There are many ways to be a great soccer player, but there’s only one way to win games: scoring goals! Not only attacking players need to be well-versed in scoring goals. The best teams see their goals come from all positions on the field at some point in the season. Being informed about goal-scoring, and prepared to do it, will help make you a more confident soccer player. If you need shooting practice, check out the shooting drills in the Techne app.
Shooting vs. Finishing
You may have heard these terms used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Shooting typically means striking the ball from a longer range. There are many drills in the Techne App that will help you improve your shooting technique. To have a powerful, accurate shot does not require huge muscles or the ability to lift a lot of weight. It’s about practiced technique. Practicing striking the ball with both feet, in a variety of ways, will help you to build the technique and strength necessary to shoot the ball well. Finishing is the act of taking that last touch in a play to score, or redirecting the ball on goal when it comes to you from a pass or cross. It’s important to remember that these are two different skill-sets, and both require focused training to become great at them.
Shooting Techniques To Master
- Set Pieces: Set pieces include penalty kicks and free kicks. Typically, players practice shooting-range free kicks from specific areas and try to recreate them if they get the opportunity in the game.
Bending the ball can send it away from the goalkeeper and help you place it in the corner of the goal.
Striking the ball with the laces for power. This is both the most powerful type of shot and also often the hardest to make accurate.
A chipped shot uses backspin to loop it over the goalkeeper’s head and back down into the goal. This is a very difficult way to shoot the ball, especially while on the move.
Shooting the ball doesn’t always have to be with full power. Sometimes the best decision is to place the ball where the goalkeeper isn’t able to get to it. Often this means low and in the corner.
Important Elements of Finishing
- Heading: The most common type of finish from a cross is a header goal. Being good at heading isn’t only about being tall or jumping high -- it requires timing, instinct, and bravery.
- Volleying: Connecting with the ball out of the air (with your foot) is referred to as “volleying” the ball. This is another common way to finish a cross.
- Decision-making: When the ball arrives to you from a teammate, there are often many different ways you can try to finish. Do you go for power or placement? Use the inside of your foot or your laces? Aim near post or far post? A huge part of being a great finisher is selecting the correct way to finish in any given scenario.
- Creativity: Sometimes you may receive the ball with your back to goal, while it’s bouncing, at a poor angle, or any number of situations. The best finishers find a way to make it work!
- Timing: The timing of your runs to connect with the person passing you the ball is a crucial element of finishing. It requires tactical awareness, instinct, and practice.
The Mental Side of Goal-Scoring
While goal-scorers do appear on most of the highlight reels and get a lot of the acclaim post-game, it can be one of the most difficult roles mentally. You’ll miss many, many more times than you’ll score. To be a great goal-scorer, you’ll need to have great confidence and self-belief. You’ll also need to stay relaxed in big moments. Often that can be the difference between scoring or not. You may go several games without scoring, or even miss an open goal, and have to be able to bounce back mentally and rediscover your confidence.
A great way to do this is through your training, both technical and mental. When you feel prepared, it will help you maintain the belief necessary to score goals, even if they aren’t coming easily. Many of the great goal-scorers stay after practice, or come early, to get extra repetition of shooting and finishing. Training on your own is a key aspect of being prepared to score when your time comes. Great goal-scorers also visualize themselves scoring goals to help reinforce this technical training.
5 of Today’s Greatest Goal-Scorers
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal) - Employs a combination of clever runs and quality on the ball.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Great all-around goalscorer with many tools in his toolbox.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - Quick on his feet and with his thinking, and sharp in front of goal.
Sam Kerr (Chelsea) - Strong with great instincts.
Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) - Dangerous whether he’s facing or has his back to the goal.