Knowing what parts of the body the ball can hit and what it can’t is quite important within soccer.
As if the ball hits a part of the body that its not supposed to, it can lead to yellow cards and in certain scenarios red cards.
When people question what is okay, they often wonder if you can hit a soccer ball with your shoulder.
Will doing so end up with you being penalised?
Or is it completely fine to do so?
Due to the confusion around areas like this in the sport, I thought I would give you a short guide to using your shoulder in soccer.
Table of Contents
Can You Touch The Ball With Your Shoulder?
No matter where you are on the pitch, a soccer player can touch the ball with thier shoulder.
There has always been a debate about what counts as shoulder and what is instead handball.
However, with your shoulder being inside the armpit line, any contact with it is accepted.
Now while its completely fine, there is one no-no, which is shouldering the ball onto your arm.
If that happens, you will be called up on it, with a free kick being given to the opposing team.
So as long as you solely use your shoulder and not your hand or arm to control the ball, you will be fine.
Sometimes free kicks and penalties are given after the ball hits someone’s shoulder.
This isn’t the player’s fault, as this is legal.
However, the referee may have had a distorted or short view and quickly decided on it being a handball.
Years ago, these decisions would tend to stand with players going crazy with the ref.
But with the introduction of VAR in the top levels of the game, if a referee gives a penalty, for example, after it hits someone’s shoulder.
That decision will be overturned almost every time when consulting with the VAR officials.
Do You Need To Use Your Shoulder In Soccer?
You don’t need to use your shoulder. However, in some situations, you may want to.
That is because in some situations, using your shoulder can give you the best control of the ball.
For instance, if the ball is in the air, however, its too high for your foot and too low for your head.
You could then go with your shoulder to get the best control off.
So many footballers will then use this area of their body to control the ball efficiently when its mid-height.
Players also like to take it a step further by juggling the ball in-game with their shoulders.
When players do this, its not to execute simple moves its more to showboat.
They may keep the ball on their shoulders for a few seconds or do some kick-ups with them.
Here is a video below where the late Maradona, who once did some in a warm-up:
Can A Goal Be Scored With Your Shoulder?
If the soccer ball comes off the shoulder and finds its way into the back of the net, then the goal will be allowed.
The only part of your body that will cause a goal to be disallowed is if it comes off your arm and hand.
Now while not frequently, goals are scored with the use of shoulders.
It’s often not needed, however, when a player just wants to get the ball over the line.
Maybe they will throw themselves at the ball from a corner or a free kick, just hoping it goes in.
Using Your Head Is More Effective
Now saying that, its far more common for players to use their heads instead.
Even though scoring with your shoulder is fine, its generally not the best option to go with.
With your head, you can not only generate way more power, but you can guide the ball easier with it.
So while a shoulder is good for controlling the ball,
Its rarely used when directing shots at goal.
Its for that reason that for any ball that is swung into a box, players will go with their heads if its high and feet if its low.
Players Who Have Used Their Shoulders To Score
There isn’t a big list of players who have used their shoulders, as with what I am about to share with you can be quite disrespectful to the opposition.
Its for that reason, the small list of goals scored with shoulders has gone viral around the internet.
A few years ago, in Manchester City’s first premier league winning season, Mario Balotelli used his shoulder to score for Manchester City against Norwich.
With the team already 4-1 up, the Italian used his chest after a ricochet found his way instead of simply nodding the ball in.
Despite him getting on the scoresheet that day, many people branded him arrogant for showboating while his team was clear in the lead.
Using your shoulder to hit the ball in soccer is perfectly fine.
It presents a good option for you when the ball is coming at you at a weird height.
Now, if you want to learn more about soccer, why not check out these other interesting posts.
- 7 Reasons Why Soccer Players Get Yellow Cards
- 7 Scenarios Soccer Players Can And Can’t Use Their Hands
Finally, if you have any questions on soccer, be sure to let me know below 🙂