The 5 W's and How of Shooting

Who: Every player/position on the team.

The goalkeeper on my daughter’s outdoor

U-14 team scored the tying goal in regulation

and the winning goal in penalty kicks to send

them to the provincials.

What: I like this definition: “To send forth towards the goal, suddenly, intensely, or swiftly using any part of your foot.” Think of the swiftly as being mentally swift. If a player’s shot has any one of these three qualities they have a chance to score…all three qualities and you can count on it.

Why: If you don’t shoot you won’t score and you won’t improve your shooting skills. Also soccer provides plenty of rebound opportunities from miss-handled shots or shots that miss the goal.

When: You should always ask yourself, “Can I score from here?” If the answer is yes…shoot. Good advice to give your players is to shoot when they have a clear path to the goal. However, often the decision to shoot is situational. If your team is in front by a few goals encourage more of a possession, passing game with less shooting.

Where: Have your players determine their range by starting 10 to 20 feet from the goal (depending upon their age), taking 10 shots, and then moving back 5 feet at a time. If they can hit the net 7 out of 10 times they are still “in range”. Obviously in a game situation the closer to the goal the better when taking a shot. Also discourage shooting from bad angles (try and get directly in front of the goal before shooting if possible or pass to a teammate who will have a better angle to shoot).

How: Follow steps below.

1. Head down - eye on the ball.
As your players approach the ball they should have a quick look up to pick out their target and then look at the ball as they complete the approach. Even after the kick they should be staring down at where the ball was, comparable to a golf swing.

2. Plant the non-striking foot next to the ball.
If the non-striking foot is planted behind the ball the shot will go high and probably wide of the target.

3. Pick the spot on the ball you want to strike.
Your players need to fix their eyes on the centre line of the ball as they bring their foot back to kick it. If they do that, they will get maximum power and accuracy.
If they kick the ball below the middle the ball will rise and if your player 'tops' the ball will just roll along the ground.

4. Approach the ball slightly from the side.
This is perhaps the most important part of the whole technique.
If your players run straight at the ball they won't strike it with their instep, they will hit the ball with their toe.

5. Keep the knee of the kicking leg over the ball.
Often, children will stand too far behind the ball when they shoot. This results in their back arching as they kick the ball and loss of power.

6. Follow through.
You need to encourage your players to extend their kicking leg after contact with the ball. You can tell your players to imagine the ball is resting against a pane of glass and they have to smash the glass as hard as they can.

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