Every soccer player wants to hear the rippling of the net and see the ball fly past the keeper’s outstretched grasp. This is why soccer shooting skill is not only as important as dribbling and passing, but also a favorite skill to learn.
Shooting is complex because it involves so many movements that need to come together perfectly. No other skill requires such constant training and tweaking. This is especially hard for players who don’t have proper training, and have to rely on the guess-and-check method.
Additionally, players need to know where to shoot the ball in specific situations, and how to get a shot off, among other things. It is no wonder that shooting is one of the hardest skills in soccer.
With training, you will master the art of soccer shooting. Let’s put the ball in the back of the net!
The Parts of a Soccer Ball
Learning what the different parts of the ball do is simple, and yet very vital. In this article you will learn how to choose where the ball goes and how to keep it low and high.
The parts of a ball direction wise are:
Kicking the ball in the middle will direct it straight.
Kicking the right side of the ball will send it left.
Kicking the left side of the ball will direct it right.
Where to Shoot
The basics of scoring is to shot away from the goalkeeper into the corner. When you are closer to the goalkeeper, it is less power becomes necessary and you should focus on accuracy (using an inside shot works well).
Finishers often naturally display initiative: If the goalie is far off his line, chip him. If you are far away from the goal, more power is necessary. All of these basics are learned through play.
Most players feel the need to hit the ball in the upper ninety (the top corner of the goal), but this often leads to shooting the ball over the goal.
You may be surprised to hear that more goals are scored on the ground than in the air. A well placed shot in the corner is very hard for keepers to block (even from a distance), and there is no chance of the ball going over the goal.
What is the obsession with height then? Most players naturally want to hit the ball high because it looks better. They want to hit the upper ninety because that’s what pros do; however, this obsession is unhealthy because most shots go over the goal (SoccerU says 90 percent of them).
Striking the ball on the ground will reduce the chance of missing (because the ball can’t go over the net), and will make you a goalies worst nightmare. Goalies hate shots on the ground because they are hard to block.
Basically, the farther away you are from the goal, the more power you need to put on your shots. When you are far from the goal accuracy becomes less important, and you should probably use a standard or straight shot rather than a inside shot.
This works the opposite way too, meaning, the closer you get to the goal, the less power is important. An inside or chip shot is your best choice when you get near the goal (usually inside of the box is considered near).
Remember that there are many variables when it comes to shooting, so distance should not be your primary concern when deciding how to shot.
Where the goalkeeper is standing is a very important aspect you should look at when determining where to shoot. Here are some rules you should follow when dealing with goalies:
- Most of the time, shoot across the goalie
- Catch the goalie wandering. If he/she favors one side or is too far out of the goal, make sure you utilize that.
- Always know where the goalie is, but look at the ball.
Looking to Shoot
By now you have learned a lot about shooting the ball, but it is no use if you don’t know how to get a shot off in a game. This article teaches you that shooting into a crowd isn’t bad, getting over fear of shooting, and when to use different types of soccer shots
Read Looking to Shoot
Shooting While Running
It is important that you follow the soccer shooting technique exactly except for these changes which you implement if you are running:
1. Place Foot Moved Up
When taking a shot normally, you should place your place foot even with the ball. When you are running it is vital that you place it in front of the ball. Making this change alone, will make shooting while running much easier.
2. Smaller Hop
When you are running, you don’t want to lose any momentum that your speed brings. Take a smaller hop, and then explode into the ball.
Stride to the Ball
Whenever I watch novice players attempt to shoot while running, I see the following things:
- Short stutter steps that greatly slow the player.
- Long strides that mess up the player.
- Normal running, but then changed stride length when the ball is near.
One thing is common with all these mistakes, the player is greatly slowed down. What should take a few seconds can go on for 6 or 7 seconds. This gives defenders and goalies much needed time to block the shot.
Learning to run naturally and strike a ball is hard, but very necessary to getting a good shot off.
The only way you can improve this is by practicing. Set aside 16 minutes or so in a training session, and just practice keeping stride length constant. When you get better you can start increasing speed.
When to Shoot
When to shoot is really decided by you. You should always look for a shot when you’re in the box because you are definitely in scoring distance, but how far away you shoot depends on many factors. Players have even scored from half-field before!
As a player, you need to know where you can realistically score from. This is done from game experience and from practicing on a regulation field.
Another factor is where defenders or even your own teammates are. Sometimes you are in a great position to shoot, but there are defenders in the way. You can either attempt to beat them and get a shot of here, or pass the ball off.
Speaking of defenders, don’t be afraid of them. Though I admit it is annoying to have a shot blocked, you can’t let that fear get in the way of shooting. Shooting into crowds is great because the goalie can’t see as well in the confusion, and the ball might just bounce of a defender and into the net. If you wait to long determining if your shot will be blocked, you miss out on vital opportunities. If a defender is not directly marking you, most of the time, the ball will not be blocked.
Remember that when one type of shoot seems impossible to execute, you may be able to use a different type of shot. Mastering all the types of shots will allow you to look to shoot in creative ways.
Above all, shoot, shoot, and shoot. You can’t be afraid to shoot or you will never score. If you don’t shoot you can’t score, remember that!