The strangeness of human life has left most people with a dominant hand and foot. In soccer, most players are right footed and often have very little skills with their left foot. Personally, I was a lefty but had the same issues playing with the ball on my right foot. As any coach will probably profess to their players, the ability to work well with both feet is crucial for success in soccer. Although one foot usually remains the better of the two, most professional soccer players can still do impressive feats with the lesser skilled of their feet.
As a player, helping to improve your less dominant foot simply takes practice. This is extremely frustrating because players will want to utilize their stronger foot for ball control and shooting, and thus it will feel like a complete setback to have to switch to their weaker foot.
But learning how to use both feet is absolutely imperative. The worst situations occur in soccer in instances where a player misses a sitter because he or she had to re-orient their body to shoot with their stronger foot. In the extra split second it takes to line up the perfect shot, a defender is able to get a leg in and block the shot, and the chance is wasted.
The skills in your less dominant foot do not have to be perfect, but a decent soccer player will have the confidence to occasionally take shots with their other foot and won’t waste a precious second shifting their body in order to comfortably take aim.
As a coach trying to teach the importance of this in youth soccer, you don’t need to make a huge statement about this fact, but you would be wise to encourage players to use both feet. A good example is when players are working on juggling. First off, you should absolutely restrict players from using their thighs (soccer is played with the feet), but then you need to encourage players to learn how to juggle the ball back and forth between their two feet.
This will greatly improve a player’s confidence and ball control with their lesser-used foot. Also, arrange shooting drills but require that players use their other foot. Try to re-create that sitter opportunity by having one player send in crosses in front of the goal and require that players shoot with their weak foot so that they gain some experience in those high-pressure situations with a moving ball.
Practicing penalty kicks are fun but doesn’t resemble most game scenarios. Also, most teams typically have just one penalty taker and they use their dominant foot to shoot, so try to arrange the hectic moments when a player really needs to get a quick shot on goal with the weak foot.
If your team can become well adapted at using both of their feet, not only will their individual talents improve, but your team will greatly benefit from the players’ ability to come out on top in crucial situations where their weaker feet are called into action.