How to take a free-kick, by Dimitri Payet
Not many Premier League fans knew about Dimitri Payet when he signed for West Ham for £10.7m. It seemed a lot of money for a man who had only played in the much derided Ligue 1. How wrong we all were. Arriving at the age of 29, he was at the peak of his powers and brought a class and playmaking ability that was lacking for West Ham. There is one specific area of his game however that has lit up the premier league and that is his specialty with dead balls.
Payet has scored four free-kicks this season and all four have them been stunning. He has tricked keepers and physics to bring the ball inside the posts. Bournemouth, Manchester United and Crystal Palace have all fallen foul of Payet’s right boot. Last month he played for France and after coming on for Antoine Griezmann against Russia, scored a 30-yard free kick goal with his first touch! His most spectacular goals come when he strikes the inside of the post. In my opinion this is the most accurate you can be in. It takes the ball completely out of reach of the goal keeper and risks the most by missing. If a player is doing this regularly not only is it pure talent, but tremendous belief and confidence. He has honed his art over many years but it seems that this year in particular has seen him excel at it. He claimed that after he scored against Bournemouth he wanted to keep that technique, and therefore does not practice anymore! This revelation is astounding when you imagine Beckham practicing curling for hours on the training ground. Payet is quick to note that a lot of practice took place before the Bournemouth game however.
Meanwhile West Ham are counting their lucky stars and reaping the rewards. Payet’s contribution has been key to their rise up the table. He has scored 12 goals, made 10 assists in just 31 appearances. Luke Michaels of Bookmakers TV said “He has been the main catalyst in their form this season. Without the new signings of Payet and Lanzini they would not be anywhere near European places this season. That is why we couldn’t predict this! Who would have known they would have been so instrumental in their first season?”. This season could prove a lucrative one for West Ham if they do reach the holy grail of champions league. This would more than pay back the transfer fee for Payet.
So how does he do it? What is the secret behind Dimitri Payet’s success, well here is the key to Payet’s perfection:
- Payet takes a fives step back and one to the side in his pre-routine. He then has a slow three step run up to the ball.
- A strong and accurate standing leg is important. Payet plants his left leg close to the ball and creates a pivot he can swivel around.
- A short kick seems to be key to this technique. He almost just sweeps the ball of the grass swiftly keeping his foot square. The follow through is stunted and short.
- Make sure you run off to the left and wheel away ready to celebrate your stunning game winning free kick!