What is a Half Volley in Soccer?

In the world of soccer, few techniques captivate fans and leave opponents in awe quite like the half volley.

As the ball zips through the air and meets the player’s foot with precision, a symphony of power, accuracy and skill is unleashed.

But what exactly is a half volley, and why does it hold such significance in the beautiful game?

Well, let’s cut right to the chase by giving you a quick definition of the term.

A half volley in soccer is a shooting technique executed by striking the ball immediately after it bounces up off of the ground.

what is a half volley in soccer - hitting the ball after it bounces off the ground

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the half volley, exploring its technical aspects, examining the key elements that contribute to its success, as well as highlighting the players who have mastered this enigmatic art.

Whether you’re a soccer enthusiast seeking to deepen your understanding of the game or an aspiring player looking to elevate your skills, this exploration of the half volley will provide you with valuable insights and inspiration.


Why is it called a half volley?

The term “half volley” in soccer originates from the concept of volleying, which refers to striking the ball in mid-air without allowing it to touch the ground.

When the ball is played directly from a pass or a deflection and struck before it makes contact with the ground, this is known as a volley.

The name “half volley” is then derived from the idea that the ball has travelled only halfway between the initial pass or deflection and the ground.

what is a half volley in soccer - striking the ball after it descends from its trajectory

Unlike a full volley, where the ball is struck directly from the air without any bounce, the half volley involves hitting the ball as it ascends or descends from its bouncing trajectory, resulting in a unique combination of timing and technique.


What is the difference between a volley and a half volley?

In soccer, the terms “volley” and “half volley” refer to two distinct striking techniques, each with its own characteristics and requirements.

Understanding the differences between these two techniques is crucial for players aiming to execute them effectively on the field.

A volley occurs when a player strikes the ball while it’s in mid-air, without allowing it to touch the ground.

In a volley, the player must make contact with the ball before it bounces or after a teammate or opponent plays it in the air.

The ball is struck with the foot directly from the air, without any intervening ground contact.

On the other hand, a half volley is a specific type of strike that happens when a player receives the ball directly from a pass or a deflection and strikes it before it touches the ground.

In this case, the ball has already started descending from its trajectory, and the player must time their strike to connect with it just as it reaches the ground or slightly above it.

The key distinction between a volley and a half volley lies in the timing and positioning of the ball.

With a volley, the ball is struck before it touches the ground, whereas in a half volley, the player strikes the ball as it is descending or just as it reaches the ground.

The half volley requires quick adaptation and excellent coordination, as the player must adjust their technique to make solid contact with the ball despite its changing trajectory.

More so, the mechanics of the two techniques also differ.

When it comes to a volley, the player typically generates power and accuracy through a swift, controlled swing of the striking leg, ensuring a clean strike with the desired force.

In contrast, a half volley often requires a more delicate touch, as the player must control the ball and maintain accuracy while dealing with the ball’s slight rebound off the ground.


How do you hit a half volley in soccer?

Now here are a series of steps you can follow to execute a half volley on the soccer pitch with great precision:

  • Be prepared to seize the opportunity that may arise. This situation commonly occurs when your team takes a corner kick, and the opposing team clears the ball with little conviction. If, by fortunate chance, the ball lands perfectly at your feet, make sure to fully capitalize on this golden opportunity. In this scenario, there is no need for a running start.
  • Position yourself strategically so that your kicking foot is placed directly behind the ball.
  • Align your entire body with the ball, ensuring that you are leaning slightly forward.
  • When the ball is approximately 15 centimetres (i.e. 8 inches) above the ground, strike the front surface of the ball (the side facing you) with your laces for a straight shot. If you intend to curve the ball, utilize your outstep.
  • Follow through by allowing your feet to descend in a graceful parabolic arc. This motion completes the striking action and ensures proper control and accuracy.


Which players have scored great half volleys in soccer games?

Of course, many professional athletes in this sport have been able to perform this shooting technique quite flawlessly during competitive matches.

And there’s actually no better time than now to highlight some of the standout half volleys we’ve witnessed over the years.

So, here’s our list of half volley goals worth checking out:


1. Didier Drogba vs Liverpool (2006)

Didier Drogba’s half volley goal against Liverpool in 2006 is remembered as one of his most spectacular and decisive strikes.

Have a look at it below:

As the ball descended towards him, Drogba timed his run and set himself up perfectly.

With great agility and precision, he unleashed a powerful half volley that soared through the air, leaving Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina with no chance of making a save.

The shot was struck cleanly and with significant power, sailing into the top left corner of the net.


2. Robbie Keane vs Arsenal (2008)

Robbie Keane’s half volley goal against Arsenal in 2008 remains one of the standout moments of his career.

Check out this beauty of a goal:

In the 41st minute of the match, a lofted clearance from the right flank found its way to Robbie Keane who was accelerating towards the penalty area.

As the ball floated in the air and eventually bounced right in front of him, Keane demonstrated exceptional technique and instinct to execute a stunning half volley.


3. Papiss Cisse vs Chelsea (2012)

Papiss Cissé’s half volley goal against Chelsea in 2012 is widely regarded as one of the most extraordinary strikes in Premier League history.

Just take a look at the footage of this below:

As the ball descended, Cissé positioned himself and demonstrated remarkable technique and audacity to attempt a challenging half volley from an acute angle.

The sidespin on the angled shot with his right foot ball took away from the gloves of retreating goalkeeper Petr Cech, who couldn’t manage to get a hand to the ball to keep it out of the goal.


Concluding thoughts

The half volley in soccer is a captivating technique that combines skill, timing, and instinct.

This striking technique, executed when the ball is struck before it touches the ground after a pass or deflection, has produced some of the most memorable moments in the game’s history.

Through this article, we have delved into the intricacies of the half volley, exploring its technical aspects, examining key elements for success, and highlighting the remarkable players who have left their mark with this enigmatic skill.

From the legends of the past to the rising stars of the present, the half volley continues to inspire players and fans alike.

By understanding and harnessing the power of the half volley, players can elevate their game and unlock new dimensions of their skill set.

For further reading on soccer’s many shooting techniques, you can have a read of our related content piece over on our blog concerning what a bicycle kick in soccer is all about.


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Samuel Waihenya
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