What is a Volley in Soccer?

In the beautiful game, few sights are as exhilarating as a perfectly executed volley.

The volley in soccer is a striking technique that allows players to connect with the ball in mid-air, unleashing a powerful and precise shot or pass without letting it touch the ground.

what is a volley in soccer - striking the ball when it is in the air

It’s a skill that epitomizes the blend of athleticism, technique, and split-second decision-making required to excel on the pitch.

In this article, we explore the essence of the volley in soccer, examining its definition, characteristics, and the factors that make it a thrilling spectacle for players and fans alike.


What does it mean to volley a soccer ball?

The term “volley” in soccer is derived from the sport of tennis.

In tennis, a volley refers to hitting the ball before it bounces on the ground.

Similarly, in soccer, a volley involves striking the ball while it is in mid-air, without allowing it to touch the ground.

The term “volley” was adopted in soccer to describe this specific type of strike because of the similarity in the action of hitting the ball in mid-air without it touching the ground.

It’s been widely accepted and used by players, coaches, and fans to describe this particular technique.

It conveys the idea of striking the ball cleanly and decisively, creating a sense of power and precision associated with the technique.

Over time, the word “volley” has become ingrained in soccer’s history and is now commonly used to describe a variety of mid-air strikes, ranging from spectacular long-range shots to delicate volleys used for passing or finishing.

More so, the term captures the essence of the technique, evoking images of players connecting with the ball in mid-air, producing thrilling and memorable moments on the soccer field.


How do you volley a soccer ball?

Of course the exact sequence of steps to execute a volley in soccer won’t be the same each and every time, there’s a general technical standard that one can aim for.

Follow the steps below to get your volleying technique up to scratch:

  • Position yourself well with your side facing the target, ensuring that your shoulder is aligned in the same direction.
  • Take a step towards the goal, keeping your planted foot pointing directly at the target while your body maintains a sideways orientation.
  • As you step, remember to open up your legs, allowing your thigh to be drawn back, generating power for your strike.
  • Prepare for the strike by locking your ankle, ensuring that your toe is pointing straight down. Aim to strike the ball in the middle to upper middle area, which will result in a straight or downward trajectory. Avoid striking underneath the ball, as that’ll cause it to rise.
  • Follow through with your motion, allowing your shoulders and body to rotate and face the target, emphasizing a complete finish to your strike.


Which players have scored great volleys in competitive matches?

There have been countless goals of fantastic quality scored over the last couple of decades.

But here we’re going to be taking a closer look at the most iconic soccer volleys from players which have managed to find the back of the goalkeeper’s net.

First up, we have…


1. Zinedine Zidane

In the thrilling UEFA Champions League encounter between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen which took place in 2002, a goal unfolded that undoubtedly deserves its place at the top of the list.

What transpired next was a truly extraordinary moment – a marvellous volley that left spectators spellbound, defying belief with its sheer brilliance.

Take a look at the strike in the video below:


2. Marco van Basten

During the captivating clash between the Netherlands and the Soviet Union in the 1988 European Championship final, a goal unfolded that etched its place in the records of soccer history as one of the greatest ever witnessed.

Marco van Basten, a player renowned for his exceptional talent, showcased his true class with a moment of brilliance that transcended the game itself.

Here’s footage of this particular volley:


3. Maxi Rodriguez

In a thrilling encounter between Argentina and Mexico at the FIFA World Cup in 2006, an extraordinary goal unfolded during the tense moments of overtime.

Maxi Rodriguez, with his remarkable skill and precision, produced a goal that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the World Cup.

Its sheer brilliance and significance elevated the game to new heights of excitement and left an indelible mark on football enthusiasts worldwide.

Marvel at this stunning left-footed volley goal here:


Is it easy to execute a volley in a soccer game?

Executing a volley in soccer is far from simple.

It demands extensive practice on the training ground, as controlling a soccer ball in motion is considerably more challenging than one at rest.

While kicking an airborne ball moments after it has struck the ground may offer a slightly easier alternative to a full volley, both techniques necessitate diligent attention and dedicated training.

Scoring a volley requires not only flawless ball control but also the ability to guide it past the goalkeeper with precision.

Similarly, when attempting to clear the ball from a dangerous situation using a volley, it’s crucial to maintain a sharp focus on the ball and ensure a solid connection.

Mistiming a volley can quite easily lead to an embarrassing outcome, which as a result may even leave one red-faced and regretful.

You’ll definitely want to make sure you practice this move over and over again in order to avoid the aforementioned scenario!


Can a volley serve as a defensive skill?

While volleys are commonly associated with offensive skills and the domain of forwards, they can also prove to be a valuable asset for defenders to cultivate.

In the event that the ball hurtles into the penalty area, defenders who possess the ability to control and clear the ball via a volley can be immensely helpful in averting danger.

Compared to attacking players, defenders don’t need to exert as much precision and control over volleys.

Their primary objective is to remove the ball from the vicinity, rather than directing it towards the goal.

In fact, some defenders strategically direct volleys out of play, allowing their teammates to regroup and establish a defensive formation in anticipation of a set play.

In essence, the significance of volleys transcends both ends of the field.

By mastering the art of striking the ball while it is in mid-air, players increase their effectiveness in both attacking and defensive scenarios, enhancing their impact on the game as a whole.


Wrap up

As we conclude our exploration into the captivating world of volleys in soccer, we have gained a deeper appreciation for the artistry, precision, and versatility that this striking technique entails.

From the audacious and thunderous long-range volleys to the delicate and subtle flicks, the volley has solidified its place as one of the most captivating and thrilling aspects of the beautiful game.

Samuel Waihenya
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