The world’s best players have more in common with the park player than first comes to mind. While we mere mortals might not earn their multi million dollar a year salaries, drive around in a Ferrari with a Porsche and a Bentley in the garage or display astonishingly bad dress sense, but all love the game. And that means, from time to time, we miss goals that would be easier to score. The internet is chock full with compilations of missed chances – there is one we particularly like because it doesn’t feature Neymar Junior or Lionel Messi cocking up, but everyday players like the majority of us. There is a video at the bottom of this blog. But even at the distinctly ordinary level of these clips, we shouldn’t overlook that there has been great build up play, individual and team, which led to the chances so badly fluffed. If our side can create goal scoring opportunities then they will, in the end, come to fruition. The soccer shooting drills we highlight below can help to increase the number of chances our teams convert.
First Time Shooting Drill
(In the diagrams, the small grey circle represents the ball; red lines equal passes and shots; blue lines movement of players; the cones are stations and circles represent players.)
The coach feeds passes to player one; player one lays the ball into player two, who shoots. The pass feeds the ball into the area, but no closer than the penalty spot.
- The non-kicking foot is placed in line with the ball, and pointing towards where the shot is aimed;
- Foot, knees and head in line with each other;
- Eyes on the ball;
- Strike firmly, using the laces if power is required, and the instep if accuracy and curl are required;
- The primary aim is to make the goalkeeper work by hitting the ball on target.
- The type of finish will be determined by the position of the ball and the location of the goalkeeper;
- Player two glances up during their run onto the ball to determine the position of the goalkeeper – after that, his or her eyes are planted firmly onto the ball;
- Player two times their run so that they reach the ball in their stride, as this allows a first time strike on the ball. Timing their run means adjusting their stride pattern as they approach the ball;
- Player two moves onto the ball in as controlled a way as time allows; this means bobbles and bumps that occur from the pass can be negated.
- Players should swap positions so that the get the chance to pass and shoot, and also use both feet;
- A defender can be introduced to add pressure on the striker.
One v One with the Goalkeeper Soccer Shooting Drill
This is a simple but effective soccer shooting drill. While a first time shot is instinctive, and therefore physical technique is vital, with a 1 v 1 against the keeper the striker has more time to think. This is not always a good thing, as it can lead to indecision.
Fundamentally, the striker has four options in a one v one:
- Shoot early, before the goalkeeper is set;
- Shoot late, aiming low and close to the keeper – often an effective shot is to place the ball under the ‘keeper’s body;
- Pass (if there is an option);
- Round the keeper.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and the decision will be determined by the position of the goalkeeper; the angle of the run; the confidence of the striker and the position of other players, attackers and defenders.
In one of the soccer shooting drills each of the options can be tried, with the starting position of the striker and the inclusion of a defender and/or a fellow striker added as required.
- Shooting early is usually chosen when the dribble is straight:
- The keeper is advancing;
- The striker feels that they are not fully set;
- The ‘keeper’s advance has left a gap;
- There are no better options;
- Shots should be low, firm and hit in stride to surprise the keeper.
- Shooting late is usually the best option:
- Shoot low, firmly with the side foot and close to the goalkeeper’s body;
- Do not signal the shot – shoot in stride;
- Go for accuracy and not power;
- Do not lift the ball – the exception might be when the ‘keeper goes to ground early but finishing with a chip is a hard skill, especially if under pressure;
- If the ball is under good control, use the eyes to fool the goalkeeper.
- This can be a risky option as any additional stage to a move increases the opportunity for error;
- It is possible for the team mate to run offside;
- The pass is a good option when dribbling from a wide angle;
- Pass firmly, with the instep, slightly in front of the teammate;
- The pass should be away from the keeper, and be timed to allow a one touch finish.
- Rounding the goalkeeper is a good option as it will often bring a penalty if a goal is not scored:
- Use the tools of a dribbler to disguise the plan – step overs, feints, changes of pace and so on;
- When rounding the ‘keeper, balance is often lost – counter this by aiming for the centre of the goal, shooting low and with the side foot. If there is time, take a touch and a look to regain full control. A surprisingly high number of open goals are missed, even at the highest level.
So often with one v one situations, failure occurs because the mental strength of the striker is found wanting. Suddenly, the expectation is to score, and that adds pressure.
- Once the ball is under control, encourage the striker to glance around to weigh up options;
- Encourage the striker to make a decision, and then stick to it; (this can be verbally checked after each round of the drill.
- Mental certainty can be improved with familiarity, so practise the drill regularly.
Add a defender and a teammate (marked in red and purple respectively on the diagram) to this soccer shooting drill.
Instinctive Finishing and Rebounds Shooting Drill
This is one of the great little soccer shooting drills, brilliant with young players especially, which encourages both shooting and looking for rebounds. Best of all, it is easy to use and has no complex techniques to work on. Improvement comes through practice. The coaches should be prepared to comment on shooting technique and runs from the strikers.
Two goals are placed 30 metres apart, and there is a line halfway between them. Lots of balls are needed. Each team has seven players: one ‘keeper, four shooters who must stay in their own half and two strikers who look for rebounds and deflections. Swap roles regularly, and encourage the strikers to run in on goal after every shot.
Finally, we should never forget the one fundamental that makes soccer the most popular sport in the world. The single aim is to score a goal. But that is a rare achievement. Sometimes, often in fact, it does not occur during the entire game. This causes the player to miss more chances.
For the ‘worst misses compilation mentioned earlier, try:
If you liked this post, you’ll like our book on Soccer Intelligence below: