How to Coach – Shooting

An Excerpt from the US Youth Soccer Skills School Manual – available in full under “Player Development Resources” on the ASC website.

(The age group in maroon is the age group when you should focus on developing the skill.)

Shooting

While velocity does improve accuracy, it is technique that makes the ball fly more so than raw power. The technique of shooting with accuracy must be established before power is added to the player’s repertoire. Shooting of some nature must occur at every training session for the pre-adolescent age groups.

Ground

  • Inside of the foot (introduce at U5/U6, focus at U7/U8)
  • Toe (U7/U8)
  • Instep drive (U9/U10)
  • Bent with the inside of the foot (U11/U12)
  • Chip (U9/U10)
  • Bent with the outside of the foot (U11/U12)

Shooting – half volley

  • Inside of the foot (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)
  • Forward instep drive (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)

Shooting – volley (standing)

  • Forward instep drive (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)
  • Inside of the foot (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)
  • Side volley (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)

Shooting – volley (airborne)

  • Scissors forward (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)
  • Scissors side (introduce at U11/U12, focus at U14)
  • Scissors overhead (bicycle) (introduce at U14 or older)

 

Ground

Inside of Foot

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: non-kicking (plant) foot is alongside the ball about 6″ away; toes of the plant foot pointed toward the target; knee of the plant foot leg is slightly bent; shoulder on the kicking leg side is in-line with the ball; the backswing of the kicking foot is approximately 45°; the ankle of the kicking foot is now with the toes pointing away from the kicker; the head is steady and looking down at the ball; the hips must now be facing the target; on the downswing of the kicking foot the sole of the foot is parallel to the ground
  2. Contact: strike the center of the ball at the horizontal line A (equator) with the inside (arch) of the foot; the toes of the kicking foot turned slightly upward
  3. Follow Through: the knee of the kicking leg should come upwards on the follow through; the inside of the kicking foot should be flat to the target on the follow through; the kicking foot should go towards the target on the follow through; keep the head down until after the kicking foot has landed on the ground

 

Toe

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: from the dribble the toe poke shot is a close range shot with little wind up of the kicking leg; the hips must square up with the goal; the plant foot lands next to the ball with the toes pointed towards the target; a short backswing of the lower leg from the knee joint; followed by a sharp snap of the lower leg
  2. Contact: toes of the kicking foot strike the center of the ball where lines A & B intersect
  3. Follow Through: land with a forward step onto the kicking foot

 

Instep Drive

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: non-kicking (plant) foot is alongside the ball about 6″ away; toes of the plant foot pointed toward the target; knee of the plant foot leg slightly bent; heel of the kicking foot should come up towards the buttocks on the back swing; lock the ankle of the kicking foot during the backswing and keep it locked on ball contact and during the follow through; knee of the kicking leg over the ball; chest forward and over the ball, bending at the waist slightly; arms out for balance; head steady and down with eyes on the ball; on the downswing of the kicking foot point the toes down, lock the ankle and curl the toes back (curling the toes back makes a firmer striking surface of the instep…make a fist with the toes and foot)
  2. Contact: watch the foot strike the ball in the center (where lines A & B intersect); strike through the ball
  3. Follow Through: keep the toes of the kicking foot pointed down on the follow through; the head must remain looking down at the spot where the ball was and steady in line with the midline of the body; the kicking foot comes across the standing leg; the arm opposite of the kicking leg comes across the torso to maintain balance; the arm on the kicking leg side remains slightly out from the torso for balance; the shooter should end up in a corkscrew posture and then land forward on the kicking foot

 

Bending (swerving) Shots

Swerving or bending a shot is essentially the same as the curved pass done with the inside or outside of the foot. The inner or outer edge of the instep can also be used to swerve a shot on goal by striking the ball off center of line B. In all cases more power is likely necessary to beat the goalkeeper.

 

Chip

Shooting with a chip is the same as passing with a chip. A very sharp rise of the ball will be needed to beat the goalkeeper.

 

Shooting – half volley

Inside of Foot

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: get the kicking foot level with the ball by raising the kicking foot; toes of the standing leg are pointed toward the target and the knee is flexed; the arm opposite to the kicking leg should be forward; the arm on the same side as the kicking leg should be to the side; head steady and eyes on the ball
  2. Contact: swing the kicking leg forward from the hip; raise the upper leg enough to get the kicking foot level with the ball; make contact with the arch of the foot; keep the ankle firm and the toes pointed out; concentrate on keeping the eye on the ball and holding the head steady; pivot on the standing leg while striking the ball
  3. Follow Through: the arm on the same side as the kicking leg should go back to counterbalance the forward swing of the kicking leg; follow through with the kicking foot towards the target

 

Forward Instep Drive

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: the non-kicking foot is placed alongside the ball as it bounces; keep the head and knee over it; swing the kicking foot back; snap the leg forward just as the ball comes off the ground (try to hit the ball when it is no more than 2″ off the ground)
  2. Contact: strike the ball through the point where lines A and B cross; punch through the point of contact; toes down and curled back
  3. Follow Through: the follow through is most important for power; to help keep the ball below crossbar height raise the knee of the kicking leg on the follow through and the foot goes generally forward

 

Shooting – volley (standing)

