The most exciting play in soccer is when a goal is scored. If you play forward or an offensive midfielder position, you will want to learn how to shoot the soccer ball.
It sounds obvious, but shooting the ball for a goal is a very different skill from passing the ball. When passing the ball, you want to pass it such that your teammate can easily control the ball. When shooting, you want to shoot it such that the goalie can't get to it or stop it.
One thing that all great goal scorers have is the ability to get off the shot the second it is open. You can't hesitate. When the shot is open you have to take it!
There are two main types of shots on goal that you will want to practice and learn: the ground shot and the volley shot.
A ground shot is when the ball is rolling or lying on the ground. This is the most common type of shot playing soccer. Proper positioning, balance, and striking the ball are all important to make a powerful and accurate ground shot.
- Planting your foot - Where you plant your non-kicking foot is very important when taking a ground shot. You don't want to plant your foot too close to the ball or this will reduce power. At the same time planting your foot too far away from the ball will cause it to go high and probably over the crossbar of the goal. Practice placing your foot in different areas until you can accurately shoot the ball where you want.
- Balance - Good balance is also important. Keep your weight forward with your knee and chest over the ball. If you slip or lean back too much, you will likely miss the shot.
- Striking the ball - The most powerful shot you can hit will be with the instep of your foot. Keep your head down and focus on the ball. Focus on the point of the ball you are going to kick and then kick through that point.
A volley shot is when you kick the soccer ball out of the air, often directly from a pass. Volley shots are taken around the goal in crowded areas. Often you won't have the luxury to trap the ball, let it settle, and take a ground shot, so you need to take the pass and kick it right out of the air into the goal. This is a tough shot to make, but it's also very difficult for the goalie to defend.
To make a good volley shot takes concentration. You must watch the ball all the way to contact on your foot. This shot takes lots of practice, but can result in a lot of goals.
Where to Aim
When striking a shot you will want to aim the soccer ball into certain areas of the goal. If taking a shot from the side, it is sometimes best to aim for just inside the far goalpost. This way if you miss, a teammate may have the opportunity to knock it in. The toughest place for the goalie to reach will be the upper corners of the goal, however, ground shots are very difficult to defend as well. The goalie will need to get down low and the ball can bounce funny, making it hard for the goalie to catch.
Follow Your Shot
After you have taken a shot, you should follow your shot. Never give up on the scoring opportunity. The ball could bounce off of the goal posts or even off of the goalie. Rebound goals can be some of the easiest as the goalie will often be out of position leaving an open goal.
Sometimes the ball may be near the goal and you are running full speed to try and kick it. A slide shot is when you slide, just like you would into second base in baseball, and hit the ball with your outstretched foot, knocking it into the goal. Just be sure you don't slide into another player or the goalie.
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