Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Psychology

Staff

Publication details for Dr Daniel Smith

Carey, D.P., Smith, G, Smith, D.T., Shepherd, JW, Skriver, J, Ord, L & Rutland, A (2001). Footedness in world soccer: an analysis of France '98. Journal Of Sports Sciences 19(11): 855-864.
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0264-0414
  • Keywords: asymmetry; footedness; soccer; World CupFOOT PREFERENCE; KICKING; PLAYERS; SPORTS; SKILL; COORDINATION; HANDEDNESS; ADVANTAGE; TORQUES

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Most football players and coaches agree that players are capable of
learning to use both feet with equal frequency and efficiency - that
is, become 'two-footed'. There is also some consensus that two-footed
play is associated with skill in individual players. If these
assumptions are true, then the world's elite football players should be
substantially less 'one-footed' than the rest of the population. To
examine this issue, we quantified the pattern of foot use in a sample
of 236 players from 16 teams in the 1998 World Cup (France '98). Our
findings indicate that World Cup players are as right-footed as the
general population (similar to 79%). The remaining players were largely
left-footed and as biased towards the use of their preferred foot as
their right-footed counterparts. Very few players used each foot with
equal frequency. Remarkably, both left-and right-footed players were as
skilled, on average, with their non-preferred foot as they were with
their preferred foot, on the rare occasions when they used it.
Therefore, it is unlikely that infrequent use of one foot compared to
the other foot can be accounted for by skill differences between the
feet. Players were most asymmetrical for set pieces; nevertheless,
first touches, passes, dribbles and tackles were rarely performed with
the non-preferred foot as well. Our results support a biological model
of foot preference and performance, as well as demonstrating the
usefulness of soccer for studies of lateral asymmetries.