Forward Instep Drive

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: first get the chosen kicking foot behind the line of the ball; get the kicking foot level with the ball by letting the ball drop below knee height; get the hip and knee above and over the ball as it comes through the air (an alternate method is to raise the knee so that the thigh is parallel with the ground, thus getting the kicking foot level with line A); the kicking leg is lifted back and up so that it can swing down and through to give the required power for distance
  2. Contact: hit the ball low (at and slightly below line A) if height is required or higher (at and slightly above line A) to keep the ball lower; toes of the kicking foot pointed down; ankle locked; eyes on the ball (watch the foot connect with the ball); arms out as needed for good balance; the kicking leg swing can come from the knee joint or the hip joint dependent upon the distance the shot must travel
  3. Follow Through: keep the head steady; follow through with the kicking foot towards the target; look up only after the kicking foot is back on the ground

 

Inside of the Foot

All of the key points are the same as with the inside of the foot half-volley with the exception that the ball is struck before it touches the ground.

Side Volley

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: stand almost facing the descending ball; the upper torso is bent sideways over the support leg (almost horizontal); keep the head steady in alignment with the midline of the body; the arm on the same side as the kicking leg is well out from the side for balance; the arm opposite the kicking leg is across the front of the torso; knees are bent; raise the kicking leg up toward the ball from the hip; toes of the plant foot are pointed toward the shooting target; eyes on the ball
  2. Contact: shoulder on the kicking leg side is held firm and not swung away as this helps accuracy; strike firmly with the instep; keep the knee well up to direct the ball down; pivot as needed on the standing leg; watch the ball closely and keep the head steady; watch the ball and foot make contact and strike the ball at or above line A
  3. Follow Through: strike through the ball; the greater the extent of the turn on the standing (axis) leg the more power there will be in the shot; upper body, head and knee are leaning forward to control the rise of the ball; follow through with the kicking foot toward the target

 

Shooting – volley (airborne)

Volleying requires a sure touch and total confidence. Remember to get into the line of flight and to meet the ball quickly. Aim to hit the ball cleanly and try to crack the ball down onto the target.

Forward Scissors Volley

Essentially this technique is the same as the forward instep drive done on the volley. The additional piece is the jump to get the kicking foot level with the ball. This is done so that the shot can be hit sooner. The timing of the jump is crucial so reading the flight of the ball correctly is imperative.

Jump up off the shooting leg so that the non-kicking foot goes up and forward first. Next the kicking foot snaps forward and the opposite leg comes back and hence the scissors movement of the legs. This backwards movement of the non-kicking leg as the kicking leg comes forward to meet the ball maintains balance. The landing is on both feet.

 

Scissors Side Volley

Fundamentally the technique is similar to the side volley described above. The additional aspect of the technique is getting airborne to strike the ball sooner and with greater velocity. Again the take off foot is the kicking foot so that the non-kicking foot rises into the air sooner and away from the torso so that the body begins to go sideways in the air. A sharp rise of the knee of the non-kicking leg will aid in lifting the body weight off the ground. Next the kicking leg comes up and forward with a snap of the entire leg from the hip. At this point the entire body is almost parallel with the ground. Keep the head up with the neck muscles locked and the eyes on the ball. Landing is with the low arm and leg helping to lower the body to the ground. Be sure to keep the head up by locking the neck muscles so that the head does not snap towards the ground. The impact of landing should be spread along the entire length of the body from foot to shoulder on the low side.

 

Bicycle Kick

Tremendous athleticism and timing are required to execute this skill.

Key Coaching Points

  1. Preparation: the shooter is standing with his or her back to goal or sideways onto goal; the ball is in an arced flight; push off the ground with the kicking foot; the non-kicking foot goes into the air first with a strong upward thrust and brings the body to a position almost parallel with the ground
  2. Contact: make a scissors jump and movement in the air to change legs so that now the kicking leg is swinging upwards; judge the drop of the ball and swing the kicking foot up to meet the ball above head height; strike the ball with the full instep as the kicking leg straightens fully
  3. Follow Through: use the arms to help lower the body to the ground; next the feet touch down and use the legs as well as the arm muscles to help control the landing; keep the head up with the neck muscles locked so that the head does not touch the ground

 

Training Activity: World Cup

AASC_Fig_20_Unknown_WorldCup

Figure 20 World Cup

Play on an age appropriate size field and goal. Grid off a playing area that is 5 to 10 yards past the side of the penalty area on each side and out from the goal line 15 to 30 yards depending upon the age group. A neutral goalkeeper in goal (if two keepers are present then they rotate in and out of goal every three shots). Divide the field players into groups of three and each group chooses the name of a national team. The coach is stationed at the top of the playing area with the spare balls. If a ball goes out of play the coach puts in a spare ball. Each World Cup team plays against the other and they all try to score a goal. If a team scores a goal they go onto the next round and they come off and rest while the other teams continue until the team that hasn’t scored a goal is eliminated. Then the teams that have scored go back on to compete in the next round. This continues until the last two teams play and a winner is declared. Teams that are off may rest or practice their juggling or set up a small sided match until the World Cup winner has been decided. Teams then reshuffle players if they wish and change National Team names if they wish and play the competition again.

By being in groups of three crossing is possible and so now finishing off a cross or a knock-off can be done. In this activity every type of shot is possible.

U5/U6 & U7/U8: inappropriate activity

U9/U10 to U14: play as described within an age appropriate penalty area

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