A player who can shoot with accuracy and power is going to be an extremely valuable member of any team. So, today's post is going to break down exactl
A player who can shoot with accuracy and power is going to be an extremely valuable member of any team. So, today’s post is going to break down exactly how to properly shoot a soccer ball with power and accuracy. It will also discuss common mistakes people make that hold them back from striking as powerfully or accurately as possible. Other websites give you advice like “kick away from the goal keeper”, without actually getting specific about HOW.
So allow me to break it down and give you some simple steps to follow that will have you shooting like a pro in no time.
First of all, lets understand where power comes from. Power comes from hitting the ball with the correct technique. It does not, I repeat DOES NOT, happen if you are just trying to smack the ball with all your force. Instead, you can get quite a lot of power even if your legs are weak just from hitting the ball correctly.
Now, where does accuracy come from? Accuracy also comes from hitting the ball with the correct technique. To have an accurate shot, you need to master the fundamental technique of shooting, and then be able to adjust your technique to accommodate where you want to put the ball and how you want it to get there (i.e. swerve, curl, knuckle, etc).
So accuracy and power both come from using the proper technique. Here is what the proper technique looks like:
- Run up from an angle
- Get your upper body over the ball (chest right over the ball and chin down)
- Smooth run up (no hop/skip before planting your foot)
- Planting your foot and pointing it in the direction that you want the ball to travel
- Striking the ball with your toes pointed at the ground, ankle locked throughout
- Your leg snaps down and follows through
- Your foot makes contact with the ball right on the laces
- Hit through the middle of the ball
Focus on getting nice, clean contact with the ball as you practice. Also, keep your eyes on the ball the whole time you are going to kick, from your run up to your follow through. Here is a video of someone taking a shot with proper technique (in my opinion, he could lean even more over the ball actually):
Mistake #1 : No Power = No Follow through
The most common reason people do not generate enough power is that they are not following through enough. If you find yourself hesitating as you start to strike the ball, and you find it difficult to follow through, try landing on the foot you kicked with. If you are trying to land on the foot you kick with, this forces you to follow through so much that you essentially jump onto your kicking foot. Notice that the guy does this in the video on his first kick. This also will usually force you to keep your upper body over the ball, which will help with power and accuracy.
Mistake #2: Ball Up in the Air = Leaning Back
Once you are making nice, clean contact with the ball you may find that your shot is so powerful that it is hard to keep it from flying far up in the air. This happens because you are not leaning over the ball enough or at all. Force your upper body to stay over the ball as you go to kick it. Keep your chest down and over the ball. Keep your chin tucked down. Make sure you stay this way as you follow through on your kick. The ball will not fly up in the air, no matter how powerful the strike, if you hit it with your upper body down and chin tucked in.
If you think you are learning far enough ahead, but you are still having problems hitting the ball so that it stays close to the ground, see below.
Mistake #3: Not accurate = Plant foot is planted wrong
If your shot is not accurate, it is because you are not making clean contact. Usually this is because your plant foot is either too close or to far away from the ball. This will force your body to compensate as you try to make contact with the ball, and you will not generate power. The whole mechanics of your shot will be off. So try adjusting how close/far you plant your foot to the ball when you go to strike it. You will find it affects how you make contact with it. Keep adjusting until you are able to make clean contact with the ball.
Another thing to watch out for is how far behind/ahead of the ball you plant your plant foot. If you plant your foot too far behind the ball, you will be stretching to reach it and you wont be able to get your upper body over it. This will result in the ball being kicked high up in the air. If you plant your foot too far ahead, you will not be able to make clean contact because your foot will jam the ball into the ground. Experiment with how far ahead/behind the ball you plant your foot. Find the sweet spot that allows you to make clean contact.
Finally, if neither of these fixes solve your accuracy problem then it might just be a simple case of your plant foot being pointed in the wrong direction. Your shot will go in the direction your toes are pointed on your plant foot. This is because planting your foot forces your hips to face in the direction of your toes, so your kicking foot will also be facing in that direction when it goes to make contact with the ball. Try changing the direction your plant foot is pointed and watch how it changes your accuracy.
And there you have it!
Once you can master this technique, you can move on to more fancy shots like curves and knuckleballs (stay tuned for future posts). If you’re having a problem with your shot that I haven’t covered here, drop me a comment and I will do my best to help you out. Now get out there and get practicing!