Scoring the Spectacular Soccer Goal
Time for a serious debate now, one likely to promote strong feelings. Wars have been caused from less. What is the most spectacular goal in soccer? Probably, the award should be heading to the superb passing move which ends with a calm finish beyond a stranded and despairing keeper. Certainly, that is one to savor. As is the spectacular dribble, the net bursting screamer and the delicate chip. But for making the heart beat fastest, for creating life lasting memories, surely the bicycle kick is the tops?
This type of shot, sometimes known as the bicycle kick, is technically challenging, likely to be penalized for the height of the boot (if defenders are around) and requires a number of moves to be made in perfect unison. But it, along with its near neighbors, the scissor kick and the scorpion kick, provide the sort of pleasure that we play the game to achieve.
And, more mundanely, the ability to perform a controlled overhead kick can provide a defensive edge which stops the risk of conceding a goal.
This blog will explain the technique behind the following kicks:
- Overhead or bicycle kick
- Overhead clearance
- Scissor Kick
- Scorpion kick
There are some links to spectacular action as well.
This skill does put a lot of strain on our bodies. It is best not to practice for too long, and to make sure that the ground is soft. Often, connections are not clean, and the shot should be attempted because it is the best option, rather than to impress.
- The skill is about timing;
- Get in line with the ball, keeping eyes on it throughout the manoeuvre;
- There is no needs to kick the ball hard; it will already have pace on it. A clean kick is far more important than a powerful one. Remember; the keeper is unlikely to be expecting an overhead kick, so power is not a key consideration;
- Jump, using the non-kicking foot to propel the upward momentum;
- Fall backwards, under control and the eyes on the ball;
- When the ball is in the right place (only practice will tell you this – and remember, the ball can come from a variety of angles and speeds) whip the kicking foot upwards, dropping the non-kicking foot.
- The upper body should now be horizontal (if we find the ball is flying upwards, the problem will be that our upper body is too upright;
- Fall back to ground under control, stretching out a hand to break the fall, and twisting so that the landing is not flat on the back.
As can be seen, it is a hard skill to perfect; even top professionals get it wrong more than right. Regular practice is the best way to gain success. Get a team mate to feed balls with throws and lobs, and remember to concentrate on accuracy and technique, rather than power.
Take a look at Gareth Bale’s spectacular finish in the 2018 Champions League final.
Defensive Overhead Kick
There is a truism in soccer than when the ball bounces, defenders are in trouble. Normally that is prevented with a firm header, but using the head is not always possible. In those cases a controlled overhead kick clearance is better.
- Watch the ball onto your foot;
- Hit with the largest area of the boot; so the instep is best if the ball is coming from a sideways angle. If dropping over the shoulder, then the top of the boot should be used;
- If at all possible, keep the non-kicking foot on the floor;
- Unlike an attacking kick, here the aim is to get height and distance on the kick. This makes the technique easier because the upper body can be more upright;
- Beware, if too upright, the risk increases of kicking the ball into our own face – painful and likely to put our team in trouble as the rebound will be unpredictable;
- Hit the ball smoothly, concentrating on a clean contact rather than power.
The scissor kick is very similar to the overhead kick, the difference being that the ball does not fly overhead, and ball is easier to keep down – still tricky though.
- Stand chest on to the direction from which the ball is traveling;
- Position the arms out, ready to swing in a corkscrew motion;
- Swing the arms to rotate the hips;
- The non-kicking foot remains grounded whilst the kicking foot is raised, and swings;
- Whip the non-kicking foot upwards at the last possible moment;
- Keep the arms out to maintain balance;
- Keep the weight over the ball – in other words, avoid leaning backwards;
- Hit the ball with the instep or, for more power, the laces;
- There is no need to hit the ball hard, concentrate on a good contact and precise body position;
- Land as for the overhead kick.
This is a shot hit with the heal of the trailing foot; some would say it is the hardest skill in soccer, and carries a high degree of risk. Therefore, it should be a shot of last resort.
It is used when a run takes us in front of the ball, or a cross is behind us, and there are no team-mates running onto the ball.
- Watch the ball for as long as possible;
- Lean the body forwards and low;
- Flick the kicking foot upwards, aim to hit the ball with the heel;
- As with the other types of shot, concentrate on technique rather than power. If a keeper is not expecting an overhead shot, then they are not even dreaming of a scorpion kick. Surprise will be absolute!
Here is the Puskas Award winning scorpion kick by Olivier Giroud, the French World Cup winner. (Take a look at his pass in the build-up, as well!)
These spectacular kicks might not often come off, and are attempts of last resort. That doesn’t stop them being fun, though. And when they work…wow!
If you liked this post, you’ll love our post on what to do for your pre-game warm up.
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