It is one of the great misconceptions of our sport that the toe ball is solely the domain of the inept, a weapon wielded only by the lazy and the stiff.
Along with the drag-back, infinitely less useful than you might think, proper shooting technique is the first thing emphasized at youth football programs. Coaches feel it is their prerogative to ignore time-honored techniques and beat into their players the importance of shooting with the laces, and the laces alone.
Sometimes, the first years of a player’s footballing eductation are spent eliminating the toe ball. At football summer camps, men in shiny new gear, smiles gleaming tote around carts full of “sweet spot straps” – wide rings of plastic that are strapped around a player’s kicking foot several inches above the toe. Not only do such devices cut off circulation, but they also tend to snap in half after making contact with the ball.