and only coaching mistakes ;-)

    Finally, don't forget that a toe poke finish can at times be the best technique for finishing on goal and that the top players use it on occasions.

    Keep up the great work.


    Vinny Halsall

    FA Grassroots Coach Development Team