Mastering the Rainbow Kick: Impress Friends with this Flashy Soccer Trick

Want to take your soccer skills to the next level and wow your teammates and opponents? The rainbow kick is an advanced technique that, when executed properly, allows you to flick the ball up and over your head to deceive defenders. In this post, I’ll teach you step-by-step how to perform a rainbow kick and give you tips on when to use it in a game to spice up your soccer arsenal.

As an avid soccer player for many years, I’m always looking for flashy moves and advanced techniques to improve my game and leave opponents in awe. The rainbow kick definitely fits that description. The first time I saw another player pull it off in a game, I knew I had to learn how to do it myself.

I remember staying after practice for hours, trying over and over to get the motion down. Rolling the ball up my leg, flicking it up with my heel, then kicking it over my head – it seemed almost impossible at first. But with enough repetition and practice, it finally clicked and I was able to perform a rainbow kick on command, much to the amazement of my friends and teammates. There’s no better feeling than surprising a defender with a rainbow kick and switching the ball in a completely unexpected direction to beat them.

How to Perform a Rainbow Kick Step-by-Step

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to execute a rainbow kick:

  1. Roll the ball up your leg – Start with the ball in front of you. Using the inside of your dominant foot, roll the ball up your standing leg, from your ankle up to your thigh.
  2. Flick the ball up with your heel – As the ball reaches your thigh, quickly bring your heel up to flick the ball straight up behind you.
  3. Kick the ball over your head – As the ball pops up behind you, jump up and forward, swinging your kicking leg over your head to strike the ball forward with your laces or instep, back in the direction you were originally facing.

It will likely take a lot of practice to get the timing and coordination down, but keep at it! Start slow, then build up speed as you get more comfortable with the motion.

Here are a few tips that helped me when I was learning:

  • Practice with a slightly deflated ball at first – it won’t bounce away as easily
  • Don’t try to kick the ball too high over your head at first – just focus on making contact
  • Practice on soft grass or turf to minimize ball bouncing away

“The key to mastering the rainbow kick is breaking it down into steps and practicing each phase slowly,” advises Lionel Richman, a renowned soccer trick artist. “Once you have the motion ingrained, then you can start putting it together and building up speed until it’s one fluid movement.”

Using the Rainbow Kick to Deceive Defenders

The main purpose of the rainbow kick is to deceive defenders and switch the direction of the ball, allowing you to get past them or surprise them. If an opponent is closing you down and you have your back to them, a well-timed rainbow kick can completely throw them off, allowing you to spin around them with the ball going the other way.

I’ve found the rainbow kick most effective when I’m near the sideline or in the corner and need to switch fields or change direction to find a teammate. Defenders don’t expect you to pop the ball up over your head, so it provides that split-second of hesitation for you to get by them.

You can also use the rainbow kick to transition the ball from your back to your front when shielding a defender. By popping the ball over your head, you can spin and continue dribbling forward in one motion without the defender being able to get a foot in.

ScenarioHow to Use Rainbow Kick
1v1 on the wingPop ball over defender’s head to change direction and beat them down the line
Trapped in the cornerRainbow kick to switch ball and spin out of trouble
Shielding a defenderPop ball over your head to transition from back to front while spinning past defender

Enhancing Your Dribbling Skills with the Rainbow Kick

While the rainbow kick is mostly a flashy move to beat defenders, it can also be used to enhance your creativity and improve your dribbling skills overall. Being able to control and maneuver the ball in unique and unexpected ways will make you a more dynamic attacker.

Incorporating the rainbow kick into dribbling drills and practice is a great way to increase your touch and control of the ball. It takes precise technique and timing to pop the ball up at the right angle and height. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at judging the touch you need.

I like to set up a line of cones and practice rainbow kicking the ball over each one as I dribble through. This helps improve control and placement of the rainbow kick. You can also practice juggling the ball up to yourself to rainbow kick it, then control it out of the air to continue juggling. These kinds of creative drills will translate to better ball mastery in game situations.

When to Use the Rainbow Kick in a Game

As flashy and impressive as the rainbow kick is, it’s important to know when to use it in a real game. You don’t want to just attempt it over and over or you’ll lose the ball and frustrate your teammates. The rainbow kick is most effective when used:

  • In 1v1 situations near the sideline or in the attacking third
  • To get out of a tight situation when defenders are closing you down
  • When you have time and space to set it up
  • As a surprise move when opponents think they have you trapped

I would advise against attempting a rainbow kick in your own defensive third, as a mistimed one could give the ball away in a dangerous position. Assess the situation, and make sure you have a backup plan and support if the rainbow kick doesn’t come off. Be smart about when you try it, but don’t be afraid to pull it out and wow the crowd when the opportunity presents itself!

Practicing the Rainbow Kick to Perfection

As with any advanced soccer trick, repetition and practice is the key to perfecting the rainbow kick. The more you do it, the more natural and fluid the motion will become. Soon you’ll be popping the ball up and over effortlessly!

When I was learning, I would spend 20-30 minutes before or after team practice just focusing on rainbow kicks. Break it down step by step and do each motion slowly at first. Once you start to get it, try to do it a little quicker each time.

I had a teammate who would challenge me to do as many rainbow kicks as I could in a minute. We would keep track and try to beat each other’s record. Little competitions and challenges like that are a fun way to motivate yourself to practice and master a skill. Now the rainbow kick is a regular part of my arsenal that I can bust out to impress friends or use in a clutch situation on the field.

Advanced Soccer Techniques: Beyond the Rainbow Kick

Mastering the rainbow kick is a great accomplishment, but it’s just one of many advanced soccer techniques you can add to your repertoire. Other impressive moves to work on are the elastico, maradona turn, Cruyff turn, step overs, and juggling combinations.

All of these advanced moves require dedication, practice and soccer skill mastery to pull off consistently. But that’s part of the fun of soccer – there’s always something new to learn and work on, whether it’s a flashy dribbling move or a clinical finishing technique. The top players never stop working to improve their skills.

So while the rainbow kick is a great trick to impress friends and opponents, don’t stop there. Keep practicing and adding to your soccer bag of tricks. The more tools you have in your arsenal, the more dangerous and unpredictable you’ll be on the field. Work on your soccer flair, deception, control and showboating – all while continuing to master the fundamentals and decision making that make a complete player.

With hard work, dedication and an eagerness to keep improving, you can reach soccer skill mastery and stand out on the field. And hey, if you need a go-to move to get past a pesky defender, you know you’ve always got the trusty rainbow kick in your back pocket! Now get out there and start wowing people with your new move!

Photo of author

Jadran Backer