Do You Want to Sharpen Your Shooting Skills?
All the dribbling skills in the world won’t amount to much if when you go to score a goal, your shooting technique fails you. Everything from your posture, to the angle of your foot, to the part of the foot you shoot with can affect your ability to score goals in a multitude of ways. Let's learn how to shoot properly so you can score goals in big games.
Reuters: Cristiano Ronaldo when he played for Manchester United.
- Get a good first touch that's out of your feet so you can take a shot right away.
- Keep your knee and head over the ball.
- Land on your shooting foot when shooting with power (follow through).
- Strike the center of the ball and strike through the ball.
- Keep your toes pointed down and your ankle locked.
- Decide whether you want to strike with power or place the ball into the corner.
- Keep your hips square to your target or where you want to shoot the ball.
- Take a look before you get the ball, know where the goal and the keeper are.
- Keep your head down and over the ball when you take a shot.
- Think about forcing the keeper to make a save - don't blast the ball as hard as you can.
- Bend your knees and have a strong center of gravity - good balance.
- Adjust to the ball by moving your feet so they are underneath you.
Before you even start to practice your actual shooting skills, however, you’ll need to have a firm understanding of when to shoot…
Go Window Shopping
Not only should you focus your body and your concentration on the soccer ball, but you should also keep your eyes on the field. Learn to spot openings through which you can shoot. Sometimes these windows of opportunity come and go in a fraction of a second.
In particular, look for situations where you can bend the ball around the defender and into the corner of the net. This way you are using the defender as a shield, so that the goalie doesn’t get a good look at the ball and where it’s going. You don't need to beat the defender to get a good shooting opportunity. Use the defender to your advantage to block the keeper's vision and take a quick shot.
There will be many times when your shot will end up being deflected by the opposing team and break through the crowd and slip into the goal. Or, a teammate may get a touch on the shot and throw off the keeper, with the ball going completely the other way, the keeper diving one way to save the shot, and the deflection putting the ball into the opposite corner.
In general, you want the opposing team to be worried about whether or not you’re going to take a shot. If there’s a small opportunity or even a half chance, take it with confidence, even if it's a long range shot or a shot into a crowd. When the defense thinks you’re going to shoot, they’ll rush towards you, allowing you to make a pass to an open teammate. You can also set them up for a fake shot. If they’re so used to you shooting, the simple impression that you’re going to shoot or even just a subtle cut of the ball will put them off.
Placing the Ball in the Net
These are easy opportunities where you simply redirect a cross or pass into the goal with the inside of your foot. As with playing a simple pass, you don't need to hit the ball with much power. Keep your ankle locked and almost re-direct the ball into the open space, low to the ground to the right or left of the keeper. Make sure you follow through. You don’t have to hit the ball with power all the time, just make it a crisp shot and not a flaccid, lazy strike.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you can pull it off and score, try new ways of shooting or putting the ball on goal. As a young player, don't be afraid to take chances, although you should build up your basic foundation of skills and do the simple things perfectly before trying to make heel passes or bending the ball with the outside of your foot like Roberto Carlos.
If there's on thing young players should know about shooting it's you don't need to kill the ball. Sure, there's a time when you want to put your full force behind the ball. However, when starting out it's about the right technique. Yes, you want to strike though the center of the ball with power and land on your shooting foot, but try to make the keeper make a save.
And then there are times when all you have to do is connect with the ball and redirect it on goal, with your ankle locked and your focus centered on where you want to hit it. There are times all you have to do is pass the ball into the goal. Shooting of course is about scoring goals, not blasting the ball as hard as you can.
Yes, you want to hit the ball with power but don't try to hit the ball as hard as you can. Usually when you try to do this you end up skying the ball over the goal.
Too many times players are all excited to score and they try to kill the ball when they shoot - meaning they try to kick the ball as hard as they can. The best goal scorers are calm in the box and always ready to shoot when they're near the goal but they don't over hit the ball. Think about striking the ball with power but passing the ball past the keeper.
Shooting with Power
If you want to strike the ball with power, then use the laces or instep area of your foot to drive the ball into the back of the net. Perhaps the best player in the world at shooting with power is none other than Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Take a look.
Don't Rush It
How many times have you seen a player get into the goal box and all of a sudden get over excited and rush the shot?
It happens way too often. Sure, when you're in the box and near the goal you'll need to get your shot off quickly, but there's no need to panic. Instead, stay calm, focus on good technique, and think about placing your shot past the keeper.
If you think about it, the defenders are just in a hurry to try to stop you from shooting. And many times they are in a panic and rushing to block your shot. A lot of times they over commit and even slide and try to block your shot. Can you cut the ball back or past the on rushing defender who is diving in? Can you fake the shot and beat the defender for an easier shot?
Watch great forwards like Samuel Eto'o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Fernando Torres, and David Villa, when they get into a position to score they don't rush their shot, they're actual rather calm and the defenders are the ones who are in a panic.
See David Villa's Top 20 Goals
In a way, in the goal box, you want to slow down since everyone else around you is going to be rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off. While everyone else around you is desperately trying to stop you from scoring, you are composed and know what you want to do with the ball before you get it. You see the goal and where you want to shoot. That's your focus.
Learn more about shooting at quick shooting drills and various ways to strike the ball.
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