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Teach your players how to shoot a ball

This is an excerpt from Coaching Youth Soccer-5th Edition by American Sport Education Program.

A good shot has the same qualities as a good pass—accuracy, proper pace, and timing. So when you first teach the skill of shooting, you may want to point out the similarities. For example, shots also come from the inside, instep, and outside of the foot. Also mention some of these key differences between shooting and passing:

  • Length: Shots often must travel a greater distance than passes because defenders work to keep offensive players away from the goal.
  • Speed: Shooters frequently kick the ball harder than passers do so that the keeper can’t react to stop the shot. Unlike the passer, the shooter doesn’t need to be concerned about whether a teammate can control the ball.
  • Purpose: Shots are taken for one reason: to score a goal. However, players pass the ball for many different reasons, such as to get a better shot or to keep the ball away from the defense.

Coaching Tip Older or more accurate shooters should aim away from the keeper and toward the corners of the goal. Younger or less accurate shooters can also attempt to hit the corners but might consider using the whole goal as the target at times. Once a goalkeeper becomes part of the game, shooting requires greater accuracy; in order to beat the goalkeeper, the best spot to place a shot is in the corners of the goal.

Use these points to teach your players how to shoot a ball:

  • Approach the ball from behind and at a slight angle, with the shoulders and hips square to the target. Keep the head steady and the eyes focused on the ball.
  • Take a long step to help draw the kicking leg back, and plant the balance foot beside the ball, with the knee slightly flexed. Keep the kicking leg cocked until the nonkicking foot is firmly planted beside the ball (see figure 7.3a on page 92).
  • Extend the kicking foot, keeping the knee of the kicking leg directly over the ball (see figure 7.3b).
  • Whip the kicking leg straight, and contact the center of the ball with the instep. Keep the foot firm as it strikes the ball, and keep the toes pointed down (see figure 7.3c).
  • Follow through completely, keeping the kicking leg pointing toward the goal well beyond the point of impact (see figure 7.3d).


Figure 7.3a

Figure 7.3b

Figure 7.3c

Figure 7.3d

Learn more about Coaching Youth Soccer, Fifth Edition.