Why do soccer balls curve?

When a player can make the ball curve, it is one of soccer’s most exciting and amazing plays. It is unquestionably a remarkable moment for a crucial reason: most individuals can only acquire such a terrific curve if they follow a rigorous training regimen. Do you know exactly why soccer balls curve, though? If the response is no, you are going to learn why.

Explained: Why Does a Soccer Ball Curve? 

A soccer ball’s distance depends on the angle and force with which the player’s boot impacts it. If the player strikes the ball square in the center with their foot moving through in a straight line, the ball will not curve or spin. Theoretically, by kicking the ball off-center, you may give it a spin. The precise location and power at which you strike the ball affect how much spin it possesses.  The ball curves as it goes in the air due to its spin. The Magnus effect causes a soccer ball in motion to curve. The first person to note that a tennis ball’s trajectory flattens out with backspin while it dips with topspin is Isaac Newton. the Magnus effect, rotating objects move through air or water. The spinning ball alters the airflow as it passes over it, changing the direction of the ball’s flight.


The air responds to the ball’s spin direction as a result of friction between the soccer ball and the surrounding air. When a soccer ball top-spins, the air velocity around the top half of the ball decreases relative to the air velocity surrounding the bottom half of the ball. This is because the tangential velocity of the ball’s top half operates in the airflow’s opposite direction, whilst the bottom half’s tangential velocity acts in its direction. Because the airspeed around the ball’s top half is lower than the airspeed around its bottom half, there is more pressure on that portion. This results in a net downward force acting on the ball. This is due to Bernoulli’s principle, which states that air pressure increases as air velocity decreases.

girl in a red shirt and black shorts kicking a soccer ball

The Spin 

The ball bends to the left as a result of the Magnus force acting to the left and the ball spinning counterclockwise when a player kicks the ball to the right of the center. The Magnus force acts to the right and the ball bends to the right when a player kicks the ball left of center, which causes the ball to spin counterclockwise. The soccer ball may have traveled up to a few extra feet from its initial trajectory by the time it strikes the goal. This is a great way to score goals since it confuses the goalie as he prepares to block the shot by changing the ball’s direction.

The Magnus Effect

Anyone can utilize this approach because it is a tried-and-true scientific one. Soccer plays that involve corner kicks, free kicks, wing crosses, and other shots and passes frequently experience the Magnus effect. As a consequence, players’ bent shots are the product of their utilizing the Magnus effect rather than simply being the result of chance. Right-footed players naturally brush toward the ball’s edge when passing or shooting with a right-to-left hook, while left-footed players often curl their shots left-to-right. 

How To Curve a Ball?

You should know that it is difficult to perfect a curving shot in soccer before knowing how to execute one. Professional athletes spend years honing their skills to make this shot. However, it does not mean you should not give it a try. This just serves to demonstrate that you can succeed if you persist in trying. Even the finest players must learn it and often practice it since no one is born with it. Follow the steps below to help you master this trick:

  • From the side, run up to the ball. If you have a right foot, you should enter from the left, but if you have a left foot, you should enter from the right. A 90° angle is frequently used to denote the ideal angle. Although this angle may vary, you ultimately want to take an inclined approach.
  • Strike the ball using the inside of your boot. It will just travel in a straight line if you strike it right in the center. You must make contact off-center to have the correct bent flight.
  • The amount of spin you receive depends on how much power you utilize. A stronger kick typically results in a bigger curve and more spin. You will not truly understand this until you have tried it multiple times with different power levels.
  • Practice makes perfect. Never stop practicing until you are confident in your capacity to manage the curvature of the ball. Although many players can curve the ball, only a few of them can control it with great precision.
  • Power Application. Finally, you should concentrate on kicking the ball more forcefully. More weight in your shot attempt will enable you to produce more side spin on the soccer ball, which will ultimately produce more curves. However, you must be conscious of the necessity to strike a balance. This is because if you shoot with too much force, the ball will probably go over the crossbar and into the stands. Just be careful to keep honing your craft until you achieve perfection.

three women playing a soccer game

Magnus, meet Messi

It could be because the Magnus Effect would seem to be the textbook solution to the puzzle of how a spinning ball bends in flight. Isaac Newton observed that in tennis, topspin causes a ball to dip while backspin flattens out its trajectory, and he was the first to explain this phenomenon. Another sporting example is the curveball, which a pitcher delivers with very tight topspin or sidespin rotation, causing the ball to curve in that direction. With free kicks, corner kicks crosses from the wings, and other passes or shots in soccer, the same phenomenon typically happens: The player kicking the ball imparts spin during contact, creating rotation that causes the ball to curve. A left-footed player’s “natural” shot will curl left-to-right, whereas a right-footed player’s “natural” approach is to brush toward the outside of the ball, generating a shot or pass with a right-to-left hook. 

What is the best soccer ball for curving?

  • Select Numero 10 Soccer Ball
  • Adidas Al Rihla Pro
  • Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball
  • Wilson NCAA Match Soccer Ball Vivido
  • Adidas MLS Club Ball


Curving the ball is a notable soccer skill that raises the intensity of the game. When players kick the ball off-center, the ball bends in flight due to the Magnus effect, causing spin that interacts with the air around it. Only with experience, strong talent, and comprehension of the underlying physics can a precise curve be produced. Selecting the proper soccer ball can help curves. Players that master this skill may make strategic plays and score goals, adding more uniqueness and unpredictability to the game.\