As a forward or any player who is trying to get a shot off quickly understand that getting off that shot may be difficult. In Soccer, the hardest thing to do is score goals. Evidence of that is low scoring games happen more often than high scoring games, and that is the reason forwards on average earn more money than any other player. Shooting is a skill that requires your undivided attention because it can be the difference between making the team and not making the team. Shooting is the difference on who can win the soccer game and who cannot, so shooting is one of the most important aspects of the match. In that being said, we need to focus on these three areas if we want to be an efficient shooter that can get their shot off at any time.
These three key areas are as followed:
1. Technical Ability
We preach this every day because success in shooting or soccer is reliant on having the technical aspects handled so you can execute whatever skill you need to during the game. You might ask, " How do I improve my technical ability?" Great question! You have to get so many reps that shooting because of instinctual. All of the best goal scorers in the world have gotten so many reps in their lives because they understood the importance of mastering this craft. Because of this, they make scoring goals look easy. When shooting you have to be able to hit the spots that you're aiming for at the goal. Like we always say, " Soccer is a fluid game, so there is isn't a one size fits all solution." You have to adjust to what the game gives you, and go from there! I do suggest learning how to hit the corners, as this is a place on the goal that causes difficulties for goalkeepers. Having ability where you know what you want to do with the ball before defenders will to be an asset when playing. This is only possible if you have a clean first touch. It will only be possible if your shooting mechanics are good. Remember, when you're shooting for the power you have to remember these things:
- Planted foot an inch or so away from the ball
- Head down looking at the ball
- Wind up and strike the middle of the ball
- Don't try to crush the ball, make good contact.
- Jump and land on your kicking foot.
When going for more of a bent or curled type shot remember this:
- Plant foot skill an inch or so away from the ball
- Head still down looking at the ball.
- Wind up and strike the side of the ball to make the ball curl or bend
- No need to land on your kicking foot, but you can follow through (Other shots require little follow through, a topic for another time)
2. Faints and movement
When shooting the ball, you have to have deception. Whether that is a quick shoulder drop and shooting the ball, scissors and shot, or deception in opening your hips indicating you're going to the far post and last second closing them and going to the near post.
What I'm trying to say is this is the only way you will be able to get a shot off fast enough. If you don't work on this skill now, it will be difficult to develop down the road because it requires rep after rep after rep. So start getting into the habit of trying to deceive your defender to get off an effective shot. With Messi, we see he is clever because he exploits defenders by moving slow and getting defenders to be flat-footed. Once Messi sees’ they're flat-footed, that is when he accelerates giving defenders zero time to react.
3. Precision in your shots.
Accuracy and hitting your target has to be another idea that has to be ingrained into you so that you can score goals. Precision will make it difficult for goalies to stop your shots because they're in places he or she cannot reach. If you look at Messi or Robben, you will rarely see them go for a power shot. They would rather curl the ball into a precise part of the goal, giving goalkeepers a slim chance.
The three tips I listed are cyclical in that you can't get off a quick shot and score without all three. You can't score goals if you don't have the technical ability in your shot. You cannot be an accurate shooter without technical ability. To be an accurate shooter you have to get your defender off balance to take the shot. Having technical knowledge will allow you to get defenders to dive in for you to score goals.
Remember, this will not happen overnight and will require countless hours of trying this in the game and practice. You have also to do a lot of self-reflected if you ever want to progress with your shooting. Soccer is just as cerebral as it is Physical; so you have to allow yourself to become mindful of what you do great on the field and what you can improve on to take your game to the next level.