Do you want to blast the ball into the net?
If so, you’ve found the right article.
This article will cover the three aspects of soccer shooting, when to shoot, and how to shoot while running.
Note: If you want to learn proper shooting technique, read our article How to Kick a Soccer Ball.
3 Aspects of Soccer Shooting
Height and Width
To maximize your chances of scoring make the goalkeeper dive as far as possible. Shoot the ball close to the corner since the goalkeeper usually stands in the center of the goal.
Shoot the ball either above or below the goalkeeper. Diving upwards or downwards is harder than diving straight across the goal for goalies.
The top corner of the goal, or the “upper 90” is the ideal shot location. Shooting the ball low or on the ground to the corner or side netting is almost as effective.
Whether you kick the ball on the ground or in the air depends on the situation.
If there are players ahead of you, shoot the ball in the air so your shot doesn’t get blocked.
If you have open space ahead kick the ball on the ground (or with a little bit of height). Kicking the ball on the ground is almost as effective as shooting the ball in the air and you will never kick the ball over the goal.
I understand the temptation to shoot the ball in the air at every opportunity. Kicking a ball in the air looks incredible, especially when you score in the upper 90.
However, you will be more effective when you kick the ball low or on the ground.
Think about it like this.
You take 10 shots at the upper ninety. 4 are goals, 3 are wide of the net, and 3 go over the goal.
Now you take the 10 same shots, only you shoot the ball low and at the corner. You score 7 goals rather than 4 because none of your shots go over the goal.
Trust me. You will score more goals when you kick the ball low.
In conclusion, shoot the ball towards the corner away from the keeper, keep the ball high when defenders are in the way, and kick the ball low when defenders can’t block your shot.
2. Distance and accuracy
The closer you get to the goal, the less powerful your shot needs to be to score.
This is why you see professional players using a weaker but accurate inside of the foot shot when they are close to the goalkeeper.
You should still shoot the ball hard, but switch to a straight shot or inside of the foot shot for more accuracy.
When you are far away from the goal use a standard soccer shot.
3. The Goalkeeper
If the goalie is favoring one side (rather than standing in the middle) shoot towards the other side.
Shoot the ball across the goalie in most situations. For example, if you are to the right of the goalie, shoot the ball left.
Chip the ball over the goalkeeper if he is a decent distance ahead of the goal.
5 Different Ways to Shoot a Soccer Ball Video
When to Shoot
When you shoot depends on your confidence at different distances and the situation.
For example, You may have a good opportunity to shoot but passing is an even better option.
You may have open space in the attacking third and no passing options but aren’t confident shooting from a long distance so you choose to dribble instead.
Situations vary, but in general you should look to shoot when you are near or inside the goalie box.
Don’t let defenders stop you from shooting. A quick touch away from them will often give you enough time to shoot. You can also shoot the ball over them.
If you don’t have many options, shooting the ball into a crowd of defenders isn’t a bad choice. The ball gets through without touching another player more than you think and sometimes the ball deflects off a defender and enters the net. Defenders also obscure the goalie’s view.
The longer you take to shoot, the more time defenders have to block your shot. So worrying about defenders blocking your shot is often counter-productive. Shoot quickly and your shot won’t get blocked most of the time.
Mastering every type of soccer shot is helpful because it helps you shoot quicker. For example if you are good at a straight shot you don’t have to take an extra touch and approach the ball at an angle.
If you want to score goals consistently make looking to shoot a habit. If you don’t shoot you don’t score.
How to Shoot a Soccer Ball While Running
Shooting while running requires slightly different technique (technique for a regular shot is covered in our article How to Kick a Soccer Ball).
1. Put your place foot ahead of the ball
When you’re running the ball moves quickly.
If you put your place foot even with the ball, the ball will roll before you shoot. As a result, your place foot will end up behind the ball.
Avoid this by putting your place foot ahead of the ball.
2. Smaller Hop
When you run and shoot, you take a big hop naturally.
Use a smaller hop so you don’t hop too high. Hopping too high will reduce your momentum.
3. Stride to the Ball
Whenever I watch players attempt to shoot while running, I often see one of the following problems:
▪ Short stutter steps that greatly slow the player.
▪ Long strides that mess up the player.
One thing is common with both these mistakes – the player reduces speed and potential momentum. What should take a few seconds can take 5 or 6. These extra seconds help defenders and goalies block the shot.
Set aside time to focus to practice shooting while running. Focus on your stride when you practice.
Your stride when shooting should be the same as when you jog or sprint normally.
Start with a slow stride to learn the skill then increase your speed as you improve.