In football, no one skill is more important than any other — at least in the eyes of a coach. But there’s little doubt that fans love the ability to score goals. In many cases, this skill is instinctive. But to perfect it, you must put in the hours on the training pitch. And you must work on your technique.
To help you perfect your own shooting skills, we’ve put together a list of tips. Put them into practice, and your own ability to hit the net should improve over time.
General Shooting Tips
Go for power
Of course, there will be times when finesse is the best course of action. But when you’re in any doubt, make sure you hit the ball true and hard. Power often leaves a goalkeeper helpless, even if the aim is a little off. Work on connecting with the ball in the right way to improve the power of your shots. Quite often, a good technique is more important than a strong kicking leg.
On the training pitch, goals are easy to score when only the keeper stands between you and glory. But in the heat of battle, nerves and indecision creep in. Any striker will tell you that a healthy one-on-one scoring ratio is crucial to a successful career — so you should work on yours tirelessly. Practice these situations every day in training. Ideally, slipping the ball past an advancing keeper should be instinctive.
Make sure you’re watching a lot of professional football. Keep a particularly close eye on strikers. Watch how they move, how they get into great scoring positions and how they strike the ball. If you have a favourite forward, study him or her at every opportunity. And if you need to, copy their style of play.
Hit the ball hard and accurately, and you’ll score nine times out of 10. Of course, this is easier said than done, but working on accuracy will help you achieve great things. You can do this on the training pitch with a quality mobile goalpost and a target net — which can be attached to any standard set of goalposts. You’ll have at least two clearly defined and relatively small targets to aim at, which should help you to hone your accuracy over time. There is also a target sheet that blocks the entire goal except for a small area at each corner.
Never get comfortable with a particular drill or shooting distance. Once you’ve mastered something, look for something else that is going to stretch your abilities and continue your learning. Practice makes perfect. Use our shooting targets to improve your accuracy.
Characteristics of a Good Shooting Technique
Every time you’re on the training pitch, think about the following characteristics of shooting technique. If you can master them all, you’ll find that your ability increases exponentially over time.
A sturdy planted foot — Try to plant your standing foot around 18 inches from the ball. Keep the foot flat on the ground, and bend your knee as you bring your kicking foot down. A steady planted foot is crucial to shooting in football.
A flexible frame — In most cases, you’ll need to use your whole body to deliver a killer shot. Not only are you using both legs, you’re using both arms and your upper body for balance. This requires a level of strength and flexibility, which you can improve over time with various items of strength and conditioning equipment.
The correct body position — For a driven, powerful shot, you’ll need to get your body over the ball. For a finesse shot with swerve, you’ll usually need to lean back a little and use your arms for balance.
Tip: The further you lean back as you strike the ball, the higher it will go. If you’re trying to drive a shot underneath the keeper, keep your kicking leg straight and lean over the ball slightly.
Follow-through — Follow-through is crucial for all types of shooting in football. Rather than trying to kick the ball, you should be kicking “through” it. The kicking motion should continue after the ball has been struck to ensure a smooth, controlled kick. A great follow-through technique can also help you to improve your shooting accuracy.
You might be getting the best coaching possible, but if you don’t put in the hours on the training pitch, it could all be for nothing. Practice… practice… practice. It makes perfect!