No matter how hard a team works, if they can’t shoot straight, that work will go to waste. Shooting produces about three-quarters of all goals, and the more practiced a team is, the better they will become at scoring.

Shooting can be performed from all distances using a variety of techniques. Power shooting from outside the box – even from your own territory – is done using the instep and a big follow-through. This can produce some of the most spectacular goals. However, a simple sidefoot pass into the net can be just as effective for scoring a goal and no less valuable to the result. A shot can be volleyed – when the ball is in the air, half-volleyed – when it is on the bounce, curled with the inside or outside of the foot, and, perhaps best of all, chipped over the despairing goalkeeper.

There is a choice when you are about to take a shot, between power and accuracy. If a shot is powerful and on target, it has a good chance of beating the goalkeeper. But if a shot is accurate it doesn’t need much power to get past the keeper. It is important to practice both types of shot in order to have variety in your play.

Another important aspect of shooting is the ability to take good penalties (again, choosing between accuracy and power,) particularly in the modern game when so many matches are decided, after extra time, on penalties, and when referees are more likely to point to the spot because of law changes favoring attackers.

There are many different ways of shooting for goal, incorporating skills that you may have already worked on practicing your passing skills. For example, you can sidefoot the ball into the net, strike the ball with your instep, volley, or drive it. All of these skills will be looked at in detail in another article but remember that when you are shooting you must always keep your head down over the ball as you strike it. This will keep the ball down, whereas if you lean back, the ball is likely to fly into the air over the crossbar. The most important thing of all is to get your shot on target. Even if the goalkeeper saves it, you may win a corner or the ball may rebound to a teammate (or you) to provide another scoring opportunity.

So, here is a simple way to practice shooting. Mark four targets on a wall. Mark up a full-size goal and then mark four circles each 2 feet in diameter, one in each bottom corner. These are the optimum place to aim for when shooting, the parts of the goal that are most difficult for goalkeeper, placed in the center of the goal, to reach. You should practice shooting at these targets from distances ranging from 10 yards to 30 yards – with the inside and outside of your feet as well as with the instep and the sidefoot. You should practice shooting with both feet because chances will come to you when you need to strike the ball with weaker foot. Even professional players miss goals because the attempt a shot with their stronger foot when their weaker one is better positioned.

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