A HS/College coach asks:
Is it within the laws of the game to “lift” the ball (meaning to slide your foot under and propel the ball up in the air — as opposed to striking or rolling it with your sole) on a kick-off, corner, free kick, etc.
Yes. We think. Probably. Actually, the only place which specifically deals with your question is in Law 13 (Free Kicks) where it states that “a free kick can be taken by lifting the ball with a foot or both feet simultaneously” (2016/2017 edition). So, at least for direct and indirect free kicks, the answer is clear.
What we don’t know, because the Law doesn’t mention it, is whether the same “ruling” would apply to such other restarts as penalty kicks, kick-offs, corner kicks, or goal kicks. Because, in general, all restarts involving kicking a ball are similar in many respects, our conclusion would be that, in practice, the “lift with the foot” approved for free kicks would apply to all “kick the ball” restarts, but with the proviso that all such restarts must still be governed by any other characteristics specified in the Law. For example, a penalty kick must still “go forward” even if lifted up. Another example would be that, even if the ball is put into play by lifting it up with the foot (or both feet), a player who did so and then headed or volleyed the ball would still be guilty of a second touch violation.
Perhaps the reason the Law is silent on whether the “lift with the foot” kick applies to kicked-ball restarts other than free kicks is that it really makes little sense (at least as regards to the purposes and dynamics of these other restarts) to kick the ball in this particular way. Why, for example, would a player want to take a goal kick or penalty kick using that technique?
In any event, however, the answer is absolutely clear with regards to free kicks, and probably the same for any other kicked-ball restart.