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Why can't top soccer stars kick the ball properly?

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Steven Gerrard's 'collapsed core' as he struck a penalty for Liverpool against Ludogorets would put strain on his groin muscles, according to performance coach Dave Aldred. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Steven Gerrard's 'collapsed core' as he struck a penalty for Liverpool against Ludogorets would put strain on his groin muscles, according to performance coach Dave Aldred. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Steven Gerrard's 'collapsed core' as he struck a penalty for Liverpool against Ludogorets would put strain on his groin muscles, according to performance coach Dave Aldred. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

I spent an enjoyable afternoon last week in the company of performance coach Dave Alred.

Alred has been involved in top-level sport for over 20 years, notably working as kicking coach to Jonny Wilkinson and Johnny Sexton. His time with Luke Donald coincided with the English golfer reaching World No 1.

Part of our conversation centred on how little Premier League clubs work on improving the kicking technique of their players.

In his limited work with professional football clubs, Alred isn't overly impressed with the quality of technique on show. He cited Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the few players to have mastered the correct way to kick a football.

As we chatted over coffee, there was a newspaper picture of Steven Gerrard striking a penalty. Alred's verdict was simple: not the right technique. He pointed to Gerrard's "collapsed core" and the strain his technique would put on his groin muscles.

Ronaldo is one of the few players to have dramatically improved over the course of his career. One wonders why most don't and it raises questions about the quality of coaching.

Irish Independent