This blog post goes through the importance of soccer shooting drills, along with 3 practical soccer shooting drills that you can implement today into your soccer training program.
As team play increases in importance, the blockbuster shot has become less of a common sight. Nevertheless, a great strike from distance, a first-time volley, a firm free kick into the corner – all are the types of action that lifts the crowd to their feet.
Have a look at this goal from the 1970s; a famous strike that saw a non-league side in the English FA Cup knock out a top division team. It is worth noting the state of the pitch, as well. It still brings a shudder and smile to soccer fans everywhere.
Soccer Lesson 1: Lay Off and Shot
This is a simple shooting drill to improve both power and accuracy in shooting. It is the sort of drill that recreates the match situation but, by removing most opposition, ensures that the technique being practised is developed in every run.
The soccer shooting drill involves two attackers and a goalkeeper. The attackers are the lay off (often the coach) and the shooter. There can be a hole line of shooters to be drilled one after the other.
The shooter starts with the ball and passes it 10m forward. The lay off directs it to the side and the shooter runs onto the ball and hits it first or second time. Coaches should stress the following:
- Head over the ball – this will both keep the ball down and ensure that weight is directed through the ball increasing the power of the shot;
- Strike through the ball with the laces;
- Aim for the far corner.
Players should work on their weaker foot as well as the stronger one.
Soccer Lesson 2: Attacker v Defender
This is another simple but effective soccer shooting drill that recreates a match situation but weighs the play firmly in favour of the striker. Three players are needed, although again far more can be involved with the pairs working in rotation. One of the players is the goalkeeper (many coaches alternate between two keepers to speed up the soccer shooting drill), then there is an attacker and defender. Play starts on the edge of the central D, with the defender on the half way line. The striker dribbles at a slight angle to make a tackle harder, and shoots before the edge of the penalty area. As above, the striker hits through the ball, with the laces and with his or her head over the ball. The defender gives the striker a head start and then runs after the striker to keep him on his heels.
Soccer Lesson 3: Attacker v Defender
Soccer Shooting Accuracy: Target Practice
Power in shooting is very important, but so is accuracy. This can be improved by setting targets in a goal. It is possible to purchase commercial products which hang from the cross bar and posts, and present a series of targets. However, we can make our own just as easily. Shots need to be in the corners and out the keeper’s comfort zone, which is knee to chest height on either side.
Therefore, a goal can be set up with hoops hanging from each top corner, and cones used to mark out the far corners.
Once players have mastered the accuracy of their shots, getting their body position over the ball, with non-kicking foot comfortably to the side of the ball and arms out for balance, a goalkeeper should be introduced, because it is the combination of accuracy and power which leads to goals. Also, players should be aiming, where possible, for the far corners of the goal. This is because keepers will naturally protect their near post a little more. Also, when a keeper saves a near post shot, if the ball is not held, it tends to go out for a corner. With a far post shot the increase of a deflection, a rebound from the keeper’s save coming into open play and a team mate getting on the end of a slightly inaccurate shot all increase.
Work on accuracy from dead balls, from first time shots and from dribbles and shots, the technique remains constant, although with a dead ball there is usually need to get extra height to clear a defensive wall. Here, the ball is struck more from inside of the big toe to the instep, and the run up is more angled. These help to instill spin into the ball.
Soccer Shooting Drill: Volleys
Is there anything more thrilling in soccer than seeing a volley crash into the back of the net? The thing about a volley is that the ball can be struck in a more controlled way than a shot, with the player concentrating on body position. This is because the shot is, by definition, taken early (making it more difficult to defend against) and has pace already on it as it is struck.
Coaches should focus on players’ key skills:
- Eyes on the ball;
- Weight and head over the ball;
- Arms out for balance;
- Smooth strike and follow through;
- Hit with the top of the foot to induce top spin and make the ball dip.
Because the pass for a volley needs to be extremely accurate, drills should see the ball thrown or lobbed gently for the player to practise with, at least until their skills are strong. The soccer shooting drill below is ideal for the scissor kick volley.
It involves three people; a feeder, a striker and a keeper. The feeder simply lobs balls into the box. The striker stands chest on to the ball. He angles his arms back in a corkscrew position, and unwinds, while simultaneously rotating his hips and striking the ball. There is no need to hit the ball hard, better to concentrate on a good contact. The ball will travel quickly if it is hit correctly.
For more ideas on shooting drills, here is a link to a good video.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you will enjoy our blog post on the Tiki Taka philosophy used by many professional teams (including Barcelona).
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